Post by ralph on Apr 22, 2019 10:05:49 GMT -5
The Poem and Forrest
The poem contains multiple allusions to the Wizard of Oz.
The most obvious is “marvel gaze.” This brings to mind Professor Marvel gazing into his fake crystal ball.
As I wrote earlier, Terry is a homophone of tarry, and Terry was the real name of the dog that played Toto.
R BRAVE IN THE WOO anagrams to OVER THE RAINBOW, and of course WOO corresponds to the Wizard Of Oz. This links up nicely with the rainbow described in the preceding clue.
Toto divided in half yields To to, which is a homophone for 2 2. Others have posted about the many appearances of the number 22 in Forrest’s various posts (e.g 22 turquoise beads in the bracelet) and then, of course, there is To Far to Walk.
Finally, with respect to Forrest himself, one of the earlier articles about TTOTC that appeared in Newsweek mentioned that, in reference to some of the more unflattering descriptions of his business ethics, he was sometimes referred to as the Wizard of Oz.
In 2003, Douglas Preston published a thriller called The Codex. The story mirrors The Wizard of Oz with a parallel narrative structure and contains multiple direct references to the story. Three hapless brothers, (the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow), each with his own brand of personal deficiencies, embark on a dangerous journey together. They are in search of their terminally ill father (the Wizard of Oz), who has notified them that he has chosen to have himself buried along with all of his material possessions, valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. They are accompanied by a highly capable woman named Sally (Dorothy) as well as by a cute little animal, in this case a monkey (Toto). Their goal is to reach the White City (the Emerald City). In the Acknowledgments, Preston warmly thanked Forrest for providing the inspiration for the main character in the story, and Scrapbook 22 featured Preston.
In short, the Wizard of Oz theme, the Poem and Forrest Fenn are tightly linked, almost like a woven braid, and have been for some time.
The role of the theme in the Poem is not exactly jumping out at us; it seems to have no direct bearing on deciphering any of the nine clues. On the other hand, it may very well be telling us something about the true nature of TTOTC.
Think for a moment about Professor Marvel and his alter ego, the Wizard of Oz. Both possess two contradictory character traits: they are flim-flam men who may inadvertently expose others to grave danger, but at the end of the day they are kind-hearted souls who mean no harm. Indeed, they try, one way or another, to bring out the best in people. As the Wizard says after being exposed by Toto: “Oh no, my dear. I’m …I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad Wizard.”
At the end of the story, the so-called Wizard does not provide the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly lion with anything like what he had originally promised, but offers some significantly more modest substitutes. Something analogous happens at the end of The Codex; the three sons are each allowed to choose a single special item from their father’s accumulated wealth.
Combine this line of thinking with Forrest’s dedication of the book to “those who love the thrill of the chase” as well as with this quote he referenced at one point: “They never knew that it was the chase they sought and not the quarry.”
It seems to me that Forrest has repeatedly, and forcefully, hinted that you should not necessarily expect to find the chest itself once you get to the end of the hunt. Instead, it was the journey that was primary, and what awaits you may be, for example, some kind of token that permits you to take a trip with Forrest to his vault, take a look in the chest, and perhaps pick out a few special items.
In short, it may be that the allusions to the Wizard of Oz in the poem were designed to be a hidden supplement to the nine clues that bring you to the treasure, kind of a meta-clue. Recall that the letter X is the only letter of the alphabet missing from the poem and that X is the Roman numeral for ten. If so, this single letter symbolizing the last hidden clue would be Forrest’s final piece of code: X.
I have nothing but admiration for Forest Fenn. I think that he was completely sincere when he said that his main goal was to get people off their couches and out to see the beauty of the Rockies.
I am also thoroughly convinced that he did everything he could to keep searchers safe.
He clearly did not do this for money.
Forrest is clearly proud of, and attached to, his many belongings and I find it hard to believe that he would have hidden such a significant number of them in the wild. If no one ever found the chest, they would be lost forever, and if someone did, unless they were independently wealthy, they would probably wind up auctioning off the items, likely piecemeal, to convert some or all of the treasure to cash. I find the image of the latter pretty distasteful, and I would imagine that Forrest would as well.
I think that he expected the hunt to last no more than a few years, particularly in the face of the regular hints that he worked so hard to provide. I am therefore not bothered in the least by the fact that a terry cloth might not last 100 years outdoors. In certainly can last for quite a few, and could easily be checked on and replaced from time to time if needed.
I think that Forrest wishes he could take back Scrapbook 62.
If I am correct about how the hunt was designed to end, I personally have no problem with it. I’m sure that whoever has gotten/gets to the very end will have been/be amply rewarded one way or another.
That should do it.