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The Tin Woodman
Oz character
The Tin Woodman as illustrated by William Wallace Denslow (1900)
First appearanceThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Created byL. Frank Baum
Portrayed byPierre Couderc (His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz)
Oliver Hardy (The Wizard of Oz)
Jack Haley (The Wizard of Oz)
Nipsey Russell (The Wiz)
Deep Roy (Return to Oz)
Ne-Yo ('. GuckHowell]] (Emerald City)
Alex Désert (Once Upon a Time)
Voiced byLarry D. Mann (Return to Oz)
Kelsey Grammer (Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return)
J.P. Karliak (Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz)
In-universe information
AliasNick Chopper, The Tin Man, Rusty Tin Man
NicknameThe Tin Woodman
SpeciesFormer human (in the novels, not in the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz)
GenderMale
TitleEmperor
OccupationRuler of the Winkies
RelativesChopfyt (made with some of his human parts)
NationalityMunchkinland

Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman, also known as the Tin Man or—mistakenly—the "Tin Woodsman," is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum. Baum's Tin Woodman first appeared in his classic 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and reappeared in many other subsequent Oz books in the series. In late 19th-century America, men made out of various tin pieces were used in advertising and political cartoons. Baum, who was editing a magazine on decorating shop windows when he wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was reportedly inspired to invent the Tin Woodman by a figure he had built out of metal parts for a shop display.

Character

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale befriends the Tin Woodman after they find him rusted in the forest, as he was caught in rain, and use his oil can to release him. He follows her to the Emerald City to get a heart from The Wizard. They are joined on their adventure by the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. The Wizard sends Dorothy and her friends to the Winkie Country to kill the Wicked Witch of the West. The Tin Woodman's axe proves useful in this journey, both for chopping wood to create a bridge or raft as needed, and for chopping the heads off animals that threaten the party. When the Winged monkeys are sent by the Witch of the West against the group, they throw the Tin Woodman from a great height, damaging him badly. However Winkie Tinsmiths are able to repair him after the death of the Witch.

His desire for a heart notably contrasts with the Scarecrow's desire for brains, reflecting a common debate between the relative importance of the mind and the emotions. This occasions philosophical debate between the two friends as to why their own choices are superior; neither convinces the other, and Dorothy, listening, is unable to decide which one is right. Symbolically, because they remain with Dorothy throughout her quest, she is provided with both and does not need to select.[1] The Tin Woodman states unequivocally that he has neither heart nor brain, but cares nothing for the loss of his brain. Towards the end of the novel, though, Glinda praises his brain as not quite that of the Scarecrow's.

The Wizard turns out to be a "humbug" and can only provide a placebo heart made of silk and filled with sawdust. However, this is enough to please the Tin Woodman, who, with or without a heart, was all along the most tender and emotional of Dorothy's companions (just as the Scarecrow was the wisest and the Cowardly Lion the bravest). When he accidentally crushes an insect, he is grief-stricken and, ironically, claims that he must be careful about such things, while those with hearts do not need such care. This tenderness remains with him throughout the series, as in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, where he refuses to let a butterfly be maimed for the casting of a spell.[2]

When Dorothy returns home to her farm in Kansas, the Tin Woodman returns to the Winkie Country to rule as emperor. Later, he has his subjects construct a palace made entirely of tin — from the architecture all the way down to the flowers in the garden.

Baum emphasized that the Tin Woodman remains alive, in contrast to the windup mechanical man Tik-Tok Dorothy meets in a later book. Nick Chopper was not turned into a machine, but rather had his flesh body replaced by a metal one. Far from missing his original existence, the Tin Woodman is proud (perhaps too proud) of his untiring tin body.

A recurring problem for the Tin Woodman in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and afterward was his tendency to rust when exposed to rain, tears, or other moisture. For this reason, in The Marvelous Land of Oz the character has himself nickel-plated before helping his friend the Scarecrow fight to regain his throne in the Emerald City. Even so, the Tin Woodman continues to worry about rusting throughout the Oz series.

This is inaccurate, in that tin does not rust; only iron does. This may reflect the usage where an object made of iron or steel but coated with tin (in order to prevent rusting) is called a "Tin" object, as a "tin bath", a "tin toy", or a "tin can"; thus, the Tin Woodman might be interpreted (in English, at least) as being made of steel with a tin veneer. One passage in The Road to Oz, by Baum himself, wherein the Woodman attends Ozma's birthday party accompanied by a Winkie band playing a song called "There's No Plate Like Tin," strongly implies that this is the case. Another explanation may be that the Woodman is chiefly made of tin, with iron joints; in some of the illustrations, his joints are a different color from the rest of his body.[3] In Alexander Volkov's Russian adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Volkov avoided this problem by the translation of "The Tin Woodman" as the "Iron Woodchopper".

The Tin Woodman appeared in most of the Oz books that followed. He is a major character in the comic page Baum wrote with Walt McDougall in 1904-05, Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz. In Ozma of Oz, he commands Princess Ozma's army, and is briefly turned into a tin whistle. In Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, he serves as defense counsel in the trial of Eureka. He affects the plot of a book most notably in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, in which he forbids the young hero from collecting the wing of a butterfly needed for a magical potion because his heart requires him to protect insects from cruelty. Baum also wrote a short book titled The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, part of the Little Wizard Stories of Oz series for younger readers.

In The Tin Woodman of Oz, Nick Chopper finally sets out to find his lost love, Nimmie Amee, but discovers that she has already married Chopfyt, a man constructed partly out of his own dismembered and discarded limbs. For the Tin Woodman, this encounter with his former fiancée is almost as jarring as his experiences being transformed into a tin owl, meeting another tin man, Captain Fyter, and conversing with his ill-tempered original head.

Baum's successors in writing the series tended to use the Tin Woodman as a minor character, still ruling the Winkie Country but not governing the stories' outcome. Two exceptions to this pattern are Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, by Ruth Plumly Thompson, and Lucky Bucky in Oz, by John R. Neill. The biggest exception is in Rachel Cosgrove's The Hidden Valley of Oz, in which the Tin Woodman leads the forces in the defeat of Terp the Terrible and cuts down the Magic Muffin Tree that gives Terp his great size.

The fact that Nick includes the natural deaths of his parents in the story of how he came to be made of tin has been a major element of debate. In his eponymous novel, he proclaims that no one in Oz ever died as far back as Lurline's enchantment of the country, which occurred long before the arrival of any outsiders such as the Wizard. (Although the living creatures of Oz do not die of age or disease, they may die of accidents or be killed by others.)

The Tin Man in later fiction

In the 1998 novel The Tin Man, by Dale Brown, the eponymous protagonist is a power-armored vigilante whom the media and police have dubbed The Tin Man for his physical resemblance to the Wizard of Oz character.

The Tin Woodman is a minor character in author Gregory Maguire's 1995 revisionist novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, its 2003 Broadway musical adaptation and Maguire's 2005 sequel Son of a Witch. In the book, Nessarose – the Wicked Witch of the East – is seen enchanting the axe to swing around and chop off Nick Chopper's limbs. She does this for a peasant woman who wishes to stop her servant, probably Nimmie Amee, from marrying Nick Chopper. This seems to be close to the Tin Man's origin in the original books, but from the Witch's perspective.

In the musical adaptation of Wicked the Tin Man is revealed to be Boq, a Munchkin whom Nessarose, the Wicked Witch of the East, fell in love with when they were at school together. When she discovered his heart belonged to Glinda, she botched a spell that was meant to make him fall in love with her by taking his heart, but instead shrunk his heart to nothing by taking it away without 'giving' it to Nessa. To save his life, Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, was forced to turn him into tin. Not understanding her reasons, he pursues Elphaba with a single-minded vengeance for his current form. The Tin Man's humble origin in the novel conflicts with his having been the aristocratic Boq.

In Oz Squad, Nick was shown in a sexual relationship with "Rebecca Eastwitch" in order to get closer to Nimmie Amee and attempt to elope with her.

A darker twist to the beloved woodman is made by author James A. Owen in The Shadow Dragons, the fourth installment of his series The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, when his identity is revealed to be Roger Bacon.

The Tin Woodman appears in the 2011 TV series Once Upon a Time episode "Where Bluebirds Fly" portrayed by Austin Obiajunwa (as a teenager) and by Alex Désert (as an adult).[4] In this version he goes by the name Stanum (derived from the Latin word "stannum", which means "tin").

Since youth, Stanum has been a woodcutter and one day when he first met Zelena, the daughter of another woodsman, he finds out that Zelena has magic and befriends her, regardless of whatever the children say about Zelena, who they see as a freak. Many years later, Stanum, now a man, is punished by the Wicked Witch of the North for chopping down a tree in her domain, and his body slowly begins to transform into tin. To prevent himself from completely becoming tin, Stanum seeks out help from Zelena (now the Wicked Witch of the West) at the Emerald City of Oz. Zelena agrees to help him seek out the Crimson Heart, which can save him. During their quest, Stanum tells Zelena that she does not have to be lonely but she is doing her best to deny his advice. Suddenly, a lion comes of nowhere to attack Stanum, and Zelena uses her magic to make the lion go away (at this point the lion has become as Zelena would put it, cowardly). When they finally arrived to the location of the Crimson Heart, the two learned that the only way to make it work is through the absorption of another person's magic. Unfortunately Zelena's actions and selfish greed for magic causes her to betray Stanum, whom she suspect was aligned with Dorothy by keeping the Crimson Heart for herself, leaving Stanum to transform into the Tin Man permanently. Some time later, when Robin Hood arrives in Oz in the episode "Heart of Gold", the Tin Man is seen on the side of the Yellow Brick Road, torn apart.

Depictions on stage and screen

Poster for 1902 stage extravaganza
Poster for 1902 stage extravaganza

Modern works

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Sources of the Tin Man image

1890 cartoon portraying President Benjamin Harrison as a knight in tin armor
1890 cartoon portraying President Benjamin Harrison as a knight in tin armor

Economics and history professors have published scholarly studies that indicate the images and characters used by Baum and Denslow closely resembled political images that were well known in the 1890s.[14] They state that Baum and Denslow did not simply invent the Lion, Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, Yellow Brick Road, Silver Slippers, cyclone, monkeys, Emerald City, little people, Uncle Henry, passenger balloons, witches and the wizard. These were all common themes in the editorial cartoons of the previous decade. The notion of a "Tin Man" has deep roots in European and American history, according to Green (2006), and often appeared in cartoons of the 1880s and 1890s.[15] Baum and Denslow, like most writers and illustrators, used the materials at hand that they knew best. They built a story around them, added Dorothy, and added a series of lessons to the effect that everyone possesses the resources they need (such as brains, a heart and courage) if only they had self-confidence. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a children’s book, of course, but as Baum warned in the preface, it was a "modernized" fairy tale as well.

The Tin Man—the human turned into a machine—was a common feature in political cartoons and in advertisements in the 1890s. Indeed, he had been part of European folk art for 300 years. In political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Tin Woodman is supposedly described as a worker, dehumanized by industrialization. The Tin Woodman little by little lost his natural body and had it replaced by metal; so he has lost his heart and cannot move without the help of farmers (represented by the Scarecrow); in reality he has a strong sense of cooperation and love, which needs only an infusion of self-confidence to be awakened. In the 1890s many argued that to secure a political revolution a coalition of Farmers and Workers was needed.[16]

The 1890 editorial cartoon to the right shows President Benjamin Harrison wearing improvised tin armor because he wanted a tariff on tin. Such images support the argument that the figure of a "tin man" was in use as political allegory in the 1890s. The man on the right is politician James G. Blaine.

The oil needed by the Tin Woodman had a political dimension at the time because Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company stood accused of being a monopoly (and in fact was later found guilty by the Supreme Court). In the 1902 stage adaptation, which is full of topical references that do not appear either in the novel or in any of the film adaptations (unless they are satirical), the Tin Woodman wonders what he would do if he ran out of oil. "You wouldn't be as badly off as John D. Rockefeller," the Scarecrow responds, "He'd lose six thousand dollars a minute if that happened."[17]

References

  1. ^ L. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, The Annotated Wizard of Oz, p 141, ISBN 0-517-50086-8
  2. ^ L. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, The Annotated Wizard of Oz, p 152, ISBN 0-517-50086-8
  3. ^ L. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, The Annotated Wizard of Oz, p 38, ISBN 0-517-50086-8
  4. ^ "(#618) "Where Bluebirds Fly"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  5. ^ "Wizard of Oz and Buddy Ebsen". snopes.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  6. ^ MythBusters (2005 season)#Episode SP7 – "Hollywood on Trial"
  7. ^ "Oz lion costume goes under hammer". BBC News. December 1, 2006. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  8. ^ "The Witness". The Witness. 2011-12-22. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  9. ^ Vancouver Film School (2007-08-31). "After Oz - Vancouver Film School (VFS)". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  10. ^ "whitestonemotionpictures.com". whitestonemotionpictures.com. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  11. ^ Allport, Lee (8 March 2013). "Oz the Great and Powerful: A Prequel at Its Best". Retrieved 10 March 2013. There are other interesting "that explains it" moments as well. We get up close and personal with The Cowardly Lion and find out what spooked him into being afraid of his own shadow. We get to know the Tin Man's father and the creators of the Scarecrow and learn more about Munchkinland.
  12. ^ "Digital Theatre+ Partners with BroadwayHD to be Their Exclusive Education Partner". Broadway World. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
  13. ^ Zoe Beery, "The Tin Man of Oz Gets a Refit in 'The Woodsman'", The Village Voice, May 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Ranjit S. Dighe, ed. The Historian's Wizard of Oz: Reading L. Frank Baum's Classic as a Political and Monetary Allegory (2002)
  15. ^ Archie Green, Tin Men (2006)
  16. ^ Gretchen Ritter, "Silver slippers and a golden cap: L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and historical memory in American politics" Journal of American Studies (August 1997) vol. 31, no. 2, 171-203.
  17. ^ Swartz, Oz p 34