The Yellow Brick Road To Hell

The_Wizard_of_Oz_book_cover_Remember Dorothy, the little girl from Kansas? Not the busty Judy Garland of the movie, but the protagonist of L. Frank Baum’s book?

Since 1902, many generations of kids everywhere grew up following the Yellow Brick Road, skipping happily right beside the feisty girl, her friends and her yapping dog Toto.  What sweetness, what innocence! …And blood! And mayhem! And murrrrrder!

Let’s follow them along.

For a kickoff, the farmhouse conveniently squished the Wicked Witch of the East.

Synopsis OzGoodness gracious! “…There are her two feet, still sticking out from under a block of wood.”

The brave little thing that she is, Dorothy refuses to be terrified out of her mind. Without much fuss she wears the shoes, snatched off the dead woman’s feet.  

IMG_00000112Realizing that Toto isn’t a very reliable defender,  Dorothy gathers a rather eclectic gang of followers: the Brainless, the Heartless and the Coward, enticing them, cunningly, to accompany her. Clever ruse.

The lively quadrille gallops along the Yellow Brick Road, and not a day goes by without bloodshed.

Remember the untimely demise of the two Kalidahs? Thanks to the Tin Woodman, these rare animals were erased from the list of protected species and recorded as extinct. The tree fell under the Tin Woodman’s ax with a crash into the gulf, carrying the ugly, snarling brutes with it, and both were dashed to pieces on the sharp rocks at the bottom. Scary!

As Cowardly Lion observed, “… it must be a very uncomfortable thing not to be alive.” Kalidahs would agree.

Next goes the Wildcat, who was caught doing what wildcats normally do – chasing a field mouse. Wielding his ax, the Woodman gave it a quick blow that cut the beast’s head clean off from its body, and it rolled over at his feet in two pieces.  And this, mind you, was the tin guy who shed tears after carelessly stepping upon a beetle!

Dorothy makes a bargain with the Wizard, himself an usurper and a liar. They’ll kill yet another elderly lady in exchange for Dorothy’s safe return home in a suitable vehicle, and a few needful things for the rest of her gueer party. Doesn’t it effectively make the girl and her friends murderers for hire?

Clearly, the old hag of a witch is as good as dead.

 …This made Dorothy so very angry that she picked up the bucket of water… The girl, obviously, is in dire need of anger management counseling.  Maybe the twister damaged her more than we ever knew?

Does this little Innocence Incarnate have any moral compass at all? The Wizard’s answer is no. He is seriously afraid of the criminal quartet and abdicates, planning his escape from Oz. In his stead, he installs Scarecrow – still brainless but with his head filled with pins and bran. Perhaps, the old man hopes that power would corrupt Scarecrow soon enough, and he’d never question what happened to the real emeralds, those he replaced with shards of broken glass.

“There is only one thing I ask in return for my help… You must keep my secret,” the not-so-wizardly Wizard says. Sure, sure. Any bad-ass ruler would’ve asked for the same thing before fleeing.  Not at all surprising, the Wizard heads for the United States.

The Wicked Witch of the West won’t be the last to die. There would be others. The heartless tin-can of a man is ready to kill again.

 …There were forty wolves, and forty times a wolf was killed, so that at last they all lay dead in a heap before the Woodman. Nice job, man.

Not to be outdone and, perhaps, envious of the Woodman’s prowess, Scarecrow gets into action. … There were forty crows, and forty times the Scarecrow twisted a neck, until at last all were lying dead beside him.

Thus, instead of becoming a bleeding heart progressive, the Tin Woodman turns into a serial killer and, very becomingly, a ruler of hapless Winkies. The straw man isn’t far behind. Pins and needles for a brain, fresh make up on his face and a haystack of straw to hold him upright, Scarecrow has a political career cut out for him.  

Oz1The wild beast among them, the Cowardly Lion is the least bloodthirsty. A few loud roars and a murdered spider, that’s all. Must’ve been the calming effect of the opium vapors he inhaled at the Poppy Field.

With the count of dead bodies this high, it’s getting ever harder for Dorothy to fake wide-eyed innocence. Fortunately for the inhabitants of Oz, Glinda manages to deport her out of the country, along with Toto-the-provocateur.

What a marvelous fairy tale! Timeless. Indeed, it is hard to put its kindly philosophy out of fashion… with all that violence everywhere in the world. 

The inspiration for this post came from «Дорога, вымощенная желтым кирпичом, ведет в ад».  Check it out if you read Russian.

My Smile page has been updated as well.

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2 comments on “The Yellow Brick Road To Hell

  1. Interesting questions:
    Where is a fine line between “gratuitous violence” and “heroic adventures” in children books?
    What moral lessons are to be learned from this tale”? Killing/destroying “bad stuff” as a mean to build character?
    Wasn’t Baum’s tale a satire for adult readers?

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