Adrift in the Wonderland
Moby Dick is, admittedly, not typically recognized as a feminist novel. It is left, then, to the female reader to claim her place in the work, finding characters and story lines to hold on to so as to find deeper meaning. Abby does this by relating to Queequeg, the Polynesian prince-turned-harpooner, and the whale itself. Both are unique within their community, both are often misunderstood, and both are simultaneously hunting while being hunted. In Queequeg, Abby relates to the warrior within, as well as the story of his life and peoples' history tattooed into his skin. In the whale she relates to the mysterious creature who similarly carries the scars of his life etched into his skin. It is the whale's insistence in surviving that makes him the true hero of this story.
From the show Adrift in the Wonderworld: Women Make Meaning of Moby-Dick at the Marta Hewett Gallery, April23–May30 2016