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"Wicked" by Gregory Maguire 
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Post "Wicked" by Gregory Maguire
Since some of us expressed interest in discussing Wicked even though it has been axed, I thought I might get the ball rolling and start a discussion thread.

Just to get things started, those of us who have read the book or even seen the Broadway show, how do you feel about Elphaba? Was she born wicked? Did she become wicked? Was she in fact, not wicked at all but was simply misunderstood?


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This is a great idea, Constance. :) If you can stir up some interest in this book it can go back up top as an official selection for one of the upcoming fiction book discussion periods.


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And from the type of questions I see you asking I believe you'd make a great discussion leader for Wicked. :)


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Thanks for getting things going, Constance.

I've only read the first 57 pages (the last chapter being "Geography of the Seen and Unseen) , but of course I'll carry on.
Due to some unfortunate gap in my education, I know absolutely nothing about films or shows. ;-)

So, it will take me a while to catch up and be able to answer your question, and I have no topic suggestions of my own for the moment.

Now if you or anybody else could suggest a discussion topic for something in pages 1 to 56 I'd be happy to join you.


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Thanks Chris, I'll do my best.

Ophelia, since you are just starting how about the question of religion which I believe is raised immediately in the novel. The author brings up the religions Unionist, Paganism, and Pleasure Faith. Elphaba's father Frex is a minister who believes in the Unnamed God, names his daughter after a saint, and yet his daughter is then born green. Do you feel that the author is making a relation between religious beliefs and punishment? What kind of foreshadowing do you feel is being set up for the rest of the novel?


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Very good suggestion Constance.
From a literary point of view, this is something which attracted my attention immediately as I thought the style was such a delight. :) I'll go back and read this again.

Now, the details of your question brings me to another of those gaps in my education: to me religion means "Catholics", "Protestants" "Muslims", and all subtleties are lost on people like me, but this is a challenge, I'll go for it.


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Constance:

I would normally not post this here but I went back to your intro and... at last I found somebody on this forum who mentioned Harry Potter.

So this is my chance to state publicly that I LOVE Harry Potter. I found that reading the whole series backwards (7 to 1) or at random also worked very well.


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Maybe we can start a Harry Potter thread Ophelia ;-)

Oh, and I initially directed the religion question to Ophelia but it can go out to anyone who has read the novel or the first few chapters :D


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I really enjoyed the musical version of Wicked, which I saw in San Francisco last year. When I tried reading the novel, I gave up after a couple of pages, but I didn't give it much of a chance.

The whole point of the musical was that Elphaba wasn't really wicked. Wicked was a revisionist take on The Wizard of Oz, in which the "Wicked Witch of the West" was a somewhat heroic figure fighting a corrupt and flawed system. The main theme was that good and evil are subjective, and that people don't conform to the simplistic black-and-white view of The Wizard of Oz, a mentality that comes up far too often in the real world.



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Constance wrote:

Quote:
The author brings up the religions Unionist, Paganism, and Pleasure Faith. Elphaba's father Frex is a minister who believes in the Unnamed God, names his daughter after a saint, and yet his daughter is then born green.


I'll start with definitions:

1- paganism:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paganism

2- I suppose "Pleasure Faith" is an invention? Is it based on any real movement?

3- "Unionist" drew a blank. Help?

4- Elphaba: what's the name of the saint?


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Ophelia wrote:
Constance wrote:

Quote:
The author brings up the religions Unionist, Paganism, and Pleasure Faith. Elphaba's father Frex is a minister who believes in the Unnamed God, names his daughter after a saint, and yet his daughter is then born green.


I'll start with definitions:

1- paganism:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paganism

2- I suppose "Pleasure Faith" is an invention? Is it based on any real movement?

3- "Unionist" drew a blank. Help?

4- Elphaba: what's the name of the saint?


I believe most of the religions in the book are the author's invention with the exception of the pagonism. The Pleasure Faith follows the prophecies of the Time Dragon, which Elphaba coincidentally was born in.

Frex is a Unionist minister who preaches on the Unnamed God, so to me he paralleled Christianity.

Elphaba was named for "Saint Aelphaba of the Waterfall" (page 31 in my copy), again which I believe is an invention of the author but apparantly a saint in her parents' religion.


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JulianTheApostate wrote:
I really enjoyed the musical version of Wicked, which I saw in San Francisco last year. When I tried reading the novel, I gave up after a couple of pages, but I didn't give it much of a chance.

The whole point of the musical was that Elphaba wasn't really wicked. Wicked was a revisionist take on The Wizard of Oz, in which the "Wicked Witch of the West" was a somewhat heroic figure fighting a corrupt and flawed system. The main theme was that good and evil are subjective, and that people don't conform to the simplistic black-and-white view of The Wizard of Oz, a mentality that comes up far too often in the real world.


Hi Julian,

I agree that the musical did indeed make Elphaba a heroic figure who, rather than being wicked, was tragically misunderstood. Her skincolor caused her to be shunned and caused her to become somewhat reclusive and shy which then in turn fueled people's assumptions as with any vicious circle.

The book however made things a little more gray in relation to Elphaba's wickedness. Without giving away any spoilers for those who are still reading, I thought the author left it up to the reader to decide. The show was actually just loosely based on the book and it was made to be much more uplifting than the book is.


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Post religion
Thanks Constance.
That's the trouble with blissful ignorance, having no clue whether "Unionist" is like "Baptist" or a writer's invention!

[When I studied English lit at university, a knowledge of the Bible would have been very useful (as opposed to studying French literature). All I had was a year's weekly instruction with the Catholic Church when I was 11, and even with that I knew much more than everybody else in my classes. I think our professors had no expectations from us in that field, so it never became an obvious problem.
My parents were raised as Catholics but the only reason we had a Bible at home was that a Protestant minister once came visiting everybody in the street and gave my Mom a Bible-- I still have it on a shelf with my reference books from all those years ago. :) ]


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Post Re: religion
Ophelia wrote:
Thanks Constance.
That's the trouble with blissful ignorance, having no clue whether "Unionist" is like "Baptist" or a writer's invention!

[When I studied English lit at university, a knowledge of the Bible would have been very useful (as opposed to studying French literature). All I had was a year's weekly instruction with the Catholic Church when I was 11, and even with that I knew much more than everybody else in my classes. I think our professors had no expectations from us in that field, so it never became an obvious problem.
My parents were raised as Catholics but the only reason we had a Bible at home was that a Protestant minister once came visiting everybody in the street and gave my Mom a Bible-- I still have it on a shelf with my reference books from all those years ago. :) ]


No problem Ophelia. It might parallel Baptist actually. I just assumed it was meant to be a "Christian" religion because of the belief in one God and the belief in the "Other Land" which I assumed was their version of Heaven. Maybe the author is trying to parallel a particular relition, but I have not studied religion extensively so if someone feels it is meant to be specific, please feel free to comment.


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Ophelia wrote:
4- Elphaba: what's the name of the saint?

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicked_%28novel%29
Quote:
Gregory Maguire fashioned the name of Elphaba (pronounced EL-fa-ba) from the initials of Lyman Frank Baum, L-F-B.

I know, that wasn't what you were asking about.



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