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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
by Gregory Maguire
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Volume 1, Chapter 4 Summary How It All Goes Down
Maladies and Remedies Melena and Frex are having a really hard time mustering up any enthusiasm for their baby. They are both depressed and horrified by her "deformity." Melena's old Nanny arrives to help them out, and she isn't thrilled with how selfish and cruel they are acting toward their baby. We learn that they named her Elphaba, after Saint Aelphaba of the Waterfall (oh, the irony). Nanny goes to meet Elphaba and notices that she baby is pretty normal, except for being green. The baby creeps Nanny out, though, since she seems weirdly intelligent and aware: "she had an unreasonable fear of being overheard by this infant, and, worse, of being understood" (1.4.51) Frex insists that his green baby is the Unnamed God's way of punishing him for failing as a minister. Or else the Unnamed God is punishing Melena. Frex then goes off to prepare for an exorcism to "cure" Elphaba. Melena and Nanny settle down to talk, and Nanny speculates that Melena had an affair. Melena denies it, though not for lack of wishing, since Frex is rather dull. Nanny learns that Melena has been doing some recreational drugs and a lot of drinking, and the women decide that she may have been raped by someone with a green-skin-causing disease. Melena does recall drinking some weird tonic from a green bottle. It was sold to her by a random traveling salesman, and she had bizarre dreams of an "Other World" after drinking it. Frex's exorcism doesn't work, and Nanny and Frex violently argue about religion. Nanny then leaves, uncertain as to what Elphaba is exactly: Perhaps, thought Nanny, little green Elphaba chose her own sex, and her own color, and to hell with her parents. (1.4.109)
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