Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

People in Packages


A theme we see every once in a while in the Oz series is that of people in packages. The first example of this (that I can think of, anyway) occurs in The Cowardly Lion of Oz, with the city known as the Preservatory. The people there live in jars and cans, being preserved through jellying, pickling, and other such methods. They insist that they'll spoil without their jars, despite the fact that no one grows older in Oz anyway. It seems to me that it's basically a cult. The Preserves have a queen, the jellied Preserva the Great, but their true leader is the Imperial Squawmos. This Cookywitch, although not in a jar herself, is the one responsible for preserving all of the others. In keeping with the general theme, the buildings in the Preservatory are basically giant cabinets with shelves.


A similar idea can be seen in the Box Wood, part of the great forests that take up most of the western part of the Kingdom of Ix, and is itself surrounded by a giant box. The people are known as Boxers (an obvious pun anyway, but possibly also a reference to the Boxer Rebellion in China), and dress in boxes to keep themselves from spoiling. Fortunately for them, boxes grow on trees in their wood. Many of them contain useful items, but the Boxers usually just throw them away. They're horrified to learn that it works the other way 'round in the rest of the world. The leader of the Boxers of Ix is a chief named Chillywalla. A Boxer also shows up in the Emerald City in Wonder City, but this one is identified as a Quadling. Whether he's related to the Boxers in Ix isn't specified. Jenny Jump provides him with a shiny new cellophane suit, and he lands a job as Head Waiter at the Great Crystal Banquet Hall.


A different variety of packaged people can be found in Tidy Town in the Winkie Country. These people are made from powdered mixes, and spend all their time performing their designated jobs. The man behind this town is Max the Mix-Master, who used to be the King of Hotchinpotch, but grew fed up with the contrary and disorganized behavior of his subjects. So he left his domain and found an abandoned cabin that had belonged to an as-yet-unidentified magician, which contained the equipment he needed to create his organized new town and its people. All of the artificial people are men, as Max considers women and children to be nuisances.
Tags: books, characters, oz
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