16 September 2014

Breakfast in Oz

Perhaps L. Frank Baum’s biggest strength (and occasional weakness) as a writer was in how he exhibited all of his characters’ different outlooks and habits—usually without judgment.

For example, here’s a moment from The Lost Princess of Oz, as Scraps the Patchwork Girl, who doesn’t have to sleep, explains what she’s found in the night, and other characters eat their morning meals:
“The Sawhorse and I made a journey in the dark, while you were all asleep, and we found over there a bigger city than Thi. . . . It isn’t far to the city. We can reach it in two hours after you’ve had your breakfasts.”

Trot went back and, finding the other girls now awake, told them what Scraps had said. So they hurriedly ate some fruit—there were plenty of plums and fijoas in this part of the orchard—and then they mounted the animals and set out upon the journey to the strange city. Hank the Mule had breakfasted on grass and the Lion had stolen away and found a breakfast to his liking; he never told what it was, but Dorothy hoped the little rabbits and the field mice had kept out of his way. She warned Toto not to chase birds and gave the dog some apple, with which he was quite content. The Woozy was as fond of fruit as of any other food, except honey, and the Sawhorse never ate at all.
It all sounds very pleasant, except for those little rabbits and field mice Dorothy is worried about. But nobody says nothing.


Glenn Ingersoll said...

Carnivores and Oz. An ongoing ethical issue.

J. L. Bell said...

And one which is clearly not resolved in Dorothy's mind. Yet she doesn't want to ask her dear friend about it.