Study Guide

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Volume 1, Chapter 5

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Volume 1, Chapter 5

The Quadling Glassblower

  • We jump forward in time; Elphaba is now a toddler.
  • Melena is home all alone with her daughter, and Frex is off being a hermit in the woods and having religious experiences.
  • Melena has really fallen apart; she spends most of her days drinking, doing drugs, and wandering around half-naked.
  • She talks to Elphaba like she would to an adult, so Elphaba gets to hear all about what a jerk her father is. Melena also jokes about drowning Elphaba. "But Elphaba would never drown, never, because she would not go near the lake" (1.5.8). Interesting foreshadowing there.
  • Melena then feels guilty for being a bad mother and for not liking her own child, so she tries to be friendlier to Elphaba.
  • Elphaba doesn't really react either way and Melena thinks her child is "more grasshopper than girl." (1.5.12)
  • Suddenly a super handsome man approaches – a dream come true for Melena.
  • He's a foreigner, from a place called Quadling Country, and his name is Turtle Heart.
  • Turtle Heart speaks in very broken and awkward sentences. He is lost and Melena invites him in for a meal.
  • We learn that most Munchkinlanders are prejudiced against Quadlings.
  • Turtle Heart is a glassblower and he makes Melena a mirror to thank her for her hospitality.
  • He also gets along very well with Elphaba and doesn't seem to find her odd.
  • Elphaba is fascinated by the mirror, and both she and Turtle Heart seem to be able to see things in it. Turtle Heart sees that Frex is coming home and is bringing Nanny with him.
  • Melena and Turtle Heart then go off to have sex before Frex arrives.
  • Melena thinks that Turtle Heart helps her feel less empty and alone.
  • Frex arrives home and is welcoming to Turtle Heart.
  • Elphaba remains fascinated by the mirror and stares into it constantly.

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