The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Summary and Analysis of Chapters V-VIII


When Dorothy woke up she was thirsty so the travelers found a small stream for her to drink from and bathe in. Dorothy and The Scarecrow heard a groaning nearby and went to investigate. They discovered a man made completely of tin who stood motionless. Dorothy asked if he had groaned and he assented, saying he had been rusted for over a year. He told her to run to the cottage and get his oilcan.

When Dorothy returned she oiled all of his joints, which made him immensely happy. When he asked where they were going and they responded with the Emerald City, he wondered if he might accompany them to ask the Wizard of Oz for a heart. They readily agreed.

On their path The Tin Woodman proved useful as he skillfully axed thick branches in their path. Along the way, he told them his sad story: Once he had been a normal man with brains and a heart. He fell in love with a Munchkin girl and set about building a better house for her, but the old woman she lived with did not want her to marry and appealed to the Wicked Witch of the East to stop the marriage. The Witch made the Tin Woodman's axe slip and cut off all of his limbs one by one, but thankfully a tinner was able to provide limbs of tin for the Woodman. However, in the end the axe split him in half until all that was left of him was tin parts. Without flesh, he no longer had a heart and did not care for the Munchkin girl anymore. He had to oil himself frequently but got caught in a rainstorm over a year ago. He remembered how happy he was in love and decided he wanted a heart so he could go back and marry the maiden.

The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman debated what was more important: brains or a heart. Dorothy was not sure which was correct.

The group continued to walk through the woods, which grew deeper and more frightening. They heard many noises. A large lion burst from the trees and pushed the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow over. He lunged for Toto but Dorothy, "heedless of danger" and filled with worry for her dog, leapt at the lion and slapped his nose hard, admonishing him not to bite Toto.

The Cowardly Lion stopped and apologized and explained that he was a coward. He did not know why, but all the animals expected him to be King of Beasts, afraid of nothing. Therefore, to keep his cowardice secret, he roared loudly at anything in his path to scare it away. He also asked if he could join their party in order to ask Oz for courage, and they agreed. Toto and the Lion eventually became good friends.

Along their journey the Tin Woodman tried to be aware of the living things around him, and wept when he accidentally killed a beetle. He remarked that since he had no heart he had to be more careful.

That night the travelers camped under a great tree. The Lion went out to look for food and the Scarecrow brought Dorothy back nuts to eat. The next day their path ended at a great ditch that separated the two sides of the forest and stretched from side to side further than the eye could see. After despairing, the Scarecrow realized the Lion could carry them one by one on his back.

The Lion said he was afraid of falling but nevertheless took them all over successfully. The forest on that side was "dark and gloomy" and the Lion whispered of the frightening Kalidahs, the beasts with bodies of bears and heads of tigers that inhabited that part of the forest.

They reached another ditch that was so broad the Lion could not leap over. This time the Scarecrow realized that the Tin Woodman could cut down a tree and set it across the divide. Everyone began to cross the tree bridge when they saw two fearsome Kalidahs coming for them. The cowardly Lion roared at them, but they followed anyway. Thankfully the Tin Woodman used his axe to cut their bridge down and the monsters plunged into the deep crevasse.

The travelers were pleased when the yellow brick road finally led them to a beautiful country with green meadows, bright flowers, and delicious fruit hanging from trees. This country was on the other side of a great river, however, and the Scarecrow realized the Tin Woodman would need to build them a raft. While he worked Dorothy slept and dreamed of Emerald City.

The Tin Woodman finished the raft and they were ready to start. The current became swifter as they reached the middle of the river, and they began to worry. The Scarecrow rowed, pushing hard on a pole. Suddenly, the pole got stuck in the mud and the Scarecrow was left clinging to it as the raft sailed away in the whirling water. The travelers could not stop. The Scarecrow called "Good bye!" to them and thought of how badly off he now was.

Without the pole, the Lion swam the raft valiantly to shore. They did not know what to do about the Scarecrow until a Stork came along and volunteered to fetch their friend. After this adventure they walked along a verdant field with massive and bright flowers, the scent of which Dorothy happily breathed in.

Soon the only flowers present were red poppies, which had an overwhelming scent that made living creatures fall asleep. Dorothy and Toto succumbed, and the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman warned the Lion to run away as fast as he could to save himself. The Lion bounded away and the other two travelers made a chair with their hands and carried Dorothy and Toto out of the field. Along the way they saw their friend the Lion fast asleep, but they could do nothing for him as he was too heavy to carry. They laid Dorothy down in fresh air and waited for her to awaken.


Dorothy's trio of companions is now complete: she is joined by the heartless Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. Like the Scarecrow, however, the new travelers are filled with the traits they claim they do not possess. The Tin Woodman cries at the death of a beetle but maintains he has no heart, and the Lion protests that he is a coward while gamely volunteering to take on difficult or scary tasks. One incident from these chapters – jumping over the abyss on the Lion's back – is not in the film adaptation while another – the dangerous red poppy field and its crushing sleep – is present.

Baum writes that the Lion "is everywhere thought to be the King of Beasts." In her annotations to the Oxford World Classics edition of the novel, Susan Wolstenholme writes that the association of the lion with royalty dates as far back as the Assyrian kingdom in the second half of the millennium BC; this association also figures heavily in medieval allegory. In Middle Eastern countries "kings were permitted and possibly even obliged to kill lions as a symbol of their royal power; they were often depicted as accompanied by lions, to suggest their domination of the beast or a comparison with their own power." This linkage of lion and royalty is evident in Chapter XXI where the Lion offers to head up the council of animals and rids them of a noxious monster.

The episode with the flowers is one of the most memorable and evocative of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The flowers in the meadow start off in a variety of colors – yellow, white, blue, and purple –and reveal in their hodgepodge the geographical centre of Oz, close to Emerald City and the borders. The travelers are then stymied by the red poppy field. Poppies were associated with sleep and death in classical mythology, as well as the blood of Christ or blood of soldiers. Sleep induced by poppies is a reference to opium, a drug whose usage was common in the 19th century in the form of laudanum and other potent medicines. In the film this relationship between flower and drug is altered by making the sleep come upon the travelers by way of the Wicked Witch.

As for the word "Kalidah," there appears to be no precedent for it; it seems that Baum made it up by chance and there is no inherent meaning to it. Like other words it was chosen for its sound, which is exotic and rather ominous. The creatures themselves do resemble composite beasts like griffins and sphinxes found in ancient mythology. Baum's own introduction to the novel places it firmly in such company: "Folk lore, legends, myths, and fairy tales have followed childhood through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous, and manifestly novel aspires to being a modernized fairy tale" (4).

Storks, one of which plays a crucial role in rescuing the Scarecrow, were found in the tales of Hans Christian Andersen, purveyor of the fairy tales Baum so admired and desired to emulate. Wolstenholme writes that it is unlikely Baum knew of storks from firsthand experience, as ibises, which were erroneously referred to as storks, were more common in America, and theorized that his familiarity with them was indeed literary.