Focus Questions:

  1. Define feminism and feminist criticism.
  2. Discuss the difference between an androcentric (male centered) world and a gynocentric (female centered) one.
  3. Describe the feminist movement during the period in which the novel was written.
    1. In the United States
    2. In Europe
  4. Describe the relationship between the feminist movement and the philosophical Romantic movement.
  5. What elements of feminist concerns are present in Moby Dick?
    1. In characters?
    2. In terms of plot?
    3. In terms of symbols?
    4. In terms of themes?
  6. How are female (and male) roles played out in the work? What stereotypes - overt or subtle - are portrayed? What messages about gender roles are being sent?
  7. How would the story change if gender roles were shifted?
  8. How would the piece differ if the author were of the other gender?
  9. How do these elements of feminism and Romanticism help Melville to comment on the direction of the United States in the 1800's and on the philosophies of feminism and Romanticism in general?

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Feminist Criticism

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