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Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002 17:46:24 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) FLF: the four and who/what they are

Catharine Margaret Garth, aka Candy, is the massive (250+ pound) pale
prostitute who wears white (a virginal color) which is sometimes (e.g., as
she is singing at the bar in the Consort hotel) mistaken for blue (blue and
white being the colors of Mary, mother of Jesus, iirc).  To escape from
Belmont, the mental hospital, she has to put on the uniform of a black
nurse (note the contrast); after which, since people assume she is a nurse,
she begins to act like one, and becomes a healer.

The witch in black (opposite to Candy's white), known as Madame Serpentina
and Marie, uses her own strip-show seduction to manipulate Ozzie Barnes
early on in the novel, but despite all that she seems to be a virgin (the
gypsy Pete says that King would kill her if she had a non-gypsy boyfriend,
if I read the passage right, and this seems like a real threat rather than
an exagerration).  She is also dark skinned, as the black nurse points out.

Osgood Myles Barnes.  (Why do three of the four have hidden names beginning
with "M"?  I heard that question 16 years ago and now I ask it myself.
Does it have to do with the fact that "M" is at the middle of the
alphabet?)  He talks about being Popeye, but it isn't until after Phil
Reeder, the crazy drunken sailor changes clothes with him at Belmont (and
loses the glass eye) that he really becomes Popeye, complete with towering
Olive Oyl (Robin Valor), Sweet Pea (Little Ozzie), and Bluto (Phil Reeder).
In addition to this, he is the magician Oz and a satyr.

James Stubb.  Ozzie says his original name, "Stubbe," means "room."  Which
does not ring any bells for me, unless it points to "Free as the
House/Country of Oz" thread.

Three of the characters have something about their eyes.  Three of the
characters have Freudian fixations which are psychological explanations of
their vices/character imbalances (Candy's gluttony; Ozzy's lust; Stubb's
inability to feel).

        EYES            FIXATION   OZ CHARACTER
Candy   na              Oral       Dorothy?
Witch   contact lenses  na         Ozma?
Ozzy    glass eye       Genital    Wizard Oz
Stubb   glasses         Anal       Tin Woodman?

I wonder if Candy is "normal girl of Earth" Dorothy to the Witch's Ozma
"sorcerer-princess of Oz"?  I make the tentative link between Stubb and Tin
Woodman mainly because I think Stubb's "hard boiled" persona shows his
inability to feel (the Tin man's problem) as well as the slighter details:
Stubb vaguely suggests to me something cut (like the stump of a felled
tree); Stubb is the one who retrieves the axe after the accident in front
of Free's house.

=City of Oz under seige=
To fend off the demolition, each of the four does what he/she can.  The
witch summons up a chthonic entity that stops the police from going around
the house to the back door (unless this is done by Free himself?), and so
confuses them that they break into the neighbor's house (Mrs. Baker's).
Candy throws water, which first chases the cops away and then freezes on
the porch, turning it into a slippery trap; later she slicks herself up
with baby oil to inhibit their attempts to remove her from the house. Stubb
tries calling all the politicians he knows, and this brings the tv news.
Barnes is the one who calls in all the business men who mob Sergeant
Proudy, including: Mick Malloy (ex-cop, life insurance salesman); Steve
Marshal (life insurance); Nate Glasser with P, E, G & D (investment
counselors); and Sim Sheppard (Florida real estate).

Nathanial Glasser is the one who wears blue-tinted spectacles (naturally).
This seems to be a clear pointer to the Emerald City of Oz, where everyone
wears  green spectacles.  More specifically, it suggests the first man who
is seen wearing these curious glasses: the Guardian of the Gates of Oz.
And Nate Glasser is, in fact, a guardian of the portal of Free's house
(pointing to "Free as the House/City of Oz").

In the first Oz book, the Army of Oz is a single soldier (wearing green
spectacles).  In the second book, iirc, Oz is overrun by an invading army,
a coalition of militants from each of the four member-states of Oz, and
after the Ozma restoration a more modern army of many generals and one
private is established in Oz.

The fact that of the 100 or so businessmen there are four named suggests
comparison to the coalition army, and the fact that the Florida real estate
salesman has to wear beachcomber attire in winter shows that he represents
"the South," much as the coalition army is made up of members from North,
South, East, and West, with the differences marked by a bit of color in
their uniforms.

The fire axe which is used against the door of the house and later beans
Sergeant Proudy in the head, while it looks to be a normal axe, in the
landscape of Oz it can only belong to one figure: Nick Chopper, the Tin
Woodman.  (Not that Officer Williams, who was using the axe, is to be
associated with the Oz hero: as noted above, I begin to wonder if Jim Stubb
is a version of Nick Chopper.)

So in FLF, the Oz elements emerge in such a way as to reinforce the notion
that Free's house is the land of Oz, or at least the Emerald City: only
this time the beseigers (cops and wrecking crew) are set apon by a
coalition army from four points of the compass (whereas in the second Oz
book the coalition army is laying seige to the city).

Again, I'm not an expert on Oz or Freud, so I stand by ready for
corrections on matters relating to either one or anything else.



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