Sunday, December 7, 2008

The unyellow unbrick road

I'm reading the Wizard of Oz. That was a very brave, kind, smart, and sensible girl. Like Nancy Drew. And like Jo Marsh from Little Women. It has me wanting to ask y'all if you recall especially brave, independent, and sensible boys and girls from your childhood reading, characters who may have helped to form you. I like to think, though it isn't true, that I'm named after that Nancy and that Jo, with a big helping of Dorothy's Kansas.

Photo by Andif


Lisa M said...

I always wanted to be Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.
She spoke her mind as do I. Got her into trouble as it does me. When my dad taught me how to shoot, I think that was the closest we got to the wonderful relationship Atticus and Scout had.
I was not brave like she was and I don't think I would have been so kind to Boo Radley. I want to think I would have though.
I wanted to solve mysteries like Nancy Drew. But most of my young memories is tied up with television. I jumped from my swingset playing Ripcord, pretended to fly like Sky King, and dreamed of scuba diving like Sea Hunt.

I'm glad we're back to American colors and flaura. That purple stuff was strange.

Marvelous Monday to All.

AndiF said...

Damn Lisa, you're up really early. I hope you've got a chance for a nap some time today.

The character I identified with wasn't a boy or a girl ... it was Toad from Wind in the Willows (I didn't mean to do that, Mom. It just sort of happened.)

I was a horse-crazy kid and but I didn't identify with the kids in the horse books that I devoured -- I just shoved them aside and put me on the back of that wonderful horse.

Jen said...

I have always found something inexplicably alluring about road and pathway imagery. I wind up sitting and staring and wondering which wonders are to be found along the trail.

Childhood character influences are legion but the first that came to mind was Harriet the Spy, whom I remember as a writer, a nonconformist, and admirably bold and sassy. Directly on her heels I am remembering also identifying a lot with Madeleine L'Engle's character Charles Wallace from her Wrinkle in Time series, probably because of the age-inappropriate intellectual capacity during his young childhood and his being exceptionally weird overall, but this seeming to bother other people a lot more than it ever bothered him.

AndiF said...

I definitely love (what, you're not surprised) trail shots too, Jen. Whenever we hike we always take trail shots so that we can put ourselves back on the hike whenever we look at the picture.

Here's a lovely one (taken by Jim) to put us on the trail to the lush green of a redwoods forest (and puts me in mind of all those enchanted forests in my childhood books). [LINK]

FARfetched said...

I'm trying to think about that… I can't think of any characters off the top of my head that I wanted to be. For me, though, getting into a decent book is an immersive experience… I'm there with all the characters in a way.

Andi, that shot looks spooky with the moss on the "archway" trees. Another doorway to the unknown?

olivia said...

That Scatterbrain Booky by Bernice Thurman Hunter. Booky was the first character to pop in my head after reading your post.

Jen said...

Here's a lovely one (taken by Jim)

Hobbitesque, I love it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I ever really identified with a character, either. Loved getting lost in books and living WITH characters - would have loved to live in Hobbiton or Lothlorien - but didn't imagine that I was anyone but me.

Driving east today, then south tomorrow. The boys brought a bug home from preschool, which I seem to be catching today, doggone it. Hoping it's short-lived.

Hope all had a good weekend - waving at everyone here, and those to come!

Paul Lamb said...

There is a relatively famous interpretation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that sees the novel as a critique of economic policies at the end of the 19th Century. The Yellow Brick Road is supposed to be the idea of following the gold standard for currency, and that road leads them to a false prophet/profit. Dorothy's slippers, which are silver in the novel and only ruby in the movie because they showed up better on film that way, represent the silver standard, which got everything back to normal. The Scarecrow represented the farming interests -- not a lot of book smarts but plenty of practical, problem solving skills. The Tin Man represented the heartless machine age. The Cowardly Lion was supposed to be William Jennings Bryan, full of bluster but not a lot of courage in the face of adversity. Dorothy, of course, was the level-headed Midwest. The Wicked Witch of the East represented the manipulative New York banking industry, while the Wicked Witch of the West stood in for the wide-open, sinful ways of San Francisco. In the novel there is a walled community of porcelan people who were fragile, just as many of the utopian communitys of the time were.
Interpretations are, of course, imposed on stories, but this one works so well that I can't help but think Baum had similar thoughts when writing it.

Paul Lamb said...

communitys = communities


Maria Lima said...

Morning, all! I don't think I wanted to be a specific character, but definitely wanted to be part of a world. Like Jen, I adored Charles Wallace and his unconcerned differentness. I also wanted to be part of Trixie Belden's world, as she was probably once of my first spunky heroines.

I'm sure there were a TON of other books/worlds as I was always buried in one book or another. (go figure!)

Happy Monday all and hoping the week will be fabulous!!

(I'm feeling WAY better today)

FARfetched said...

Fascinating interpretation, Paul. There's a reference to the Depression in the movie, when the Wizard tells his story: "things being what they were, I took the job."

Sitting in traffic at the moment... At least I have something to do.

Liss said...

Laura Ingalls Wilder. I found her in the 5th grade after my parents' marriage broke up and we moved and I was lost an isolated. I 'lived' in those books over and over for a year or two. My desire to write was born in the Little House series.

In Little Women I didn't relate to Jo. I'm a Beth. And I just found my all time favorite version of Little Women on DVD! The 70's version that was a TV Miniseries starring Susan Dey as Jo.

In 6th grade I found biographies of 'pioneer' women and read about these strong female historical figures. They helped form me and developed my love of history. said...

I didn't identify with characters in books, Nancy. Even as a kid, once I was old enough to read book-length fiction, I identified with the author. I distinctly remember being awed by Emily Bronte -- she seemed so all-knowing. Lordy, she knew when it was going to rain and when it wasn't, and she was familiar with table manners, including the proper way to eat soup. I wanted to be related to her.

What enthralled me about fiction was the role of voyeur the author took on (although I wouldn't have called it that then) and then, of course, this incredible power of seeing was shared by me, the reader. We could see inside people's thoughts.. and tell on them. Too good to be true.

When I was ten or so, I remembering telling my backyard play chum to do something so I could write it down. He climbed our fence, got stuck at the top (his clothes hooked one of those chain link ends) and I wrote: Bruce is stuped.

Still can't spell, by the way. I had meant to write: Bruce is stupid. No one said fiction was going to be easy.

Kelly McCullough said...

I'm in the worlds over character crowd too. I didn't want to be any of the characters from Space Cadet (I can't even remember names) I wanted to go to the academy and be a space cadet.

Nicola Slade said...

I always loved Jo and Katy as well (What Katy Did...)and Anne (of Green Gables) as did my mother but I was called Nicola Mary because of my Christmas Eve birthday! Nicola was extremely rare as a name in those days and mum had read it in a magazine story!
My daughters are Amelia (named for a princess in a Vaughan Wilkins historical novel - "And So Victoria": bestseller in the 1930s) and Olivia (named after the mum in "The Waltons" who my husband fancied!) I now have a granddaughter called Lyra (Golden Compass, etc by Philip Pullman).

maryb said...

Kit Tyler from "The Witch of Blackbird Pond". One of my favorite books when I was young. (And an early indication that I would love historical fiction.)

Dina said...

Hi, all. Maria, glad you are feeling better. Andi, I love that path photo - I definitely wish I could walk it.

I never identified with a specific character when I was young but I went into worlds that I wanted to be a part of. And I always wanted a strong female role to identify with. My feminist roots run very deep.

Nancy P said...

18 comments! This topic must have triggered some stuff! Oh boy, now to read it all. . .yum.

Sky King
Sea Hunt scubadiver
horses (I, too, loved horse books so much.)
Harriet the Spy
Charles Wallace
Booky (new to me!)
pioneer women
not Bruce, lol
Kit Tyler (also new to me)

The being in worlds vs. being characters is interesting. I'm not sure I can differentiate one from the other in my imagination.

AndiF said...

Oh Dina, me too. The strong girl characters were another reason I loved horse books.

Not in the least a horse book but did you ever read Mara, Daughter of the Nile? I loved that book. Besides giving me a resourceful and intelligent heroine, it also started a lifelong interest in Hapshepsut who I later discovered was not the villain she's made out to be in the book.

maryb said...

oh I second Mara. I re-read that a couple of years ago to see if I still liked it and it stood up to adulthood very well.

maryb said...

btw - this is funny. It's Pride and Prejudice as seen through the characters' Facebook updates. (It probably won't be quite as funny to people who don't do facebook, but I think it's quite humorous).

bono said...

Well, I don't remember specific characters as a youngster. I do prefer strong female leads like Jo and Scout and today, Angela Jolie's movie roles (I just rewatched Wanted - love it) and Starbuck. I would like to be like them, but I don't think I am. Pretty much a wuss at times.

Maria, glad you're feeling better. Beth, it's supposed to warm up to the 40's tomorrow! Thanks for sending some warmth this way!!!

Paul, I find the interpretation of Oz fascinating. Thank you. Farf, I can relate to "taking the job." Sometimes, you just have to take what's put before you because the choices are so limited. :-/

Maryb, thanks for the amusing take on Pride and Prejudice. lol

Andif, love both pix today. I'd like to walk down either trail. Thanks for sharing.

Greetings to all.

Anonymous said...

Made it safely to Perry, FL, population not very many. Fighting a fever, sigh. Hoping to head to Englewood tomorrow, unless I feel icky, then will stay in this hotel for a day to try and NOT infect my friends. Saw gorgeous beach towns today, but didn't feel up to taking pictures. Supposed to be 78 tomorrow, so I'll have plenty of extra warmth to send your way, bono! Now off to watch Monday Night Football...

boran2 said...

Drive by nighty night folks!

Nancy P said...

Nighty-night, b2.

Hope you feel better tomorrow, Beth.

Sleep well, everybody. If you want to. I don't want to order anybody around. :)