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 Lets discuss the book Wicked here.

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lholcomb
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PostSubject: Lets discuss the book Wicked here.   Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:45 pm

OK I'll repost the questions here from Kelly's post so that we have them all in one place. Kelly, maybe you can sticky this too.

Questions for Discussion


1. Gregory
Maguire fashioned the name of Elphaba (pronounced EL-fa-ba) from the
initials of the author of The Wizard of Oz, Lyman Frank
Baum-L-F-B-Elphaba. Wicked derives some of its power from the
popularity of its source material. Does meeting up with familiar
characters and famous fictional situations require more patience and
effort on the part of the reader, or less?

2. Wicked flips the
Oz we knew from the classic movie on its head. To what extent does
Maguire's vision of Oz contradict the Oz we're familiar with? How have
Dorothy and the other characters changed or remained the same? Has
Wicked changed your conception of the original? If so, how?

3.
The novel opens with a scene in which the Witch overhears Dorothy, the
Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman gossiping about her. She's
"possessed by demons," they say. "She was castrated at birth . . . she
was an abused child . . . she's a dangerous tyrant." How does this
scene set the stage for the story, and what themes does it introduce?

4.
What is the significance of Elphaba's green skin? What are the rewards
of being so different, and what are the drawbacks? In Oz -- and in the
real world -- what are the meanings associated with the color green,
and are any of them pertinent to Elphaba's character?

5. One
of Wicked's key themes is the nature and roots of evil. What are the
theories that Maguire sets out? Is Elphaba evil? Are her actions evil?
Is there such a thing as evil, a free-floating power in the universe
like time or gravity? Or is evil an attribute of the actions of human
beings? (Hint: Turn to pages 231 and 370 for scenes that will draw you
into the conversation.)

6. Discuss the importance of the Clock
of the Time Dragon. Does the Clock simply reflect events, or does it
shape them? Why is it significant that Elphaba was born inside it? That
Turtle Heart was killed by it? What revelations does it offer to
Elphaba and the reader when she reencounters it at the end of the book?


7. The first section of the book ends powerfully but
enigmatically when the young Elphaba is discovered under the dock,
cradled in the paws of a magical beast as if sitting on a throne. How
do you interpret this scene, and what do you think it foretells, if
anything?

8. The place of Animals in society is an important
theme in Wicked. Why does Elphaba make it her mission to fight for
Animal rights? How else does social class define Oz, and why?

9.
[Galinda] reasoned that because she was beautiful she was significant,
though what she signified, and to whom, was not clear to her yet" (page
65). Discuss the transformation of Galinda, shallow Shiz student, to
Glinda the Good Witch. How does she change -- and by how much? What is
her eventual "significance," both in Oz and in the story?

10.
Discuss the ways in which Elphaba's determination and willfulness lend
purpose and order to her life, and the cost of being such a strong
character. Elphaba isn't the only strong female character in Wicked.
How do Nessarose, Glinda, and Sarima deal with the issues of power and
control? Where do each of them draw strength from? Is the world of
Maguire's Oz more or less patriarchal than millennial America?

11.
Wicked is an epic story, built along the lines of a Shakespearean or
Greek tragedy, in which the seeds of Elphaba's destiny are all sown
early in the novel. How much of Elphaba's career is predestined, and
how much choice does she have? Do you think that she was no more than a
puppet of the Wizard or Madame Morrible, as she fears?

12.
Early in their unlikely friendship, Galinda catches a glimpse of
Elphaba and thinks she "looked like something between an animal and an
Animal, like something more than life but not quite Life" (pages
78-79). Discuss the dual, and sometimes contradictory, nature of
Elphaba's character. Why does Elphaba insist that she doesn't have a
soul?

13. Who or what is Yackle? Where does she appear in the
story, and what role does she serve in Elphaba's life? Is she good or
evil -- both or neither?

14. Was Elphaba's story essentially a
tragedy or a triumph? Did she fail at every major endeavor, and thus
fail at life; or because she refused to give up or change to suit the
opinions of others, was her life a success? Is there a possibility that
Dorothy's "baptismal splash" redeemed Elphaba on her deathbed, or was
this the final indignity in a life of miserable mistakes?

15. How does social class define Oz? What is the role of animals? Why does Elphaba fight for them?

16.
Wicked examines the nature of evil. Is Elphaba evil? Are her actions?
Is there such a thing as evil? What is it and how does it manifest
itself?

17. Rate Wicked on a scale of 1 to 5.

Just for fun: Which character do you most relate with? Why? Does this surprise you?

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lholcomb
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PostSubject: Re: Lets discuss the book Wicked here.   Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:09 pm

Questions for Discussion


1. Gregory
Maguire fashioned the name of Elphaba (pronounced EL-fa-ba) from the
initials of the author of The Wizard of Oz, Lyman Frank
Baum-L-F-B-Elphaba. Wicked derives some of its power from the
popularity of its source material. Does meeting up with familiar
characters and famous fictional situations require more patience and
effort on the part of the reader, or less?

I don't think it required more or less patience on my part. I found it much like reading a newspaper with a conservative slant and then reading the same story in a liberal magazine. The characters where pretty obvious as to who they were, it just was a different "slant".

2. Wicked flips the
Oz we knew from the classic movie on its head. To what extent does
Maguire's vision of Oz contradict the Oz we're familiar with? How have
Dorothy and the other characters changed or remained the same? Has
Wicked changed your conception of the original? If so, how?

This OZ is more
"human" we can relate to this OZ on a personal level much more than the OZ of the movie, which was a wonderful utopia after the witch died (because was the only problem). This was a "one thing is the cause of all evil" (in the movie) ideal, and if we could get rid of it, all would be better. The OZ in this book has diversity in religion and arguments among them (guess which religion I was
Laughing ) and the religions were pretty obvious what they were representative in our world. Dorothy comes off in this book as somebody you can't really trust (was she going to REALLY murder the witch or not) and a little dim witted (just like her dog, lol). The rest of the character were pretty much the same I thought, just with a little more "human" in them, instead of ONE Problem they had, they actually had more. It has changed my concept of oz from a place of wonderful kindness and wonderment to a normal place with it's own problems that need to be overcome.

3.
The novel opens with a scene in which the Witch overhears Dorothy, the
Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman gossiping about her. She's
"possessed by demons," they say. "She was castrated at birth . . . she
was an abused child . . . she's a dangerous tyrant." How does this
scene set the stage for the story, and what themes does it introduce?

Well those statement set the theme for a "nature" idea of why the witch was "wicked". That her wickedness stemmed from something in her past (castrated at birth, abused child). It did not mention anything about her being born bad (nature) which was also assumed at various parts of the book. The book was a mix of those two ideas and what bad even is. It did not give an answer as to whether it is nature or nurture that causes bad, but instead makes us think and try to decide (I am still undecided about the witch, even if she was really "wicked")

4.
What is the significance of Elphaba's green skin? What are the rewards
of being so different, and what are the drawbacks? In Oz -- and in the
real world -- what are the meanings associated with the color green,
and are any of them pertinent to Elphaba's character?

The only significance is that it makes her different in appearance from the get go. She was treated poorly because she was not normal. However she also inspired some awe and respect based soley on the green skin. In a way being that obviously different gave her the ability to develop into the person she wanted to be, because nobody really wanted to "claim" her in their religion or even as a friend. I'm not sure what the color green represents in OZ. I don't remember that part.

5. One
of Wicked's key themes is the nature and roots of evil. What are the
theories that Maguire sets out? Is Elphaba evil? Are her actions evil?
Is there such a thing as evil, a free-floating power in the universe
like time or gravity? Or is evil an attribute of the actions of human
beings? (Hint: Turn to pages 231 and 370 for scenes that will draw you
into the conversation.)

He sets out several theories, but they all revolve around the nature/nurture idea. One is that a person is born good or evil. Another is that the product of their upbringing makes them good or evil. Or that how they are treated by others makes them evil. Even that being cursed by an unnamed God makes one evil. Yes, some of her actions are "evil" - the killing of somebody. But in an odd way justified because that person was a killer themselves. So it rather is the cunundrum we face with the death penalty or parents killing their kids murderers today. Is it truly evil or is it "justice" if the other person killed first (I'm a pacifist and don't think it's justified, BTW). I think that evil is a making of peoples actions and the "vibes" they send out. It originates from us, but after a while is the evil is big enough it will create an entity all by itself and become free-floating. So I believe it is both - but it is originally from us.


6. Discuss the importance of the Clock
of the Time Dragon. Does the Clock simply reflect events, or does it
shape them? Why is it significant that Elphaba was born inside it? That
Turtle Heart was killed by it? What revelations does it offer to
Elphaba and the reader when she reencounters it at the end of the book?

I think the clock is the harbringer of death. When Elphaba was born inside it, it brought the death of a normal life (by her being green). Obviously Turtle Heart was killed by it. And the revelations it offers at the end rather point to Elphaba dying along with her fear of it.


7. The first section of the book ends powerfully but
enigmatically when the young Elphaba is discovered under the dock,
cradled in the paws of a magical beast as if sitting on a throne. How
do you interpret this scene, and what do you think it foretells, if
anything?

I think if fortells that she is not evil, but is special. She has a special bond with animals (or Animals) even from the start, almost as if she where part Animal. I think it fortells her bond with the Animals and her devotion to them keeping and regaining their rights. Also I wonder if the "horrors" she say in the glass was not HER horrors, but instead the horrors of the Animals.

8. The place of Animals in society is an important
theme in Wicked. Why does Elphaba make it her mission to fight for
Animal rights? How else does social class define Oz, and why?

She makes it her mission. because she is different and has been ostrasized as well. She identifies with the Animals in that way. Social class is also defined in Oz by the numerous remarks that people make about the Quadlings and others, as if they are "below" them. Those people have a hard time with advancement if any in Oz.

9.
[Galinda] reasoned that because she was beautiful she was significant,
though what she signified, and to whom, was not clear to her yet" (page
65). Discuss the transformation of Galinda, shallow Shiz student, to
Glinda the Good Witch. How does she change -- and by how much? What is
her eventual "significance," both in Oz and in the story?

I think her change happened when she saw Elphelba give up what she so wanted (reading books and learning) to fight for a cause. That and the death of the Goat, promted her to grow up. She does change to look outside her world a little, but she is still lacking in a lot of that. She still has to think of how all the actions affect HER before how they affect others and does not want to do much if it will affect her negatively. Her significance is that even as shallow as she was, she could see through to the goodness in Elphelba that so many people couldn't. It was almost because of her shallowness and silliness that she got Elphelba to come out of her shell.



Just for fun: Which character do you most relate with? Why? Does this surprise you?

I relate most with Elphelba. She is different and she fights for what she believes in sometimes to the detriment of personal relationships.

OK now it's your guys turn!

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PostSubject: Re: Lets discuss the book Wicked here.   Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:34 pm

I'm still rereading it...crazy month...I'm almost finished...I still have a couple of weeks ya know...

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PostSubject: Re: Lets discuss the book Wicked here.   Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:48 pm

Yeah I know. Am I an overachiever if I've already finished the October book of the month?? lol!

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PostSubject: Re: Lets discuss the book Wicked here.   Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:30 pm

Razz the copy the library has of that one is still checked out....I may just change the October book of the month now.... Twisted Evil

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PostSubject: Re: Lets discuss the book Wicked here.   Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:55 pm

1. Gregory
Maguire fashioned the name of Elphaba (pronounced EL-fa-ba) from the
initials of the author of The Wizard of Oz, Lyman Frank
Baum-L-F-B-Elphaba. Wicked derives some of its power from the
popularity of its source material. Does meeting up with familiar
characters and famous fictional situations require more patience and
effort on the part of the reader, or less?

I think it depends on the reader. It takes some getting used to. You have to change your preconceived notions of characters you thought you knew.


2. Wicked flips the
Oz we knew from the classic movie on its head. To what extent does
Maguire's vision of Oz contradict the Oz we're familiar with? How have
Dorothy and the other characters changed or remained the same? Has
Wicked changed your conception of the original? If so, how?


I see Oz in a new light after reading Wicked. I used to think of it through the eyes of a child because it was a part of my childhood. Now I see the complexities of the political environment that surrounded Oz and the relationships within that environment. I used to worship Dorothy for her bravery - now I think she is a sniveling twit with her own agenda.


3.
The novel opens with a scene in which the Witch overhears Dorothy, the
Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman gossiping about her. She's
"possessed by demons," they say. "She was castrated at birth . . . she
was an abused child . . . she's a dangerous tyrant." How does this
scene set the stage for the story, and what themes does it introduce?

It sets the scene for a more complex, adult storyline than what we remember previously.

4.
What is the significance of Elphaba's green skin? What are the rewards
of being so different, and what are the drawbacks? In Oz -- and in the
real world -- what are the meanings associated with the color green,
and are any of them pertinent to Elphaba's character?

I'm still pondering this one. I think the green skin is a symbol of growth. Elphaba was always working towards growing her skills and growing compassion for Animals within her colleauges. She knew her limitations and tried to overcome them when she could. aGreen is also associated with money, power, and jealousy. I think Elphaba had great power even if she did not realize it herself. The Wizard recognized it and was jealous of this power and so plotted to have her killed because of it.


6. Discuss the importance of the Clock
of the Time Dragon. Does the Clock simply reflect events, or does it
shape them? Why is it significant that Elphaba was born inside it? That
Turtle Heart was killed by it? What revelations does it offer to
Elphaba and the reader when she reencounters it at the end of the book?

I think the clock suggests events that could happen based upon keen observations. The suggestions then influence popular opinion and then become reality. It is significant that Elphaba is born inside of the clock because she is trying to change the views of the world with regards to Animals.

12.
Early in their unlikely friendship, Galinda catches a glimpse of
Elphaba and thinks she "looked like something between an animal and an
Animal, like something more than life but not quite Life" (pages
78-79). Discuss the dual, and sometimes contradictory, nature of
Elphaba's character. Why does Elphaba insist that she doesn't have a
soul?

Elphaba insists she doesn't have a soul because she feels different from those that claim to have a soul. She often has more compassion and passion than those that claim to have a soul and therefore an eternal existence. The difference is so great, that is has to be something important that is missing from one or the other to cause it. She may also feel like she doesn't want to spend eternity with an uncaring group of people - so she hopes she does not have a soul.

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PostSubject: Re: Lets discuss the book Wicked here.   Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:12 pm

Ok this is the next book I got so I will be back lol
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PostSubject: Re: Lets discuss the book Wicked here.   Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:54 am

I tried to read this book. I got into about 30 pages and still could not get into the story. Guess it was just not my cup of tea.
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