Megan has tutored extensively and has a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Fiction.
You have probably seen the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, but you might be less familiar with the children's book on which the film is based. American author L. Frank Baum wrote the classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900. The book was very popular and spawned a Broadway musical, the 1939 movie, and thirteen sequels. By the time the novel entered the public domain, over five million copies were sold.
Baum's story follows a little girl and her dog on an epic adventure of supernatural proportions.
- Dorothy is the main character of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. She is an orphan and lives with her aunt and uncle on their farm in Kansas, along with her dog, Toto.
- Toto is Dorothy's dog and her constant companion. When he runs away right before the hot air balloon is supposed to take off from Emerald City, Toto costs Dorothy her chance to go home.
There are several witches in the story, all women who are either firmly good or firmly bad in character.
- The Wicked Witch of the East is the former ruler of the Munchkins. After Dorothy's house lands on her, the Wicked Witch of the East dies.
- The Good Witch of the North welcomes and gives Dorothy the magical silver shoes after she arrives in Munchkin Country. She is old and not very powerful, but she gives Dorothy a protective kiss on the forehead before Dorothy heads to the Emerald City.
- The Wicked Witch of the West is an evil, conniving witch, and the Wizard of Oz orders Dorothy and her friends to kill her if they want his help. He makes this request because he does not believe anyone will actually be able to accomplish the task due to the Wicked Witch of the West's extreme power.
- Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, is a benevolent soul, and after Dorothy misses her chance to go back to Kansas with the Wizard, Dorothy asks Glinda for help. Glinda is very nice. She helps Dorothy and also frees the Winged Monkeys from their enchantment.
Dorothy makes friends while she is in Oz, and they follow her on her journey. Every character has his own unique personality and quirks.
- The Scarecrow wishes he was smarter. The Wizard gives him bran to put into his head, which he calls 'bran-new brains.'
- The Tin Woodman wants a heart. To fix this, the Wizard gives the Tin Woodman a stuffed silk pouch resembling a heart.
- The Cowardly Lion desires courage. In the end of the novel, the Wizard gives him a potion of 'courage.'
There are other characters in Oz who, while not as central to Dorothy's experience as the three friends listed above, all have great relevancy to the plot.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz rules the Emerald City until he goes back to the United States. He is originally from Nebraska. He does not have any real magical powers but uses technology to manipulate how people see him.
- The Munchkins are a race of little people who are very grateful to Dorothy after she kills their cruel ruler, the Wicked Witch of the East.
- The Winkies are also very grateful to Dorothy and her friends after they kill the Wicked Witch of the West, who was enslaving them.
- The Winged Monkeys were put under an enchantment when they played a trick on the fiancé of a witch. The witch wanted to kill them, but she decided to just force them to do the bidding of the owner of the magical Golden Cap. They have been enchanted for generations. Glinda frees them after Dorothy gives her the Golden Cap.
The novel, like the movie, follows the story of Dorothy, a young girl who lives with her aunt, uncle, and dog, Toto, on a farm in Kansas. One day a cyclone sweeps up the farmhouse. Dorothy and Toto are caught inside the house, but they survive the storm. When the house is set down again, Dorothy and Toto find themselves in Munchkin Country, located in Oz. The house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her.
The Munchkins are delighted to be freed from their evil ruler. The Good Witch of the North gifts Dorothy the Wicked Witch of the East's silver shoes. While the Munchkins are very hospitable, Dorothy wants to return home. In order to do so, the Good Witch of the North tells her that she has to go to Emerald City and ask the Wizard of Oz for help.
As Dorothy follows the yellow brick road, she meets a handful of people all suffering from lack of confidence: a Scarecrow, a Tin Woodman, and a Cowardly Lion. The Scarecrow wants a brain so he will be smarter, the Tin Woodman wants a heart so he will be more empathetic, and the Cowardly Lion wants courage so he will be more brave. The four of them continue to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard to solve their problems, but the path is not without obstacles. They have to go through a forest filled with Kalidahs (bear-tigers), a field of poppies that cause Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion to fall asleep, and a river.
Eventually they arrive at the Emerald City, where the Wizard of Oz appears differently to each of them. To Dorothy, the Wizard appears to be a giant floating head, which is how he is portrayed in the film. But the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion see the Wizard as a beautiful woman, a beast, and a ball of fire. Before the Wizard will help any of them, he insists that they kill the Wicked Witch of the West.
Dorothy and her friends travel to Winkie Country, which the Wicked Witch of the West rules. On the way, the Wicked Witch tries to kill them. She sends wolves, crows, bees, and Winkie soldiers, but when all these fail, she turns to the Winged Monkeys to do her bidding. The Winged Monkeys were enchanted a long time ago by a sorceress they offended. Now they have to grant anyone who wears the enchanted Golden Cap three wishes. Unfortunately for Dorothy and her friends, the Wicked Witch possesses the Golden Cap. The Winged Monkeys, under the Wicked Witch's control, capture Dorothy, Toto, and the Cowardly Lion, and they disassemble both the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow.
The Wicked Witch makes Dorothy do chores. She wants the silver shoes that the Good Witch of the North gave Dorothy after she killed the Wicked Witch of the East. Dorothy discovers how to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West when she angrily dumps a bucket of water on the witch, causing her to melt. The Winkies are thrilled to be freed of their evil tyrant. The Winkies, Dorothy, and the Cowardly Lion reassemble the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow. The King of the Winged Monkeys feels bad about what he did to Dorothy and her friends, but explains that he was forced to obey the Wicked Witch because she possessed the Golden Cap. With the Wicked Witch dead, Dorothy inherits the Golden Cap. She uses its power to ask the Winged Monkeys to give her friends and her a lift back to the Emerald City, although the Tin Woodman promises to return to rule the Winkies at their request.
Even though they did what he asked, the Wizard of Oz is reluctant to help Dorothy and her friends. Toto knocks over his equipment, exposing the Wizard as a man from Nebraska who was swept to the Land of Oz in a hot air balloon. Even though the Wizard doesn't have any real magic, he gives the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Lion tokens that represent their desired attributes: brains, a heart, and courage, respectively. Their faith in the Wizard and their own proven ability gives them the confidence they need to be how they want to be.
The Wizard and Dorothy build a new hot air balloon to return to Kansas. They leave the Scarecrow in charge of the Emerald City. Before Dorothy can get into the balloon, Toto runs into the crowd that has gathered to say goodbye. While chasing him, the rope holding the balloon down gives a-way, and the balloon takes off without either Dorothy or Toto. Devastated, Dorothy asks the Winged Monkeys to give her a lift back to Kansas, but they explain that they can't cross the desert land enclosing Oz.
In the end, Dorothy decides to ask Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, how to get home. Her friends go with her, and they encounter many more obstacles, including the Fighting Trees, a clown named Mr. Joker, a giant spider that rules a forest, and the armless Hammer-Heads. Dorothy utilizes the Golden Cap one last time to ask the Winged Monkeys to carry her and her friends over the dangerous Hammer-Heads. When they finally arrive at Glinda's castle, Glinda tells Dorothy that all Dorothy has to do to go home is tap her silver shoes.
Dorothy, having used up her three requests, gives the Golden Cap to Glinda. Glinda orders the Winged Monkeys to take each of Dorothy's friends back to their respective kingdoms, including delivering the Lion to the forest where the giant spider ruled before he defeated it. Then she tells the King of the Winged Monkeys that she will give him the Golden Cap so that no one will ever control them again. After Dorothy says goodbye to her friends, she taps her heels and returns home to Kansas with Toto.
L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is very similar to the 1939 movie of the same name. The main character of the novel, Dorothy, a girl from Kansas, is swept up in a cyclone and deposited in the Land of Oz with her dog, Toto. In order to get back to Kansas, Dorothy and Toto undergo a long journey. They meet many friends and allies, including the the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Munchkins, the Good Witches of the North and South, the Winkies, and even (eventually) the Winged Monkeys, but they also face a scary foe, the Wicked Witch of the West, and many obstacles. In the novel, all of the characters undergo a lot of personal growth. After they defeat the Wicked Witch of the West, reveal the true nature of the Wizard of Oz, and travel to meet with Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, Dorothy and Toto finally accomplish their goal and manage to return home to Kansas by utilizing Dorothy's magic silver shoes.
Summary of Events in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- A young girl named Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are swept away in their house during a tornado and land in Oz, killing the Wicked Witch of the East.
- The Good Witch of the North gives Dorothy the Wicked Witch's silver shoes and tells her to see the Wizard of Oz for help getting home.
- Dorothy, along with the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, travel to the Wizard and ask for his help.
- The Wizard promises his help if they kill the Wicked Witch of the West.
- They're captured by the Wicked Witch, but Dorothy eventually kills her by dumping water on her head.
- The Wizard is revealed to be a fraud.
- The Wizard leaves in a hot air balloon to go back to the United States, a ride Dorothy misses because Toto runs off.
- The Good Witch of the South tells Dorothy to click her silver shoes together to get home.
Upon completion of this lesson, you should have the ability to:
- Discuss the popularity of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- Describe the main characters in the story
- Summarize the story's plot
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