This dissertation is an exploration of the social perceptions of childlessness in Hannah’s narrative as presented in 1 Samuel 1. My dissertation begins by conducting a literary analysis of the Hebrew text, focusing on demarcating the pericope, translating the text, and exploring the morphology, syntax, structure and the literary techniques that are used in the text. The analysis also contextualises the text by discussing the position of the text, its dating and the genres to which it subscribes.
I then examine how Hannah is represented as a childless woman and how her childlessness affects her relationships with the other characters. I also investigate the representation of narrative space, and how Hannah’s associations of the locations in the narrative change as the narrative progresses. I argue that the narrative represents three parts which deal with Hannah before, during and after she seeks intervention for her childlessness, and I place importance on the temple where Hannah seeks intervention. I then investigate the social values of honour and shame, and their role in Hannah’s narrative. I focus on the representation of the facets of purity and pollution, and the patron-client dynamic. These facets indicate how honour and shame are ascribed to in the passage. I show that honour and shame are linked to narrative space and characterisation and, therefore, argue that the combination of honour and shame and narrative space – particularly the temple – are used by the narrator to bring about change in Hannah’s narrative.