Dec 7, 2010
We can see the description of "washing faces and having meals" here and there. I wonder if that was for the children, or just because of the author's style. I think he could skip it like "Tip who was awakened by Jack got ready to start his journey again, then said..." However, both Dorothy in the former story and Tip in this sotry often washed their faces and had meals three times a day.
Well, the Emerald City was 9 mile away. It reminded of me the mystery "The Nine Mile Walk"(Japanese title is "Nine Mile is too far to walk"). 9 miles is about 14.5 meters. Certainly, it is a little too far to walk.
However, riding on the Saw Horse, Tip expected himself to arrive there before noon.
Even though they didn't care about the mean ferryman, they felt uncomfortable having to keep wearing wet clothes and shoes. They ran with all their might to dry their clothes....and they got separated:)
Jack and the Saw Horse arrived at the gate of the Emerald City first.
Being a gatekeeper is a hard job, isn't it? Especially so in a country like Oz. They have to accept all men even if they are really very bizarre. If Jack suddenly appeared in front of you, most of you would scream!:)
However, this gatekeeper was better than I expected. Calmly and politely, he asked, "What are you, a man or a pumpkin?" Then, he went through the usual procedure and took them to the Soldier with the Green Whiskers...what a professtional!:)
Then, in the next chapter, His Majesty The Scarecrow appears!
I imagined he was a middile-aged man because he spoke like one in the Japanese translation. However, in the original English version, nothing is mentioned about it. He is blunt...? My English is not good to catch the nuance:(
Originally, the Saw Horse was a sawhorse that a woodman had left. Then Tip gave it life...well, in that case, did the woodman lose the ownership? Should we respect the Saw Horse's will? If so, it also seems OK that Jack followed Tip by his own will, not like Tip stole Jack. Humm...yet, Jack didn't know about the world, so...he was like a child, wasn't he? Then, it was like a kidnapping, wasn't it?;P Well, it's no problem in Oz:)
At first, the Saw Horse couldn't hear anything Tip said because he had no ears. After Tip made him ears, they were able to have a conversation. Oh, Jack had ears. He said "if my ears were bigger."
Tip was so bold that he stabbed a stick into the horse's back after he came alive. I was relieved that it seemed not to hurt the horse.
I love Ms. Takako Sato's translation, however, could the translation of Tip's line, "Don't pay any attention to it" be「気にしたもうな」? Oh, Tip, how on earth old are you?;P
Both vocabulary and syntax in this book seem more difficult than the ones in the first book, "The Wizard of Oz".
It is funny that Jack Pumpkinhead, who is taller than an adult, called Tip, who is a dainty boy, "father". I think it is natural that Tip feels uneasy.
Jack Pumpkinhead is innately innocent and easygoing, but sometimes he points out things sharply, doesn't he? He seems like he was obviously born in Oz. Very ozzy. He is niether too saucy, nor too modest. Eveyone can't help but love him:)
Unbelievably, Tip remembered what Mombi said and how she moved even though he saw it just once. That's amazing! Judging from the conversations with Jack, he looks smart and witty.
I'm curious how the real "sawhorse" is. Then, I googled it. Here is the result.
Though modern ones are quite far from our "the Saw Horse", some of the images reminds me of the Saw Horse.
Nov 26, 2010
Though Tip had only ever lived with Mombi who had few relationships with other people, he knew about Oz quite well. Who taught him that? Mombi? Well, the village people might have sometimes cared for him.
Everyone in Oz seemed to know that the Gread Wizard Oz was a humbug because even Tip who lived in a very rural area knew it. However, the Wizard didn't seem to be hated or begrudged at all. People were satisfied by the fact that his successor, the Scarecrow, ran the country very well, weren't they? They don't seem to remember what happened in the past. It's no use. The present is the most important. That's very ozzy, isn't it?:)
I learned one thing about a familiar English expression.
When the Winkie people asked the Tin Woodman to be their ruler and the Emerald City people asked the Scarecow, "invite" was used. I knew the word only for asking someone for dinner or a party.
Mombi was very wicked, but she looked just like a cheerful grandma, judging from how she was very delighted when Jack Pumpkinhead came alive.
> Old Mombi danced around him, frantic with delight.
> Then she threw her stick into the air and caught it as it came down; and she hugged herself with both arms, and tried to do a step of a jig; and all the time she repeated, rapturously:"He lives!—he lives!—he lives!"
When she realized that Tip had been watching her uncharacteristical excitement, she felt very embarrassed, I think. It was natural for her to be mad at Tip to hide her embarrassment, wasn't it?;P
Though Mombi's threat worked because Tip was small, someday we know that the time will end soon. Before it becomes too late, to transform Tip from a boy to a marble stone might be a good idea!;P
Of course, Tip didn't want to be transformed at all...what was he thinking while gazing the flames at the fireplace?....
By the way, I didn't know that the steps to making magic potions is called the "recipe". It sounds like cooking:) I can't help imagining something delicious:)
Nov 17, 2010
First of all, I'll tell you about Mombi. After the Wicked Witch of the West died, Mombi was one of the worst but most popular villains in this series. However, surprisingly, now I feel sympathy for her somehow. I wonder if it's because I'm raising children too. After Tip grew up, she used him for various chores, however, no matter how mean she was to him, I can't help thinking it must have been very tough for her to raise a child from a baby to a boy at her age. In the previous year, when he had a high fever, she must have nursed him even though it was not enough.
The pink vest with white dots, the red shirt, and the purple trousers, which became Jack Pumpkinhead's clothes later, were Mombi's belongings. Why did she have them? What if she kept them for the precious memory with someone? As tall Jack Pumpkinhead was able to wear them, they could be for men, couldn't they? So...the man who wore them could be...my imagination is fired up.... Oops, I'm going too far;)
Tip, though I can just say "that's a boy" and it might sound nice, often skips his chores, does mischief, and apparently never has even a little respect for Mombi. If I were her, I would be mad at him!
Well, Jack Pumkinhead's body is hollow. It's made of a sheet of thick bark. His legs are made of saplings trimmed of the twigs and leaves. Then, above his body, his head is a big heavy pumpkin. Though it is hollowed out, that must be unstable and very risky!;P
The title is "The Land of Oz" now. It used to be "The Marvelous Land of Oz". The Japanese title "Ozu no niji no kuni" means "The Rainbow Country of Oz". Why did they choose the word "rainbow"? Someone said that it might have been taken from the song "Over the Rainbow" from the MGM movie. I think that guess is probably right.
Many new characters appear in this book. They become important and popular in the later books.
Nov 15, 2010
Though I read the sequels many times, I didn't reread the first book because it is the most famous and I thought I knew the story very well. I've learned that I had many delusions. Was I remembering the movie instead of the book?
Dorothy, I thought, was cheerful ,positive and active, however she is actually rather passive. She drifts as she goes instead of carving her own destiny.
I was surprised that the Wicked Witch of the West was weaker than I remembered. I knew she was scared of water, of course. I didn't remember that she was also scared of darkness. Well, that is the most inconvenient weakness for witches, isn't it?
Dorothy's famous ending phrase was "Oh, Aunt Em! I'm so glad to be at home again!" in this book. In the movie, it was "There is no place like home!" They have same meanings but the words themselves are different.
It didn't mention at all whether Aunt Em believed Dorothy's words that she was in Oz. In the movie "Return to Oz", Dorothy was sent to the asylum because Aunt Em and Uncle Henry didn't believe her story. How about it in the original story? Well, we'll be able to see it in the later books.
In later books, she is called "Glinda, the Good Sorceress." So, I thought a white magic user was a sorceress and a black magic user was a witch. But I was wrong. In this book, Glinda is called the Good Witch.
Even the good witch told Dorothy that she had to give the witch the golden cap in return for getting an answer about how to go back to Kansas. Everybody says "give and take." Of course, Glinda doesn't use the cap only for herself, though.
Dorothy easily accepted the words from her companions in turn; "If I hadn't met you, our wishes couldn't have come true." Then, she said "This is all true." I think this part is very American. If she is a Japanese, she would say like "No, not at all. You did it by yourselves. You helped me."
In the end, they said a teary farewell each other, then, Dorothy went back to Kansas. Of course, with Toto.
The Tin Woodman was the one who thought up to call the Flying Monkeys. I for some reason thought that it was the Scarecrow, but it wasn't. Don't you think it would have been a good chance for the Scarecrow to show off his brains?
The Flying Monkeys carried them safely to the Quadling. Hummm, maybe they should have just asked the Monkeys when they left the Emerald City;) Anyway, Dorothy had already called the monkeys three times, using up all her chances.
Though it first seemed like the Quadling was an uncivilized land full of strange people, it turned out that they were short, plump, and friendly people after all, just like the Munchkins. I don't know where that thought came from. Maybe from "Wicked"? Indeed, they welcomed Dorothy's company and gave them cakes and cookies.
There pretty girls stood in front of Glinda's palace guarding the gate. Even in the Emerald City, there was only one gate guard,...Could it be that Glinda's palace has many visitors? Or maybe it's because the palace is so near the border that it needs such heavy guarding.
Oct 21, 2010
Before the fight with the moster, he made a promise with the animals living in the woods to welcome him as their king after he beat the monster. Haha, he is shrewd:)
By the way, in Oz, no one is supposed to die, however, in the first book, that rule seems not to apply. The Wicked Witch of the East, the Wicked Witch of the West, the linx, the wolves, the craws, the bees...and this spider-like monster. Well, in fact, no one has said "Nobody can die in Oz" yet. When did that rule begin? At least, in the first book, the rule seems not to exist.
Oct 20, 2010
The chinese princess refused Dorothy's wish to bring the princess back to Kansas. I like such a scene which indicates this world we are living and the fantasy land of Oz are connected. Oz is not in another dimension nor in a parallel universe. It exists somewhere in this world. I like that idea.
When they were going out from the chinese country, the Lion broke a church into pieces. As you expected:P, Dorothy didn't apologize. She said, "We are lucky we didn't harm these little people because they are all so brittle," and went on her journey. I was surprised that she was too insensitive.
Maybe Dorothy is much younger than I thought. I assumed she was 11 or 12, but she could be 8 or 9? I thought the Dorothy drawn by Denslow was too young, but maybe it's suitable.
The Woodman cut the boughs and branches to go through the forest...I don't understand how he could do it in spite of his kind heart. The Fighting Trees attacked Dorothy's party not because they were mean-spirited, but because they just wanted to protect their tribe. The Woodman was relentless, wasn't he? Though one of the Trees started to shake all of its branches as if in pain, the Woodman didn't seem to care. Do you remember the lynx which attacked the queen of the mice? To the lynx and these trees, the Woodman didn't have any pity...because he thought they were evil?
But...I get turned off by the Woodman when he intentionally cried "I can't do that because I have a kind heart."
Why didn't he say anything to the lynx or the trees before he chopped them down? The Woodman is very kind to his companions, but he is very ruthless to his enemies.
After they went through the woods, they found a high white china wall. Again, the Woodman cut the trees and made a ladder for his companions. It's very nice for Dorothy and her companions, but for the tribe of the Fighting Trees...they at least were not pleasant, I think.
Then, I thought Dorothy would decide to stay in Oz. But I was wrong! When the Scarecrow, who was now the ruler of Oz now, in place of the Wizard of Oz, asked, "We'd be happy if you would live here with us," she said, "No, I don't want to live here, I want to go back to Kansas." Ummm...she never seems to give up on going home.
And when the Flying Monkeys refused her wish because they couldn't fly to Kansas, before she moaned "Then, I can't go home anymore!", she cried "I have wasted the charm of the Golden Cap to no purpose!":P Dorothy, are you sure that you want to go home? How seriously do you think of it?
When they heard about Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, they decided to go to the South. The Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and The Cowardly Lion, even though their wishes had come true, they offered to go to the South with Dorothy to look after her safety. Then, Dorothy said "Thank you. You are all very kind to me. But I should like to start as soon as possible." She clearly stated what she wanted to. What a nice character!:P Why didn't she say "Thank you, but you shouldn't. None of you need to do that anymore. I can't let you put yourselves in danger for my sake."? Can I never hear any humble words from her?
By the way, I always think that one of the things the author wanted to say in his Oz series is "Everyone is different. That's why you are very important. The uniqueness is wonderful." The idea can already be seen in this chapter in the first Oz books.
People in the Emerald City are proud of being ruled by the Scarecrow. They think that there is no other city which is ruled by a stuffed man. Normally, you would think that having a scarecrow succeeded a great wizard is a very derogatory, wouldn't you? But they were satisfied because the most important point for them was the uniqueness:)
When you call the Flying Monkeys, it counts even if they aren't able to grant your wish. That's kind of unfair:( I had hoped that it wouldn't count because they couldn't grant the wish.