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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

By: L. Frank Baum

One of the greatest American novels and a popular culture sensation, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz depicts the adventures of the young Dorothy Gale, who is swept away from her colorless farm home in Kansas by a cyclone, and winds up in the magical Land of Oz. Trapped in an unknown land, Dorothy must find a way back home and subsequently embarks on an adventure and meets a group of colorful characters along the way. Serving as an inspiration throughout generations, the children’s novel has been represented through various cinema adaptations and musicals. The novel commences with the introduction of Dorothy, a young orphan girl who is taken in and raised by her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em in their dreary farm home in Kansas. One day, however, a treacherous cyclone sweeps across the prairie and catches hold of the house while Dorothy and her beloved pet dog Toto are still inside. Afraid and bewildered, Dorothy and Toto are eventually set down in a mysterious land which they later identify as the Land of Oz. Greeted and commended by the small Munchkins, Dorothy is declared to be a good witch, because her house had accidentally landed on the evil ruler of the Munchkins – the Wicked Witch of the East and consequently resulted in her death. Subsequently, the Good Witch of the North also arrives to greet Dorothy and presents her with a pair of silver shoes believed to contain magical properties. In addition, she instructs Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road to Emerald City and ask the almighty Wizard of Oz to help her get back to Kansas. On her way across the land she is accompanied by the Scarecrow, the rusted Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. Entertaining and intelligently written, Baum has effectively created a modern fairy tale forever embedded in the imagination of both young and old readers. Exploring the prominent and universal theme of “There’s no place like home”, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz does not seize to delight and captivate long after its finish.

Dorothy is a young girl who lives with her Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and dog, Toto, on a farm on the Kansas prairie. One day, she and Toto are caught up in a cyclone that deposits them and the farmhouse into Munchkin Country in the magical Land of Oz. The falling house has killed the Wicked Witch of the East, the evil ruler of the Munchkins. The Good Witch of the North arrives with three grateful Munchkins and gives Dorothy the magical silver shoes that once belonged to the Wicked Witch. The Good Witch tells Dorothy that the only way she can return home is to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and ask the great and powerful Wizard of Oz to help her. As Dorothy embarks on her journey, the Good Witch of the North kisses her on the forehead, giving her magical protection from harm.

 

On her way down the yellow brick road, Dorothy attends a banquet held by a Munchkin named Boq. The next day, she frees a Scarecrow from the pole on which he is hanging, applies oil from a can to the rusted joints of a Tin Woodman, and meets a Cowardly Lion. The Scarecrow wants a brain, the Tin Woodman wants a heart, and the Lion wants courage, so Dorothy encourages them to journey with her and Toto to the Emerald City to ask for help from the Wizard. After several adventures, the travelers arrive at the Emerald City and meet the Guardian of the Gates, who asks them to wear green tinted spectacles to keep their eyes from being blinded by the city's brilliance. Each one is called to see the Wizard. He appears to Dorothy as a giant head, to the Scarecrow as a lovely lady, to the Tin Woodman as a terrible beast, and to the Lion as a ball of fire. He agrees to help them all if they kill the Wicked Witch of the West, who rules over Winkie Country. The Guardian warns them that no one has ever managed to defeat the witch.

 

The Wicked Witch of the West sees the travelers approaching with her one telescopic eye. She sends a pack of wolves to tear them to pieces, but the Tin Woodman kills them with his axe. She sends a flock of wild crows to peck their eyes out, but the Scarecrow kills them by twisting their necks. She summons a swarm of black bees to sting them, but they are killed while trying to sting the Tin Woodman while the Scarecrow's straw hides the others. She sends a dozen of her Winkie slaves to attack them, but the Lion stands firm to repel them. Finally, she uses the power of her Golden Cap to send the Winged Monkeys to capture Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion, unstuff the Scarecrow, and dent the Tin Woodman. Dorothy is forced to become the witch's personal slave, while the witch schemes to steal her silver shoes.

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

English

Published In

1900

Author

L. Frank Baum

United States

Baum's avowed intentions with the Oz books and his other fairy tales was to retell tales such as those which are found in the works of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, make them in an A...

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