Monday, July 15, 2013

The Characters of Oz — The Sawhorse

Tip and Jack journeyed down the road, deciding that soon they'd arrive at the Emerald City. But Jack worried about wearing out his wooden joints. As the two sat down to rest, Tip chose a wooden sawhorse for his resting place. Jack asked what it was, and Tip called it a "horse."

It is noted in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz that the Land of Oz had no horses (no known horses, anyway), so one may well wonder why Tip could describe a regular flesh and blood horse.

Jack at first thought that Tip described the Sawhorse, but Tip corrected him, and noted that it wasn't alive because it was made of wood. Jack reminded Tip that he was also made of wood, and Tip realized the truth and remembered that he had the Powder of Life in his pocket. On Jack's suggestion that he could ride the Sawhorse, Tip brought it to life.

However, the Sawhorse lacked ears, and it ran around deaf as a post until it tripped and fell over. Tip carefully made ears and fitted it to the Sawhorse's head.

At first, the Sawhorse was agreeable, but throughout the course of The Marvelous Land of Oz, he became
a little irritated.  He did not appreciate anyone making jokes about him, and he was less than enthused when he broke a leg and one of Jack's had to be used instead. He went so far as to say "I'll have nothing more to do with that pumpkinhead!"

One thing about the Sawhorse that became clear through the story was that since the Sawhorse was not flesh and blood, he could run very quickly without tiring.

At the end of The Marvelous Land of Oz, the Sawhorse becomes Ozma's Royal Steed. His feet are shod with gold, and Neill gives him a saddle and reins.

A feature that the Sawhorse quickly lost was a post Tip drove into the Sawhorse's back for Jack to hold onto as he rode. John R. Neill drew it on and off throughout The Marvelous Land of Oz, and then he and Baum never used it again afterward. Presumably, Ozma had it removed since he could have reins.

In later Oz books, the Sawhorse rarely plays a large role. He mainly draws Ozma's red wagon, but in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, he races Jim the cab horse, who he became a little infatuated with. The Sawhorse wins, of course, and when Jim tries to retaliate, the Hungry Tiger defends the Sawhorse. In The Patchwork Girl of Oz, the Woozy views the Sawhorse as an inferior steed after the Sawhorse kicks him.

Overall, the Sawhorse is an often-used character, but not defined that well. Perhaps he has more to say in the future.

1 comment:

dvywiz said...

I also always wondered how the Sawhorse grew his tail back after Tip broke it off!