Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Tin Woodman of Oz

From the diary: “February 28, 1981

“Friday I stayed home because my cold was a lot worse than Wednesday or Thursday. I read The Tin Woodman of Oz and I started The Magic of Oz today.”

In The Tin Woodman of Oz our friend meets another tin man, this one a soldier, who endured the same fate as the woodman. Because he fell in love with a girl in the charge of a wicked witch the witch enchanted his sword to chop away at his body. The soldier went to the same tinsmith as the woodman. The tinsmith diligently replaced each missing flesh part with tin until the soldier was tin entirely. There are some odd scenes in the book. The Tin Woodman finds his old head in a cupboard in the tinsmith’s workshop. The head sneers at his tin version. Later the woodman and soldier meet the man who was built from their cast off parts. He’s an unpleasant fellow, too. And he’s married to the girl both tin men had loved!


David Lee Ingersoll said...

The scene where Nick, the tin man, speaks to Nick, the bodiless head, is one of my favorites in all the Oz books. As a kid I thought it was odd and amusing. As an adult I find it surreal and charming. Is there existential angst? Nah. It's a guy talking to the head that he no longer has. No subtext at all.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

There's a two-page illustration of the scene. As I recall the shiny tin man is standing before the open cupboard, while the tousle-haired (moustached?) & surly meat head gazes back. What bothered me was the idea that the head just sat there for years, there's your solitary confinement. The Tin Woodman was no more interested in rescuing his old head from its sorry fate than he'd been of going back for his old girlfriend all those years since he'd got a "kind" rather than "loving" heart.

David Lee Ingersoll said...

Unfortunately, I've packed my Oz books so I can't revisit the scene. Oz is full of painful bits that seem to go unrecognized. I think of the King (Emperor?) in "Scarecrow of Oz" who falls into the bottomless crevasse. No one has concern that he's falling forever. Falling and, because he's immortal, experiencing the entire fall. Never dying. Falling.

Oz may be a Utopia but, for some folks, it's a little bit of hell.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Oh yeah. Fairy tales aren't that far from being horror stories.