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."