Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bringing on the Wizard

 Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

Chapter 2  The Glass City & Chapter 3  The Arrival of the Wizard

Dorothy, Zeb and the animals continue to fall towards the centre of the Earth. When they land the inhabitants accuse them of causing the rain of stones that damaged their glass city. They are taken to the House of the Sorcerer.

The Wizard of Oz arrives in his hot air ball balloon and the Sorcerer threatens to kill them all.  The Wizard takes out a sword and kills him.

Anyone who has read the Oz series knows that L. Frank Baum takes the Dorothy character as far as he can and then gets rid of her - not by refusing her entry to the fairyland of Oz because she has grown up, as is so common in many stories of this type, but by having her move to Oz permanently.

The problem for the reader is that once in Oz she'll never grow older and reach menarche.

And Dorothy is only interesting as long as she has real problems to which real girls can relate.*

Luckily this story occurs before she is invited to live in Oz.

Here she deals with one of the biggest problems facing 11 year old girls  - an 'unreasonable' adult. 

Note that she takes the grownup to task - and gets away with it.

"Why did you wickedly and viciously send the rain of stone to crack and break our houses?" he continued.

"We didn't," declared the girl.

"Prove it!" cried the Sorcerer.

"We don't have to prove it," answered Dorothy indignantly. "If you had any sense at all you'd know it was an earthquake."

Dorothy 'rocks', as my students used to say.

The Wizard of Oz also 'rocks' in this book.

He admits he isn't much of a wizard, (father figure):

"No," answered the little man, you are quite right. In the strict sense of the word, I am not a wizard, but only a humbug."

But he understands that 11 year old girls, even as they take their first steps towards becoming women, still need protection.   

So the wizard lost no more time, but leaping forward he raised his sharp sword, whirled it once or twice around his head, and then gave a mighty stroke that cut the body of the Sorcerer exactly in two.

He is the archetypal 'good father', guiding, advising, encouraging, protecting - but not controlling Dorothy.

He's come a long way from his days as 'Oz the Great and Terrible' in the first book.

These chapters end with the burial of the dead sorcerer who appears to more vegetable on the inside than human.

*Dorothy appears in later books but usually in a secondary role. L. Frank Baum introduced other much loved characters like Betsy Bobbin and Trot to take Dorothy's place.

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