Chapter 8.The Deadly Poppy Field
Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so
as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.
The Tin-man’s raft gets them all across the river but it’s a pity they misjudged the depth of it. Their long poles prove to be little use in the middle of the river. Scarecrow even gets stranded because of this oversight.
Lion helps the others get to the riverbank but what of Scarecrow. It is rather fortuitous that a stork comes along and is large enough to fly over and carry Scarecrow to safety. What would the remaining friends have done without her aid, as it seems almost all of the good ideas have been from Scarecrow of late.
The flowers, beautiful and fragrant. Baum wrote this around 1900 and so poppies had quite an impact on the society of the time from what I can remember. Taking opium was considered fashionable but not dangerous, here Baum seems to hint at the darker, dangerous significance of the poppy. I’ve been in fields of the common variety of poppy – the type used as a symbol for Armistice (1918) – and although fragrant they have yet to put me to sleep. Which is why I think Baum’s deadly poppies are of the opium variety. I may of course be reading too much into this. I’ve never really delved too deep in the botanical world.
Yet more excitement for the intrepid band. Dorothy seems to be becoming less of a heroine and more of a damsel-in-distress at each turn of the page. The focus has yet to swing back to her and I am almost forced to experience their journey through the companions.
Not that I’m complaining, for each has an interesting and are so vastly different that it’s interesting to witness the co-operation of the characters. A common goal and a desire to help each other achieve these goals tie them all neatly together. It makes for fun reading too.