Chapter 2. The Council with the Munchkins
Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.
The wicked witch is dead, killed when the house fell upon her. Dorothy is rightly distressed on hearing this but, for a little girl who has never harmed anyone or anything before, she is not appalled at the incident.
I would image that, circumstances being as they are, her mind has a lot to process. For one, seeing such a lush land full of life would be shocking for someone who has become accustomed to the dry, barren landscape of the Kansas plains. For some strange reason, I can’t help thinking of the American dustbowl period (c.1930’s) when the soil had been so overworked as to merely blow away. Many poeple died as a result, from inhaling the dust or starvation – just two extreme examples of course. I can imagine Dorothy’s Kansas to be somewhat similar to this period for some reason and as a consequence, a character like Dorothy may have been de-sensitised to death & dying, hence she is only distressed at being accused of killing.
Dorothy also has to wrap her mind around saving the Muchkins from slavery. Not exactly something that happens every day. Couple this with being told that witches & wizards exist in the lands of Oz, and that she may well have to stay forever in this uncivilised land, really, it’s enough to make anyone burst into tears.
At least the Good Witch of the North has the decency to mention the Wizard of Oz may be able to help her, but she took her her time in doing so. I’m not exactly sure how a spelled-protective-kiss to the forehead and a pair of possibly enchanted silver slippers is supposed to help Dorothy get to the Emerald City without incident, but I guess anything is possible in Oz.
The chapter’s are rather short compared to what I’m used to, but that might work in my favour. What I’ve written so far is no doubt longer than the chapter’s themselves, but at least it proves that even fiction can make you think.
My attention span and concentration has already seen a marked difference in comparison to the previous book.
About this chapter though, I did love the wonder in describing Dorothy’s first view of Oz. Reminds me of times when I get the chance to escape out of the drab city / town into park-lands or better, out into the countryside. One long deep breath of clean, crisp air and a time of drinking in nature surrounding me and I can feel free again. Baum really captured that feel for me. To then overlay that with another sort of freedom, meeting strange people, being introduced to magic, becoming an orphan (sort of) again – for Dorothy – and a death, all in such a short chapter, really is something to be awed at. Baum manages all this, while keeping the characters real and the reader (me) thoroughly engrossed and did so with very few words. Just look at how much I’ve written already! (a book in it’s own right).
But, will I get past my five-chapter rule this time?