Theodor Seuss Geisel is known and loved worldwide for his children’s books. But the good doctor had another side to his art which was well beyond the childlike appeal of The Cat in the Hat. Among the works comprising The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss, is The Rather Odd Myopic Woman Riding Piggyback on One of Helen’s Many Cats. Helen was Theodor Geisel’s first wife, and she committed suicide in 1967, despondent over Ted’s affair with Audrey, the woman he would subsequently marry. His secret art was revealed to the public only after Seuss passed on in 1991. What do you make of the woman riding piggyback on one of Helen’s cats? I have my own interpretation, but that is the beauty of art. Wikipedia has an enthralling entry about Dr. Seuss, and if half of it is true, it may leave you feeling blue.
I was reminded of the rather odd myopic woman tonight, reconsidering the story of Queen Vashti. It is the Jewish Festival of Purim, and its centerpiece is the Megillah that Esther made. A seeming oddity in the book is the early episode involving Queen Vashti who is either a heroine or a villain, depending on your point of view. Exactly why did she disobey being summoned to appear before the King, paving the way for Esther to become the new Queen and a savior of sorts for the Jews? Whatever the explanation, it is rooted in appearances, both from the inside out and the outside in.