Jul 4, 2009

Chapter17 How the Balloon was Launched

Well, the time for Dorothy's wish to come true had come!

Oz(the con man) created a plan which he made a balloon to take Dorothy back to Kansas as through the sky. And he himself planned to ride in it with her. What a good idea!:)

When I read this story for the first time, I thought "So, this is the farewell to Oz (country). The following several chapter must be about the air travel from Oz to Kansas."

But, but, mercy! The balloon had set off without Dorothy! It shocked me very much! As much as, or more than, the fact that Oz was not a wizard but just a con man.

What will you do, Dorothy?! The only person whom you could rely on has left, and the situation has gone from bad to worse:(

Chapter16 The Magic Art of the Great Humbug

The Great Oz gave the three of them, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion, what they each wanted, as he had promised to them.

What do you think about that? I've been feeling very strange about that for a long time. How can the three trust that con man? Why can they be happy? That's a mystery to me!

When you have a problem, sometimes, you already know what you should do in your mind, however, before taking your action, you need to be told by someone "You are right. Go on!" supporting your decision in order to have some confidence. That could happen. Does the three feel like that?

But only Dorothy's wish cannot come true by such a lip service or empty promises.

I remember, when I read this story for the first time, I thought that Dorothy would end up staying in Oz.

Chapter15 The Discovery of Oz, the Terrible

The travelers came back to the Emerald City in triumph after they destroyed the Wicked Witch of the West. They (and I) had expected them to be warmly welcomed, but they were left to wait in the rooms of the palace for several days with no message from the Wizard of Oz.

At last, they threatened the Wizard. If he didn't send them a reply, they would send him the flying monkeys after him. Then, the Great Oz was scared and allowed them to meet him immediately...that sounds fishy already, doesn't it?;)

Then, they discovered who he was.

When I was a child, I was annoyed with him, "What a con man!" But now, after the passage of several decades, I think the Wizard is sympathetic. Maybe it's because my age has become closer to his;) Far away from his home country, in a foreign country (which was not even a normal country), he had to live alone relying only his own bravado without any family or friends. Maybe he was relieved to have his secret exposed.

And he advised to the Scarecrow, "You need experiences, not a brain," and to the Lion, he said, "You need confidence, not bravery." He is quite a man!

By the way, the Emerald City, it was made by the Great Oz. I forgot about it.

Dorothy thinks "If he find a way to go back Kansas, I will willingly forgive everything he has done." She doesn't begrudge anything. If I were her....haha:P A very good girl, Dorothy!:)

Chapter14 The Winged Monkeys

There was no path between the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West and the Emerald City. The Winkie country seems to be an undeveloped land. How different it is from the affluent Munchkin land which has the road paved by yellow bricks.

Having been taught by the queen of the mice, Dorothy called the flying monkeys using the golden cap's magic power.

The flying monkeys told their history to Dorothy and her companions during the flight to the Emerald City.

The story began like this; Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess and a powerful witch named Gayelette and her fiance, Quelala. To tell the truth, I hardly remembered about Quelala. But after I carefully reread about him, I think he was a cool guy!;) No wonder Gayelette fell for him:)

For the flying monkeys, it was unlucky to be found by Gayelette while they were teasing Quelala, but I think it was natural that Gayelette got angry. However, the penalty is a little too heavy, isn't it?

While Dorothy and her companions were listening to the flying monkeys' story, they arrived in the front of the gate of the Emerald City. As the Lion said, it was very lucky that Dorothy got the Golden Cap. Besides, Dorothy seemed to enjoy that flight.

Feb 7, 2009

Chapter13 The Rescue

After Dorothy destroyed the Wicked Witch of the West, though I thought she would go back to the Emerald City as quickly as possible, she informed the Winkies of being released from the Wicked Witch of the West, rescued the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, got friendly with the Winkies, and enjoyed staying the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West having feasts with them. Then, one day, she remembered Aunt Em...ummm...so...she didn't feel uncomfortable in Oz...why didn't she keep living in Oz? Did she need forcedly to go back to Kansas?

Eventually, the travelers were to go back to the Emerald City. Before they set out, Dorothy hunted out the Witch's cupboard and got the Golden Cap, which could call the Flying Monkeys while she didn't know about its power. How shrewd she was!:)

What I always wonder aoubt is the Scarecrow. Every time after he is ruined, he always got new straws to stuff his body, and he got a new face painted on his head again, then... tada!...he is back again! But..., you know, he changed his everything. How does he keep his personality and memory?;P

Feb 1, 2009

Chapter12 The Search for the Wicked Witch

This chapter is longer than the others. It describes the time from when Dorothy and her companions set out to seek the Wicked Witch of the West up to the time when they destroy the Witch. Many things happen.

Because the movie's impression is very strong, I cannot imagine the Wicked Witch of the West having any other faces except that green face shown in the movie. However, in the original story written by Baum, there is no mention of her face color. (So, probably, Elphaba in "Wicked" is from the movie's image.) She can see with only one of her eyes, but that eye is so clear-sighted it acts like a telescope, (there is another one-eyed witch who is named Blinkie in "The Scarecrow of Oz", the 9th book of the Oz series. Are there any relationships between the two witches?) And the Witch's blood dried up in her body many years ago....that's all we are told about her.

The reason why the Wicked Witch of the West captured Dorothy and her companions was not because she was Dorothy. The Witch just disliked having a troop intrude in her own territory. She ordered the flying monkeys to bring the Lion to her because she wanted to ride it as a horse, but she didn't care about Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, or the Tin Woodman at all. The flying monkeys weren't able to harm Dorothy because of the charm of the Good Witch of the North, so they brought Dorothy to the Wicked Witch of the West. At that time, for the first time, the Witch realized "Oh my, this child is wearing the magic silver slippers."

In the movie, the Witch's target was Dorothy because she killed her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East....This is confusing! In the original story, there is no mention about any kind of relationship between the two witches, or even if they knew each other or not. I think they at least knew each other's names, though:)

At any rate, isn't it surprising that the Witch of the West was melted by water? (Hey, Witch, are you suger or something?;)) She also couldn't take Dorothy's silver slippers because she feared the dark. She didn't notice that Dorothy secretly gave food to the Lion. Her subjects were only wolves, crows, bees....is that all? She had a magic golden cap which could call the flying monkeys three times, but she had called them three times already. Actually, she doesn't scare me, after I carefully reread everything about her . The Wicked With of the West. The bitch of bitches. (Sorry, rude words!) I wonder if that image is from the movie.

In Oz, nobody can die, but, the Wicked Witch of the East and the Wicked Witch of the West both died. I don't know why:P

Dorothy got angry because the Witch took the other one of the silver slippers, and get more angry because the Witch said "I shall get another one too", and then the anger made her lose her temper, she dashed the water from the nearby bucket onto the Witch. How strong she was!

And then, while she apologized "Sorry, I didn't know you would be melted by water," she dashed the water again over the melting witch to melt her completely, swept her out through the door, and innocently got back her silver slipper back. Can I call her, "strong"? Her indifferent nature is amazing!!:)

Chapter11 The Wonderful Emerald City of Oz

Finally, the time has come. They meet the Great Wizard of Oz.

The Great Wizard of Oz seems not to have known that Dorothy's house had fallen on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her. He asked Dorothy how she got the silver slippers and the charm kiss from the Good Witch of the North. I thought he knew everything, but actually, he doesn't.:(

However, this was great that he made each of the four of them meet him privately, and every time, his appearance was different. It showed them (and us) how great the Great Wizard was. Super!

What I have been curious and skeptical of for long time is this; the Great Wizard of Oz asked each person "Why should I this for you?" Why?...such a thing...do you ask someone if you are a ruler? In the end, the story goes that if they want to ask the Wizard a favor, they should kill the Wicked Witch of the West first. Well, I expected something like "If you can kill the Witch, I would recognize that you would be worth of using my magic power as a reward for your effort." But the Wizard said only "Help me and I'll help you." This is nothing but "give and take." He doesn't seem to think he should care for his subjects because he has magic power. Fifty-fifty relationship. Ummm...is this, maybe, very American??

By the way, Mr. Scarecrow! You didn't need to stand still in the corner of the room allocated until the meeting to the Wizard, watching the spider weaving their net all night, even though I know you don't need to sleep at all. Don't you have anything else to do?;)

Dorothy seemed thoughtless in the previous chapters, but, in this chapter, she mentioned her opinion, "I don't want to kill anybody, even to see Aunt Em again." Ummm...but if she doesn't kill the Wicked Witch of the West... that means she could never go back to Kansas forever...this is a tough question, isn't it? If I were her?? Oz is a wonderful place, but I feel uncomfortable thinking of living in Oz for the rest of my life...but...ummm....what would you do if you were Dorothy?

Well, before thinking that, I'd like to say to Dorothy, "Your first worry should be about being killed by the Witch at first!" She isn't afraid of it at all:p Maybe, she believed in the strength of the charm from the Good Witch of the North:)

Jan 18, 2009

Chapter10 The Guardian of the Gate

The Lion was surprised to find out he was rescued by the mice. (Come to think of it, in Aesop's fables, there is a story in which a lion is rescued by a mouse:))

Well, well, here again, Dorothy's daring (or innocence, or thoughtlessness ...)appeared. Because they have no food and they feel hungry, she suggests "OK, so, let's ask the people at the next house." What would you do if a strange girl with a big lion asked you to stay at your house overnight? But eventually, they complied with Dorothy's request...ummm...that's because of Dorothy's virtue?:)

The husband of this house has an injured leg. Why was this necessary?...I don't think the story needs it. And there is no explanation why or when he got injured. I wonder why he should have been injured. And that person, with a knowing air, said "The Great Wizard of Oz will very easily give you a brain, a heart and bravery." By golly....He seems to be friendly and kind, but irresponsible.

And one more thing I'd like to say about this chapter is that the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman keep standing in the corner of the room during the night. If I were Dorothy, I could not sleep very well if someone were to stand by me all night. I'd like them to stand outside the room. Don't you think so?

In the meantime, they arrived at the gate of the Emerald City. They were given green glasses by the gate guard, and entered the capital of Oz.

Chapter9 The Queen of the Field Mice

What does "a person has a heart" mean? Judging from the Tin Woodman's behaviors, it seems like weepy or kind....but the other companions are kind too...only the Tin Woodman emphasizes heart, heart, heart! If no heart expresses no feelings, a heart expresses having various feelings, doesn't it? But it isn't indicated in this story at all. Well, it's OK though.

At the beginning of this chapter, the Woodman chopped off the lynx's head without any hesitations. Is that OK for you, Tin Woodman?:P

But here again, his skill as a woodman was clearlt shown to us. He made Wagon's bed, wheels, and even nails from nearby trees. How great!

The queen of the mice is tiny but her pride is very strong. And her ability as a leader is commensurate with her pride. If they should stay in the poppy field much longer, all of the mice would be in danger....she never forgets about her mice.

Anyway, Toto fought against his instinct very well.

Chapter7 The Journey to the Great Oz

The three companions did a great job in this chapter!

The scene where the Scarecrow had difficulty picking up nuts, it reminded me of a book which I read in the hospital the other day. It said, "Human beings can easily use their fingers to do things because we have nails on our finger's tips. If we wear gloves with cottons stuffed into each finger tips, we could not grasp things. Try it! You'll find how important nails are." I've never done it, but I can easily imagine that it is true. After all, the Scarecrow should use his brain instead of his body.

The Lion was so cool! He jumped over the sheer cliff, and protected his friends from Kalidah by using his body as a shield. How can I say he is a coward?! In peacetime, people can say anything, but when it comes to the crunch, what do they do? Lion, you are brave!

Of course, there was also a scene that expressed the Tin Woodman's tenderness...but what I focused on him in this chapter was his skill as a woodman. No matter how nice a person's personality is, if the person does sloppy work, I'd say just,"...ummm...", but the Tin Woodman did a great job when he chopped down trees, and made the raft. He must have faithfully worked hard at his job in the wood in Munchikin land. I had thought that he was a wimp who was only kind or tender, but I've changed my mind. He must be a nice guy who took care of his parents and worked diligently.

Chapter8 The Deadly Poppy Field

Troubles happened one after another. The Scarecrow was left behind alone, the Lion was abandoned by his companions. In every case, Dorothy seems not very helpful. Or ...rather, a drag?:P Why do they esteem her so highly? Because she told them about the Great Wizard of Oz? Is that it? Information seems to be very important, all through the ages, doesn't it?;)

I feel uncomfortable when the Tin Woodman keeps on saying "I am about to shed tears when I think of ****, but I have to stand it not to rust myself." Of course, that indicates the existence of his heart to us, though, I'd like to retort "What are hearts for? Only for that?" And eventually, he cares his body most:(

By the way, there was a stork who helped the Scarecrow after he was left behind alone in the river. Why should it be "a stork"? I don't understand. Do storks have some special meaning? I know the lore "Babies are brought by storks." But why here?

I didn't know poppies really have a narcotic effect on people. And I've learned from the Internet that red poppies are a symbol of fallen soldiers in some countries. Does "poppy field" include that message? ...No, that happened after World War I, so, there is no relation between them.

Chapter6 The Cowardly Lion

The road was getting worse, the woods was getting denser, there were scary growls...but they were safe because the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman didn't have flesh and Dorothy had a charm of the Witch of the North, except Toto...while they were talking that...bingo! A huge lion attacked Toto!

Toto was brave. He didn't hesitate to battle against the big lion. However, if the lion was not the Cowardly Lion, he would have been eaten just in one bite. There is only an fine line between bravery and recklessness.

When I read this book before, I thought the Lion was annoying because he was always weeping. But this time, I've changed my mind. The Lion blames himself because he cannot live up to other's expectations which is "Lion is king of all beasts. He must be very brave." Now I think he is a very responsible and good fellow. He got friendly with Toto very soon.

I like the Woodman's words:"You people with hearts have something to guide you, and need never do wrong; but I have no heart, and so I must be very careful." Actually, that shows us that the Woodman has a heart, right? Being thoughtful to others is sometimes very difficult even if we have hearts.

It was also shown to us how the Scarecrow was smart when he solved the Tin Woodman's trouble.

At first, I thought Dorothy's wish was the easiest to make come true because we cannot give someone brain or heart or bravery. However, maybe, hers is the most difficult. These three attendants seem to need only some counselings.

Jan 17, 2009

Chapter5 The Rescue of the Tin Woodman

Next morning, Dorothy heard a groan in the midst of the woods. They found the Tin Woodman. And he became a member of the group. Again, Dorothy didn't say "I'd be glad if you would come with us" nor "You may join us because you look useful." Just "Do you want to go with us? OK, let's go." She was incredibly amiable and easygoing.

Then, the Tin Woodman told his life story to them. He seemed a really earnest good lad, taking over from his father, taking care of his mother, working hard for his girlfriend. Ummm, maybe a little too austere?

The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman debated which was more important, brain or heart. That's a difficult question, isn't it?

Surprisingly, Dorothy's reaction to their argument was very cool and practical. She thought if she could only get back to Kansas, it did not matter so much whether the Woodman had no brains and the Scarecrow had no heart, or each got what he wanted. And she worried about the food which had been almost all eaten already. Maybe she didn't think they were traveling companions, but just happened to be traveling together.

Jan 11, 2009

Chapter4 The Road Through the Forest

While they were traveling, Dorothy and the Scarecrow introduced themselves to each other.

The Scarecrow didn't understand why Dorothy wanted to go back to a boring gray place called Kansas from such a beautiful place.

I found the famous phrase here: "There is no place like home". That phrase was originally from the lyrics of the song "Home Sweet Home."

I like the Scarecrow's words, "If your heads were stuffed with straw, like mine, you would probably all live in the beautiful places, and then Kansas would have no people at all. It is fortunate for Kansas that you have brains."

What kind of people are fond of Kansas? People who have brains or people whose brains are straw? What do you think? I think it is a good satire. Sometimes people who are very smart think too much, and at a result, forget their real goals. Don't you think so?

In the midst of the woods, when night fell, Dorothy's group found a vacant cottage and entered it. While Dorothy and Toto were sleeping, the Scarecrow stood stock still in the corner of the room until daybreak. You can see that somehow they had already found their roles: Dorothy is a boss, Toto is a boss's pet, and the Scarecrow is an attendant.

Chapter3 How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow

The books gives detailed descriptions of how Dorothy prepared for her journey. Dorothy went back into the house again, stuffed foods into her basket, washed her body, changed her clothes...she changed her shoes, putting on the sliver slipper of the Wicked Witch of the East because she thought her old shoes were not suitable for the journey. That point was different from the movie. The book's story is more practical.

Then, Dorothy set out toward the Emerald City following the Yellow Brick Road. On her way, the Munchikins bowed to Dorothy because they knew she had beated the Wicked Witch of the East. Isn't that amazing? How could they known? Perhaps the Good witch of the North went around telling what happened? Well, it may have been a long time from the time that the house fell into Oz to the time that Dorothy woke up.

Dorothy stayed at Boq's house one night. (Boq was one of the Munchikins.) Boq told Dorothy that white was the color for the witch and blue was the color for the Munchikins. So, she, wearing a white-and-blue checked dress, was supposed to be a friendly witch to the Munchikins. What a coincidence! How lucky Dorothy was! :)

And then, Dorothy met the Scarecrow in the corn field. Again, Dorothy remained almost placid something like "Oh, I'm surprised:)" Moreover, she accepted the Scarecrow's offer to go to the Emerald City together. She accepted everything! Dorothy, is your motto "Welcome the coming, speed the parting of your guests"? :)

Toto was skeptical about the Scarecrow at first. I should check when they become friends.

Chapter2 The Council with the Munchkins

Whew! Dorothy didn't get hurt when the house finally thudded to the ground because she was in the bed which lessened the shock. Dorothy's optimistic nature brought her a good luck.

Surrounded by bright sunshine from the window, Dorothy opened the door, then she saw a splendid tranquil view rich with color spread out before her. This scene reminds me of the one in the movie with Judy Garland, the scene in which the world turned to natural color from black-and-white. That was fabulous!! Actually, I have some compaints about the movie, but I think that scene was perfect!

Dorothy was surprised to meet a real witch, and she got the silver slippers of the Wicked Witch of the East, she was determined to go to the Emerald City of OZ. Before setting off, the Good Witch of the North gave Dorothy a kiss on her horehead as a charm...and...the time has come! Weeee're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz...:)

About the silver slippers, the North Witch could have kept them for herself, instead of giving them to Dorothy who didn't understand how precious they were at all. But she's a good sorceress! She didn't act like a sneaky thief.

Ummm...she whirled around on her left heel when she disappeared. Maybe she had the power already. She didn't need the silver shoes.

To think about Dorothy, well, she was amazing! How far is it from her house? How can she go back home? She didn't think those kinds of things at all! She didn't have any fear. As the North Witch recommended that she see the Wizard of Oz, she simply followed the advice, "Well, I'm going to the Emerald City and see the Wizard of Oz! He must know how I can return home."

Now since I don't have Narnia's series here, this is just from my fading memory, but I remember, when Lucy saw Narnia for the first time from the closet, she walked into the mysterious place step by step, looking back to the entrance to make sure she could go back her world, thinking "OK. I can go back whenever I want."

However, with Dorothy....maybe her happy-go-lucky personailty suits Oz:)

Jan 10, 2009

Chapter 1 The Cyclone

First of all, I wondered about the chapter title. I thought it must have been "The Tornado," not "The Cyclone." Cyclone is the heavy storm born in the Indian Ocean, isn't it? In America, it is usually called a hurricane, right? I wondered why Mr. Baum used "cyclone" here...actually, I suspected that it might be Baum's mistaken:P

However, I found many words using "cyclone" on the Internet. Basements for escaping from tornadoes are called cyclone cellars, not tornade cellars or hurricane cellars. I don't know why.

At the begining of the story, Dorothy's background is barely skectched in. We are not told know when and how her parents died, or why Dorothy came to Kansas. Rather, detailed descriptions are given about how life in Kansas is monotonous, how everything in Kansas is gray, that this makes people's mind somber.

The reason why Dorothy wasn't dyed gray was Toto, a very cute dog. But, also about Toto, there was no mention whether Dorothy had him before she came to Kansas, or got him at Uncle Henry's house.

Those points would seem to be very interesting if we were to write a side story about Oz.

And this is trivial, though, Uncle Henry and Aunt Em sleep in one double bed together. Is it common in America couples sleep in one double bed?

And the fatal day. Coincidentally, above Uncle Henry's house, a north wind and a south wind bump into each other, and the house swirled up into the sky carrying Dorothy and Toto who had failed to escape to the cyclone cellar with it.

Once. Toto almost fell through the hole in the floor. But the wind blew him up and Dorothy pulled him in.

At first, Dorothy was afraid of what would happened when the house would fall, as time passed, she went to bed and sleep soundly. Wasn't that amazing?! I was surprised at Dotorhy's daring.

The Wizard of Oz

I have a big dream to read all of the famous forty.

First of all, I'd like to start from the first book, the very famous one, "The Wizard of Oz."