Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wicked... Again

By: Gregory Maguire.... 5++++

I was a little apprehensive to reread this book again, having enjoyed it so much the first time. What if this time, I found flaws in it that would make me not like it? What if I had a different state of mind and didn't enjoy it as much? And most importantly, what if I misread all those things on evil and religion as the sub-connotation of the book?

Well guess what, it was even better this time around... I feel I even understood all those foreshadowing events. It opened my eyes to better understanding the characters, and the links between them, because I wasn't rushing to finish to see the ending of the book.

I absolutely adore Elphie, Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West! I feel that she is easily understood especially in our society today. She can be viewed as anyone of the people that we see in today's world. Upset by racial injustice of her skin color, being reprimanded because of her choice on religious beliefs, scorned by love, a politico, and finally rejected by friendship, made her into the antisocial hardened female that she became.

Do I think Elphie is evil, obviously not, as I like to use the endearing terms. I think life kicked her down, and she kept fighting. I found her strong to her beliefs, I found her amazing to fight for the Animals, when they were to 'lower" race... I wish I could be as strong to fight for something that I can 100% believe in. Was she a terrorist? I don't know if Elphie did anything that was considered a terrorist act, and she never went through with the presumed bombing of Madam Morrible. Had she... I believe it would be a completely different story. Though in light of the terrorist attacks in AZ, it is hard to put Elphie in the same category as a hero, one to admire for her strong political beliefs against Animal cruelty.

The Wicked Witch of the West has always had a stigma, one of evil, that in our fairy tales made us fear her. This books changes that perspective and makes you wonder what is the true meaning of evil? Was Elphaba born evil? The first questions has been debated upon for many years in our world. What is the root of evil? Is it always based on religion and the devil? I can't start to begin where does evil lie and where it comes from, but I don't think the Elphie was born evil, she was born different and that doesn't mean evil. She "became" the WITCH so that she can create a self protection bubble against the cruel outside world. Why shouldn't she go with the gossip of evil. Nessarose was significantly harsher of a person and dictator than Elphaba and for that matter Galinda/Glinda with all the pretending of being better than most.

 So why do people after reading this book still hate Elphaba? She loved her sister, even if it was tainted with a hint of jealousy of the love Frex had for her? She truly loved Fiyero, not her fault he is cheating on her; she loved her Nanny, especially when Nanny showed up at Kiamo Ko; she learned to care for Sarima, even if Sarima would not listen to her; and these qualities really humanized her.

The world is truly magical, from talking Animals vs animals, to magic shoes, and spells and flying monkeys. There are many mirror images of Oz to today's America. Where do we draw the line of cruelty between Animals and animals? Is it because one can talk vs the other who can't? How about the parallels between the social classes of Oz; Munchkin Land Middle Class, Lower class Glikkun, the Outcasts of Vinkus, and the Nomads the Scrow; Compared to: Racial separations in America? Can that still not be seen even in 2011? The religious strife of the Unnamed God vs the Lurlainists vs the pleasure faith; Compared to: Christianity; Judaism and the Muslim faith. Can't the Muslims see Christians as pleasure faithfuls drinking and yes sex before marriage? Can't Christians looks at Jews and say they are crazy waiting for their Lurlina to come out?

This books brings about astounding resemblance between Emerald City and Nazism, as it was. The Gale Force and the saluting and how Elphaba fought against taking that control of her hometown of Cowlen grounds. And even furthur back with sexism in the schools and keeping it seperate, the difference of materials that were available to the girls as Shiz vs the guys at the school.
And lastly and most obvious the blatant racism of Animals and colored people like Fiyero, Elphaba and Turtle Heart.

I am surprised at how much I enjoyed this book the second time around. This makes me curious if Son of a Witch will be better the second time around as I didn't think it was very good.

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