The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, VI.— The Cowardly Lion
Tonight's Soundtrack: The Beatles, "Hey Bulldog"
Note that according to the chapter title, our new friend doesn't need to be saved or rescued. No action words at all. The Lion just is, like Darkseid.
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Note also, if you please, and there's more room in your note area, that at this point the Lion isn't an unreasonably fearful creature. He's scared of things that truly can hurt him, like humans and elephants and scruffy-looking strangers walking down the road in a dank bit of forest. But, see, the thing is, he's a Lion. Society expects him to be King Cat of Claw Mountain. Fucking society.
All of Dorothy's new companions suffer from the same ailment: ODP. Other Damn People. Or rather, they internalize criticisms from folks who never metaphor they couldn't literalize. Eventually this will be a source of ironic Baumian humor, but right now it's agonizing Baumian tragedy:
If there are not fatty neurons in your head, says society, you don't have brains. Therefore, the things you're thinking cannot be intelligent thoughts, no matter what the content.
If there is not a muscular blood pump in your chest, says society, you have no heart. Therefore, you cannot love or care, no matter that you cry yourself into paralysis when you accidentally harm a bug.
Likewise, it doesn't matter that you face down all your foes - if you acknowledge that you'd rather not, it means you have fear. And to have fear is to be a coward. And boy this book is about proving to children that people who think these sorts of things are D-U-M-M, dumb.
Good on ye, book.
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Extrapolating - just because Dorothy isn't in Kansas, doesn't mean she's not home.
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Toto is the most important character so far. More on this later.