The Patchwork Girl of Oz: Patching Together a Story

The Woozy whose three hairs Ojo needs for the potion is no less memorable. The only Woozy on Earth turns out to be a boxy animal that can shoot fire from its eyes. Local beekeepers, failing to kill this bee-devouring creature because of its impervious skin, imprisoned the Woozy without food for years, but even starvation never killed it (104). Though stubborn, the Woozy is friendly and “lonesome—dreadfully lonesome” (103). Initially hating to part with its only three hairs, the Woozy acquiesces when it realizes the hairs might be life-saving. When Ojo and Scraps lack the physical strength to tear the three hairs out, the Woozy, wishing to have company anyway, agrees to join them until they meet someone who can.

A belief that its growl is almost supernaturally terrifying is one of the Woozy’s memorable traits. After much buildup, the actual growl turns out to be “Quee-ee-ee-eek” (152). Carrying on the pattern of oddballs who prove adequate in their inadequacy, the Woozy concludes, “It has always sounded very fearful to me, but that may have been because it was so close to my ears” (154). Ojo, however, reassures it that “it is a great talent” to be able to shoot fire from one’s eyes.

The argumentative nature of this group adds texture and tension missing from the last two depictions of Oz. This might stem from these characters being outcasts on the road instead of magical royalty relaxing in luxurious castles. Their contrasting personalities also permit the comedic repartee from The Marvelous Land of Oz to return:

“All right; I promise,” said the Woozy, cheerfully. “And when I promise anything you can depend on it, ’cause I’m square.”

“I don’t see what difference that makes,” observed the Patchwork Girl, as they found the path and continued their journey. “The shape doesn’t make a thing honest, does it?”

“Of course it does,” returned the Woozy, very decidedly. “No one could trust that Crooked Magician, for instance, just because he is crooked; but a square Woozy couldn’t do anything crooked if he wanted to.”

“I am neither square nor crooked,” said Scraps, looking down at her plump body. [Note that this is another instance of Scraps being neither in one category nor the other. She doesn’t quite fit in any expected roles.]

“No; you’re round, so you’re liable to do anything,” asserted the Woozy. “Do not blame me, Miss Gorgeous, if I regard you with suspicion. Many a satin ribbon has a cotton back.”

Scraps didn’t understand this, but she had an uneasy misgiving that she had a cotton back herself (112–113).

This emphasis on comedic dialogue might suggest Baum wanted this to be a stage play too, though the adaptation turned out to be a movie.