The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Lyman Frank Baum
Contributed by Sharon Fleming

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Chapter 9
Summary

While Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow wait for Dorothy to wake up, they see a wildcat chasing a mouse. The wildcat moves quickly past them, fully, engrossed in her activity. Tin Woodman quickly chops off the health of the wildcat. The mouse stops and starts talking with the two. He informs them that the wildcat they have just killed is the “Queen of all the field mice.” The mouse is overjoyed for the assistance offered by Tin Woodman. He, therefore, promises to grant him any wish that he might be having. The Scarecrow requests for the mouse to send for her “thousands” of subjects. Each subject needs to bring a long piece of string. During the time, the Tin Woodman builds a cart on which the mice can attach themselves. The aim is to ensure that the mice pull the cart in the same way horses do. The mice work quickly and pull the cart to the point where the Lion is. The Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow lift the Lion and place him on top of the cart. They then help to roll him out of the poppy field. By the time they reach the point where Dorothy is, they find her awake. All of them sit beside the lion as they wait for him to wake up.

Analysis

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Baum mentions about the wish to eliminate the “horrible and blood-curdling incidents” normally associated with traditional fairy tales. The information provided by Baum may be scary to readers, especially where the Tin Woodman chops off the head of the wildcat. It is both unappealing and one that goes against the principle of extreme care towards some of the elements that are important in the lives of creatures. However, by drawing information from the historical perspectives, one may understand why Baum had to make Tin Woodman take such violent action against the wildcat. During the time, wildcats and wolves had posed a great danger to American farmers. They had also posed a huge challenge to ranchers. As a result, many people had a belief in the need to destroy them. It seemed to be a better option. It would serve as a lasting solution towards them being able to practice their farming activities without having the fear that the animals would continue disturbing them and destroying the crops they had taken time to cultivate.

Baum also makes a calculated move by having the Lion remain in the poppy field. He, therefore, wishes to go against the fable developed by Aesop where he had created a scenario where a mouse owes a Lion. In Baum’s work, the mouse now owed the Tim Woodman. However, the work of Baum appears to have some seem to have some semblance to some extent. For instance, the mice return a favor and help to rescue the Lion.

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