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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Summary

A tornado picks up Dorothy Gale's house and carries it all the way from Kansas to the land of
Oz. To the delight of the Munchkins, Dorothy's house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East,
crushing her. As thanks for freeing them from the Wicked Witch, the Munchkins give Dorothy
the witch's prized silver slippers.

The Munchkins advise Dorothy to seek out the Wizard of Oz, who they say has the power to
send her home. On the way to the Emerald City, Dorothy makes three friends: the scarecrow, a
woodman, and the cowardly lion. Each one wants something from the Wizard of Oz, whether it
be a brain, a heart, or some courage.
Dorothy and her friends are captured by the Wicked Witch of the East's evil sister, the Wicked
Witch of the West. The Wicked Witch enslaves Dorothy, forcing her to work as a maid. When
the witch tries to take away the silver shoes, Dorothy throws water on her. The Wicked Witch
melts.
Dorothy later meets Glinda the Good Witch of the South, who tells her that, if she wants to go
home, all she has to do is click her heels three times and make a wish. Dorothy says goodbye
to all her new friends and returns to Kansas with her dog, Toto.

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Summary

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz consists of twenty-four chapters that tell the story of Dorothys arrival in Oz
and her adventures in that magical country. An omniscient narrator tells the story in simple language. It
begins on a Kansas farm where Dorothy, an orphan, lives in a one-room house with her grim,
hardworking uncle and aunt. A tornado appears and Dorothy, her uncle, and aunt run for a cellar under
the house. When Toto, Dorothys dog, jumps out of her arms, Dorothy runs to get the dog, and she and
her pet are carried away by the winds. Dorothy falls asleep as the house whirls through the air.

When she awakens and goes outside her house, she finds she is in a strange and beautiful country
inhabited by small, strangely dressed people known as the Munchkins. Dorothys house has fallen on the
Wicked Witch of the East, ruler of the Munchkins. Dorothy is awarded the Witchs silver shoes, which
have some magical power unknown to the Munchkins or to the Good Witch of the North, who has come
to meet Dorothy. The Good Witch tells Dorothy to go to the Emerald City, ruled by the Wizard of Oz, in
the hope that the Wizard may be able to help the little girl return home.

On her way to the Wizards city, Dorothy acquires three unusual companions: a scarecrow who complains
of having no brains, a woodman made entirely of tin who complains of having no heart, and a lion who
complains of having no courage. Dorothy suggests to each of them that the accompany her to see if the
Wizard can help them.

After a number of adventures, Dorothy, Toto, and the three odd friends reach the Emerald City, where all
of the houses seem to be made of green marble and studded with emeralds. They make their requests of
the wizard, who goes by the name of Oz. The wizard refuses to grant their requests until they kill the
Wicked Witch of the West, who rules the western people known as the Winkies.

The adventurers travel to the west, and the Witch sends wolves, crows, bees, and her frightened Winkie
subjects against them. Dorothy and her friends manage to defeat all of these adversaries, but the Witch
finally uses a magic golden cap to send Winged Monkeys to destroy the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow
and carry Dorothy and the lion to the witch as slaves. After Dorothy becomes a servant in the witchs
castle, the witch manages to grab one of the little girls magic silver shoes. In anger, Dorothy throws
water on the witch and, as it happens, this melts the old woman. The grateful Winkies then find and repair
the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow, and the lion is set free from his prison.

After using the witchs magic golden cap to have the Winged Monkeys fly them back to the Emerald
City, Dorothy and her friends discover that the magnificent wizard is only a former ventriloquist and
circus balloonist who happened to land in Oz. However, after some thought, he is able to meet the
requests of Dorothys companions by giving the Scarecrow brains made of bran and pins, the Tin
Woodman a silk heart stuffed with sawdust, and the lion a drink claimed to give courage. After three
days, the wizard offers to fly Dorothy back to Kansas with him in his old balloon. Unfortunately, Toto
jumps after a kitten at the last moment, Dorothy runs after him, and the wizard and his balloon float away
without her.

Dorothy calls upon the Winged Monkeys, but they are unable to cross the desert that surrounds Oz.
Therefore, Dorothy and her friends leave Oz to travel to the southern country of the Quadlings, where
Glinda the Good Witch of the South rules, in the hope that Glinda can help Dorothy return home. After
still more adventures, they reach Glinda, who tells Dorothy, in exchange for the golden cap, that the silver
shoes will carry her anywhere she wishes to go if she only knocks the heels together three times. Dorothy
does so and is flown back to Kansas, losing the silver shoes over the desert on the way.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Overview

Dorothy Gale, a lonely orphan girl who lives with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em in Kansas, is swept
away from her dull surroundings to the exciting fantasy world of Oz. Dorothy, accompanied by her pet
dog Toto, bravely undertakes a journey of selfdiscovery as she wanders through fantastical settings and
meets bizarre characters who guide her to the Emerald City in her quest to return home. Her travel
companions, the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion, are all seeking solutions to what they
consider their shortcomings. The Scarecrow wishes that he had a brain; the Tin Woodman longs for a
heart; and the Cowardly Lion hopes for bravery. They believe that the great wizard, who rules all of Oz
and lives in the Emerald City, can provide them with their desires. In the process, they learn that such
yearnings are more than objects that can be bartered for but are actually spiritual qualities they already
possess.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Summary

Chapters OneSix
Dorothy lives on a small farm in Kansas with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. When a cyclone hits, Dorothy
and her dog, Toto, are carried away in the farmhouse. They land in a strange place where a good witch
and tiny people called Munchkins greet them. Dorothys house has landed on (and killed) the Wicked
Witch of the East. Dorothy takes the Wicked Witchs charmed silver shoes, and the good witch gives her
a protective kiss on her forehead so she can reach Oz safely. Dorothy hopes that the Wizard of Oz will be
able to send her back to Kansas, so she sets off on the yellow brick road.

Soon, Dorothy and Toto meet the Scarecrow. He desperately wants a brain, so he accompanies them on
their trip. Next, they meet the Tin Woodman, who tells his story of how he was once human and how he
longs to have a heart again. Dorothy tells him that the Wizard of Oz can help, so the Tin Woodman joins
them. As they make their way through a forest, they encounter the Cowardly Lion. Although he initially
tries to frighten them, he admits that he is a coward and wishes he had the courage that the King of the
Beasts should have. He joins the travelers, hoping that the Wizard of Oz can help him, too.
Chapters SevenTwelve
The travelers meet many dangers on the yellow brick road, such as ditches, a river, and terrifying
creatures. While crossing a poppy field, Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion are lulled to sleep by the scent. The
Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman carry Dorothy and Toto, and then call on thousands of field mice to
help them carry the Lion out of the field.

Finally, the travelers arrive at the gates of the Emerald City where they are told that the Wizard of Oz will
see them individually. Each traveler tells his or her wish, but the Wizard says that until the Wicked Witch
of the West is dead, their wishes will not be granted. Disappointed and afraid, the group sets off to find
the Wicked Witch of the West. The Witch has only one eye, but it is as powerful as a telescope so she
sees the intruders in her land. She sends crows, bees, and wolves to destroy them, but each fails. When
she sends the Winged Monkeys, they tear the Scarecrow apart, ruin the Tin Woodmans metal body, and
retrieve the Lion, Dorothy, and Toto for the Witch. She enslaves them and tries to trick Dorothy into
taking off the magical silver shoes. Dorothy becomes angry and throws a bucket of water on the Witch,
who melts away to nothing.

Chapters ThirteenEighteen
Dorothy frees the Lion and the people (the Winkies) enslaved by the Witch. The Winkies help Dorothy
restore the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, and the group heads back to the Emerald City. Before they
leave, however, Dorothy finds a Golden Cap. When she realizes that it enables her to control the Winged
Monkeys, she calls them to take the travelers back to the Emerald City.

Dorothy and her friends again visit the Wizard of Oz. Realizing that the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman,
and the Cowardly Lion already possess the qualities they desire, the Wizard gives them false charms that
merely help them believe that they have these qualities. Dorothy and the others discover that the Wizard
is a fraud; he is a man who has maintained a faade by using trickery. Then the Wizard builds a balloon to
carry Dorothy and himself back home, but Dorothy misses the launch and is left behind. Unsure what to
do next, Dorothy decides to visit Glinda, the Witch of the South.

Chapters NineteenTwenty-Four
On the way to see Glinda, the group encounters fighting trees and a small town made entirely of china.
Passing through a forest, the Lion kills a giant spider that has been terrorizing the animals. Unable to get
by the Hammer-Heads, Dorothy calls the Winged Monkeys, who transport the travelers safely to Glindas
land.

Dorothy gives Glinda the Golden Cap, and Glinda uses it to send the Scarecrow to rule in Oz, the Lion to
be the King of the Beasts in the forest, and the Tin Woodman to rule the Winkies. Glinda explains to
Dorothy that the silver shoes have the power to take the wearer anywhere in only three steps. Dorothy
bids farewell to her friends, and she and Toto return to Kansas. A new farmhouse has been built, and Aunt
Em runs to greet her niece.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Themes

Frank L. Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a fantastical children's story about good and
evil. It pits the sweet, innocent Dorothy Gale against the Wicked Witch of the West, who kidnaps
her and tries to steal her silver slippers. The Wizard of Oz falls somewhere between this
dichotomy, revealing himself to be a bad wizard, if not exactly a bad person. Baum suggests
that everyone has both good and bad in them.
Home is one of the central themes of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Dorothy is displaced by the
tornado, taken from her home of Kansas and dropped into a fantastical world where she's lost
and in peril. Though Dorothy finds friends in Oz, home still represents safety, comfort, and
familiarity, and in the end she decides to go home to Kansas.
Friendship is another important theme in the novel. Dorothy finds friends in the Scarecrow, the
Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, who, like Dorothy, don't realize that they already have
what they're looking for and don't need the Wizard. Together, the friends defeat the Wicked
Witch of the West and complete their journey to Oz, becoming better people in the process.

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Themes and Meanings

Although Baum intended his story as an entertainment for children, it also contains a good deal of social
satire offered with a gently mocking sense of humor. The gap between appearance and reality is a
persistent theme in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and in many of Baums other books. The centerpiece of
the book is the journey to the Emerald City, home of the great Wizard who can grant all wishes. Once the
main characters reach the city, though, they find that it is all an illusion and that the Wizard himself is a
fraud. They themselves are capable of all the real magic.

The strange landscape and the absurd events and creatures are primarily intended for entertainment, but
they also convey a sense of the wondrous and magical parts of life. Readers can see the book, then, as a
good-natured rebellion of imagination against the tyranny of calculating rationality. The similarities that
some may see between this book and intellectual movements such as surrealism owe much to this
rebellion.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Themes

Self-Sufficiency
The predominant theme of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is self-sufficiency. The Scarecrow, Tin
Woodman, and Cowardly Lion all seek external magic to give them qualities they already possess but fail
to recognize. When the travelers come to a wide ditch (chapter seven), the Cowardly Lion volunteers to
try jumping over it. If he can make it, he reasons, he can carry each of his friends across safely.
Discussing the possibility of falling into the ditch, the Cowardly Lion responds, I am terribly afraid of
falling, myself. . . but I suppose there is nothing to do but try it. The Lion does not realize that courage
is acting despite fear, not acting in the absence of fear. In a scene at the end of chapter six, the reader sees
both the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow demonstrating the very qualities they feel they are lacking. The
Tin Woodman accidentally steps on a beetle and begins to weep. When his tears rust his jaw shut, no one
is able to figure out what his gestures for the oil can mean except for the Scarecrow, who immediately
loosens the Tin Woodmans jaws with the oil. This scene shows how emotional the Tin Woodman is and
how quick thinking the Scarecrow is. A more mature reader can then recognize that with the Cowardly
Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman, Baum is using irony to portray the theme of selfsufficiency.

Dorothys situation is somewhat different because she needs a magical object (the silver shoes) to help
her get back home to Kansas. Still, she fails to understand that she has had what she needs all along while
continuing to seek it from others. Another important point about the silver shoes is that Dorothy earned
them by killing the Wicked Witch of the East. While she did so unintentionally, her actions resulted in the
freedom of the Munchkins, which in turn resulted in her being given the magical shoes that will allow her
to get home. She was not given a way home simply because she asked for one; she was given a way home
because she improved the lives of the Munchkins.
Dorothys resolve and decisiveness throughout the book also attest to her self-sufficiency. She is
independent and determined, and these qualities ultimately enable her to get back home. Rather than
resign herself to life in a strange land, she refuses to give up on the idea that there is a way for her to get
home.

Good versus Evil


The struggle between good and evil is evident throughout The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. There are two
good witches and two wicked witches. The wicked witches are unable to protect themselves against
Dorothy, who is so good that she feels remorse at killing them. To make the good/evil dichotomy
perfectly clear to young readers, Baum places the good witches in the north and the south, and the wicked
witches in the east and the west.

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, good always triumphs over evil, and evil respects the power of good. The
Witch of the North gives Dorothy a kiss on the forehead, and this kiss protects her from harm by the
Wicked Witch of the West. When the Winged Monkeys are sent to destroy Dorothy and her friends, one
of them positions himself to attack her but sees the kiss. He tells the others, We dare not harm this little
girl. . . for she is protected by the Power of Good, and that is greater than the Power of Evil.

Baum also demonstrates that there are cases in which a person is not entirely good or evil, as in the
character of the Wizard of Oz. As the Wizard admits to Dorothy, he is not a bad man, just a bad wizard.
Although Dorothy deeply disapproves of his willingness to deceive people, she forgives him because she
realizes that he is not truly evil. Baum teaches young readers that it is not possible to label real people
good or evil because in reality, everybody has a little of both in them.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Characters

Dorothy Gale, who finds herself transported to the land of Oz after a tornado hits her house.
The Wicked Witch of the East, who dies when Dorothy's house lands on her. Dorothy takes the
witch's silver shoes.
The Wicked Witch of the West, who tries to steal the silver shoes from Dorothy. The Wicked
Witch melts when Dorothy throws water on her.
The Cowardly Lion, who asks the Wizard for courage.
The Tin Woodman, who asks the Wizard for a heart.
The Scarecrow, who asks the Wizard for a brain.
Glinda the Good Witch of the South, who tells Dorothy how to get home to Kansas.
The Wizard of Oz, the mysterious ruler of Oz.
Toto, Dorothy's dog.
Aunt Em, Dorothy's aunt.

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The Characters

Baums characters are simple, but also sympathetic. Dorothy, the heroine, is a straightforward little girl
who shows courage and perseverance. Dorothy is a poor orphan, a type of character recurring in
childrens literature. In the drawings by the original illustrator of the book, W. W. Denslow, Dorothy
seems to be very young, perhaps only five or six years of age, although she frequently seems to behave as
a much older child would. Baum also gives little hint to her appearance. Letting readers construct their
own images of the child heroine may have been intentional, because it made Dorothy an Everychild, a
representative of children in general.
Baums great success with his other characters was the creation of individuals who are at once impossible
and entirely believable. The Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion have won the
sympathy of generations of readers. Part of this success may be the result of the depths of personality that
the author was able to convey by giving these fantastic creatures human qualities of self-contradiction.
The Scarecrow complains that he has no brains, but he shows himself to be the most thoughtful of
Dorothys companions, and his quest for intelligence demonstrates that this is what he values. Similarly,
the Tin Woodman places the highest importance on feeling, and shows a continual concern with emotion
as he seeks a heart. The Cowardly Lion is a coward in his own eyes, but he accompanies the others
through dangerous adventures and sometimes protects the group with his fierce roar. These three
characters embody the classical human virtues of intelligence, caring, and courage, but their self-doubts
keep them from being reduced to mere symbols of these qualities.

At the end of the story, all the characters achieve self-realization by accomplishing their goals. Dorothy
does eventually manage to return home, having found that she had actually had the power to do so all
along. The Scarecrow also apparently had his goal, his intelligence, within his grasp all along, since all
the Wizard needs to do is to mix bran and pins and needles in the straw mans head to convince the
Scarecrow of his intellectual powers. The Woodman and the Lion, respectively, require only a silk heart
and a drink to arouse confidence in their capacities for love and bravery.

Characters

Cowardly Lion
The Cowardly Lion is the third and final creature who joins the Oz-bound group. Dorothy, the Scarecrow,
and the Tin Woodman meet him when he jumps out at them as they make their way through a forest. He
knocks over the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, and when he tries to bite Toto, Dorothy slaps him and
calls him a coward. He is ashamed and admits that Dorothy is right. He wants to have the courage that the
King of the Beasts should have. Dorothy agrees to allow him to accompany them, reasoning that he needs
courage and that he could be helpful in frightening away other creatures.

Despite his belief that he lacks courage, the Lion often demonstrates bravery. He fails to understand that
courage is not the absence of fear, but is taking action in the face of fear. Just as in the cases of the
Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, the Wizard soon sees that the Cowardly Lion already possesses the
courage he so desires. He gives the Lion a special potion that is supposedly liquid courage. After drinking
it, the Cowardly Lion feels empowered instantly. After Dorothy leaves for Kansas, he returns to a forest
where he previously killed a giant spider because the animals asked him to return as their leader.

Dorothy
Dorothy is the storys heroine, whose travels to see the Wizard of Oz bring her friendship and adventure.
She lives with her aunt and uncle on a small farm in Kansas. Her best friend is her small dog, Toto. When
a cyclone whips across Kansas, Dorothy and Toto are carried away in the small farmhouse and eventually
are set down in the land of the Munchkins. When Dorothy discovers that her house has landed on (and
killed) the Wicked Witch of the East, she is horrified, despite the gratitude and wonder of the Munchkins.

Dorothy only wants to return home, and she is told by the Witch of the North that she must see the
Wizard of Oz. Dorothy takes the Wicked Witch of the Easts silver shoes, and she and Toto head out on
the yellow brick road. Dorothy is a determined child who is single-minded in her goal to get back home.
She is brave, smart, compassionate, selfless, and encouraging to the other members of the traveling party.
Although Dorothy is honored for killing both of the wicked witches, she never means to hurt anyone.
Dorothy is an inadvertent liberator, who improves the lives of everyone (except the wicked witches) with
whom she comes in contact. She feels badly about killing anyone, even a wicked witch, but she is glad
that doing so will enable her to get home.

Dorothy thinks and speaks for herself. When she and the others discover that the Wizard of Oz is nothing
but a humbug with no real powers, she expresses her anger openly. Later, when Glinda tells her how to
get home, Dorothy is sympathetic to the feelings of her friends who will miss her terribly, but she follows
through on her own desire to return to her aunt and uncle in Kansas. Despite the wonders and magic of
the new land, she is anxious to get back to the gray setting of Kansas because it is her home, which is
most important to her.

Aunt Em
Aunt Em is Dorothys mother figure. Although she was once a vibrant woman, years on the harsh prairie
have taken their toll on her appearance and spirits.

Glinda
Glinda is the Witch of the South. She is a good witch and is youthful and stunningly beautiful. When
Dorothy gives her the Golden Cap that allows its owner to call upon the Winged Monkeys three times,
she uses it to send the Scarecrow back to the Emerald City, the Lion back to the forest, and the Tin
Woodman back to the land of the Winkies (previously ruled by the Wicked Witch of the West). Glinda
gives the Golden Cap to the King of the Winged Monkeys so they will no longer be at the bidding of its
wearer. She tells Dorothy that she has had the power to return to Kansas all along because of the silver
shoes. Glinda explains the secret charm of the shoes, which is that they will take the wearer anywhere she
wants to go in three steps.

Uncle Henry
Dorothys father figure, Uncle Henry is a grim man with a long beard. He is a very hard worker who
never laughs.

Scarecrow
The Scarecrow is the first companion who joins Dorothy on her way to see the Wizard of Oz. He is
mounted on a pole in the middle of a field where crows are not at all afraid of him. The Scarecrow is
humble in appearance, and his single desire is to have a brain. His only fear is fire, and he never needs to
eat or sleep. The Scarecrow is very nurturing toward Dorothy, gladly watching over her and Toto as they
sleep and often finding fruit and nuts for them to eat. On the other hand, he is a bit clumsy and is not
strong like the Lion, so he is not terribly helpful in physical struggles. Because he is not subject to pain,
however, he often volunteers to go ahead of the group to test treacherous landscapes, such as jagged
rocks.

The Scarecrow fails to realize that he does not need to be given a brain because he is already quite
intelligent. He usually comes up with plans that save the travelers, and he is quick to come up with
solutions to problems. The Wizard realizes that the Scarecrow is already intelligent, but to make him
happy, he creates a brain out of bran and pins and needles, which will make him sharp. When he
presents the Scarecrow with the brain, the Scarecrow is delighted and feels smart instantly. When the
Wizard of Oz builds a balloon to carry him back home, he leaves the Scarecrow in charge of the Emerald
City.

Tin Woodman
Dorothy and the Scarecrow discover the Tin Woodman in the woods. He is rusted in position with his axe
in the air and has been stuck this way for more than a year. He explains that he was caught in the rain and
has been waiting for someone to come by and save him. Once Dorothy retrieves his oil can from his
nearby cottage, the Tin Woodman is oiled and able to move freely again.

The Tin Woodman tells his sad story about when he was fully human and planned to marry a Munchkin
girl. She lived with an old woman, however, who relied on the girl to care for her so she had the Wicked
Witch of the East put a curse on the Tin Woodmans axe. The curse caused him to chop up his own body,
little by little. After each accident, he had a local tinsmith craft a new body part out of tin for him until
eventually he was made entirely of tin. He remembers how happy he was to be in love, and so his desire
is to have a heart again.

The Tin Woodman is like the Scarecrow in that he already possesses the quality he hopes to be given by
the Wizard. He believes that he has no heart, yet he is the most compassionate and emotional member of
the group. When he sees the Wizard of Oz, he is fitted with a silk heart that is merely symbolic yet makes
him feel different right away. After Dorothy returns to Kansas, he goes back to the Land of the Winkies,
who have asked him to be their leader.

Toto
Toto is Dorothys faithful canine companion. He is her best friend in Kansas and accompanies her on her
adventures in Oz. He is playful, wary of strangers, and brave in certain situations.

Wicked Witch of the East


The Wicked Witch of the East is killed when Dorothys house lands on her after being hurled through the
air during a cyclone. She has a pair of silver shoes that have a secret charm. Although Dorothy does not
know what the charm is, she takes the shoes.

Wicked Witch of the West


The Wicked Witch of the West is ugly and has only one eye although her one eye is as powerful as a
telescope. When Toto bites her, she does not bleed because she is so evil that her blood has dried up in
her veins. When she is unable to kill the trav- elers as they make their way to her castle, she has the
Scarecrow dismantled and the Tin Woodman seriously dented. Then she enslaves the Lion and Dorothy.
The Lion refuses to submit to the witch, so she decides to starve him, but Dorothy secretly feeds him at
night. The witch makes Dorothy a kitchen servant.

The witch wants the silver shoes that Dorothy wears. She trips Dorothy and is able to get one shoe, but
Dorothy becomes so angry that she throws a bucket of water on the witch. To Dorothys surprise, the
witch melts before her eyes. Dorothy retrieves her shoe, frees the Lion, and keeps the witchs Golden Cap
although she has no idea it allows her to control the Winged Monkeys. The Winkies, who had been
enslaved by the witch, are so grateful that they gladly obey Dorothy when she asks them to put the
Scarecrow back together and hammer the Tin Woodman back into shape.

Witch of the North


The Witch of the North is the good witch who is a friend of the Munchkins. She is an old woman who
believes that Dorothy must also be a witch because her house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East. She
tells Dorothy that to return to Kansas, she will have to see the Wizard of Oz. She insists that Dorothy take
the Wicked Witch of the Easts silver shoes, which possess a secret charm. To protect the girl on her
journey, she gives her a kiss on her forehead, which serves as a sign to others not to harm the girl.

Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz is reported to be great and terrible and able to appear in any form he pleases. For
Dorothys visit, he is a giant head; for the Scarecrows visit, he is a beautiful lady; for the Tin Woodman,
he appears as a frightening beast; and for the Lion, he appears as a ball of fire. He promises each that he
will grant his or her wish once they have all killed the Wicked Witch of the West. After they have done
so, however, they discover that he is not really a wizard at all and cannot grant their wishes with magical
powers. He admits that he is a humbug who should not have deceived the good people of the Emerald
City for so long but says that he means no harm. He tells Dorothy that he is not a bad man, just a bad
wizard.

The Wizard explains that he originally came from Omaha where he was a circus balloonist. One day, his
balloon was caught in a great wind, and he landed in Oz, where his descent from the sky made everyone
believe he was a wizard. He decided to let them believe this, and so he created a persona for himself. He
commanded the people to build the great city and made them believe everything was made of emeralds by
making everyone wear green glasses. With the help of gadgets and illusions, he was able to pretend to be
a great wizard. He feared the witches, however, because he knew they had real powers, which is why he
sent the group to kill the Wicked Witch of the West after Dorothy inadvertently killed the Wicked Witch
of the East.

The Wizard knows that he can grant the wishes of the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Lion with
false charms because they already possess the qualities they want. He comes up with a plan to build
another balloon to take Dorothy and himself home, but when it is time to go, Dorothy misses the launch
by seconds and is left behind. They never hear from the false wizard again.

Themes and Characters

Loss and spiritual renewal are primary themes of this book in which the four major characters withstand
challenges and persevere to learn more about themselves by comprehending the strange world through
which they venture. Like archetypal heroes, the protagonists encounter both helpful and deceitful
characters who either assist them or hinder them, sometimes maliciously. The characters' hopes and
wishes tend to be familiar to readers because they express universal concerns and desires. Some
characters seem absurd, such as a lion being a coward. Such paradoxes ironically make the alternate
world of Oz more believable.

Dorothy Gale exemplifies the themes of home, family, and friendship. She is the first character mentioned
in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Separated from her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry by a cyclone, Dorothy
devotes her energies to finding a way to return home. Young and vibrant, she is intelligent and has
common sense, resourcefully dealing with problems. Optimistically, Dorothy remains determined no
matter how dire her situation might be. She is energetic and is not deterred by the physical aspects of
challenges. Dorothy autonomously solves her own dilemmas and does not wait for anyone, particularly a
male, to rescue her and do her work for her. In addition to saving and helping herself, Dorothy willingly
helps others and is outspoken about her opinions and suggestions. She and the good witches emphasize
the strength and tenacity of female characters. Dorothy kills two witches by herself, ridding Oz of its most
notorious troublemakers.

When Dorothy meets the wizard, she identifies herself as "Small and Meek." She sees the wizard as a
giant, disembodied head and bravely answers his questions about her shoes, protective mark, and goal of
returning to Kansas. Dorothy says the wizard should help her because he is strong and she is weak. She
dismisses the death of the Wicked Witch of the East to a chance occurrence. Dorothy succumbs to tears
when the wizard tells her that he will only use his magic to send her home if she earns it by killing the
Wicked Witch of the West. She tells him that she does not approve of murder. When the Witch of the
West enslaves her, Dorothy is determined to "work meekly" and "as hard as she could" out of gratitude
for surviving.

Aunt Em is the first character described in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. She appears at the beginning and
conclusion of the novel and in Dorothy's thoughts throughout the book. Identified as a farmer's wife, Aunt
Em moved to Kansas from an undisclosed place. She had once appeared young and pretty, but the Kansas
elements "had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gray" and also altered her red lips and
cheeks to shades of gray.

Em, perhaps short for Emily or Emmaline, suppressed her desire for normalcy and adapted to the rigors of
the plains, compromising her civility, sophistication, and empathy. Unsmiling, she is "thin and gaunt."
Her life consists of unfulfilling domestic chores. Initially, Dorothy's happy giggles caused Aunt Em to
"scream and press her hand upon her heart" because Em was unable to comprehend how Dorothy "could
find anything to laugh at." Aunt Em told Dorothy that there are no witches in Kansas and does not seem
receptive to any ideas regarding magic. Perhaps Em's name could be reversed as Me, indicating Em's
need to be reacquainted with and assert the uniqueness of her self. By the time Dorothy reappears in
Kansas, Em stops watering cabbages and embraces her and kisses her face like the witches of the North
and South did in Oz. In many ways, Em represents traits of the witches Dorothy encounters in Oz. She
seems to have been transformed by Dorothy's absence.

The humorless and joyless Uncle Henry is a farmer who works non-stop. Sporting a long gray beard and
"rough boots," Henry looks "stern and solemn" and is usually quiet. He alerts Em, not Dorothy, about the
approaching cyclone and chooses to take care of his livestock instead of his family. Baum does not clarify
whether Em or Henry is Dorothy's blood relative nor what happened to Dorothy's parents. Dorothy seems
closer to Em, whom she worries is mourning her and remarks that this process might be too expensive for
the couple if the crops had poor yields again. When Dorothy returns from Oz, she rushes into Em's arms,
not Henry's.

A devoted companion, Toto protects Dorothy from succumbing to the despair that has engulfed her aunt
and uncle. Described as a "little black dog, with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily
on either side of his funny wee nose," Toto delights in playing and helping Dorothy laugh. She saves him
from being sucked through the trapdoor when the house rises in the cyclone. He assertively guards
Dorothy from people and animals they meet in Oz, boldly rushing toward the Cowardly Lion and biting
the Wicked Witch of the West after she hits Toto. All Toto desires is to be with Dorothy wherever she is
and to comfort her and make her happy. Because Toto is not protected by the Witch of the North's kiss,
the Tin Woodman says that the group must accept the responsibility to watch over what he refers to as the
"meat dog." Baum often distinguishes living beings from non-flesh characters with the descriptive term
"meat." Toto causes Dorothy to become distracted and prevents her from leaving in the balloon with the
wizard.

Dorothy considers the Munchkins the "queerest people she had ever seen." She comments on how old
they are based on their appearances, especially their beards, and her knowledge of Uncle Henry's age. The
Munchkins are almost the same size as Dorothy. Wearing blue clothes and peaked hats decorated with
bells on the brims, the Munchkins personify goodness. Their attentiveness to details is represented by
their "well-polished boots." The Munchkins are hesitant to be near Dorothy because they assume she is
extremely powerful since she killed the Wicked Witch of the East and ended their enslavement.

Residents of the eastern part of Oz, the Munchkins trust the Witch of the North to help them. Glancing at
their fields as she walks along the yellow brick road, Dorothy realizes that the Munchkins are excellent
farmers. The affluent Muhchkin Boq hosts Dorothy at a feast in her honor and enlightens her about Oz
culture. He prophetically warns Dorothy that she "must pass through rough and dangerous places before
you reach the end of your journey."

The good Witch of the North is an elderly woman who walks stiffly and has a wrinkled face and white
hair. She accompanies the Munchkins to greet Dorothy when she lands in Oz and boldly approaches her.
Dressed in white, her gown is "sprinkled" with "little stars that glistened in the sun like diamonds." She
bows to Dorothy out of respect and welcomes her with a "sweet voice." By using the title "Sorceress" to
address Dorothy, the Witch of the North alerts Dorothy that she has become someone more than an
ordinary child.

The Witch of the North expresses the Munchkins' gratitude to Dorothy, using the pronoun "our" to
indicate that she considers herself a close friend to the Munchkins. She gives Dorothy the silver slippers
that the Wicked Witch of the East was wearing when she was killed. When she balances her hat on her
nose, the hat transforms into a slate that bears a message telling Dorothy to go to the City of Emeralds.
The Witch of the North kisses Dorothy on the forehead for protection, leaving a mark that others will
recognize.

The Scarecrow is the first of three traveling companions Dorothy encounters on her journey. From a pole
immobilizing him in a cornfield, he winks at Dorothy then speaks to her to get her attention. Complaining
about his situation, the Scarecrow is grateful when Dorothy frees him from his pole. He tells her that he is
only two days old and was painted by a Munchkin to resemble a Munchkin, wearing a blue hat and
clothing. Crows quickly realized that he was stuffed with straw and posed no threat to them, so they
gobbled the farmer's corn, foreshadowing the Scarecrow's victory over crows ordered by the Wicked
Witch of the West to kill the travelers. As he walks beside Dorothy, the Scarecrow informs her that he is
unable to become tired or hungry like a person and confesses that his most anxietyridden fear is a lit
match.

He confides in Dorothy that his greatest wish is to have brains because a crow had told him that brains
would make the Scarecrow the equal, if not better, of any man and that brains "are the only things worth
having in this world, no matter whether one is a crow or a man." The Scarecrow often seems to speak
nonsense such as saying he thought about his lack of brains. He is nurturing towards Dorothy, gathering
nuts for her and Toto and covering them with leaves while they sleep. He eagerly sacrifices himself for
the others' well-being, instructing them to remove his straw to camouflage themselves from the Witch of
the West's bees. Before he leaves, the wizard chooses the Scarecrow to rule the Emerald City.

The Tin Woodman alerts Dorothy and the Scarecrow to his presence by groaning. Sunlight penetrates the
forest where he had been chopping, and his tin shines brightly. As Dorothy and the Scarecrow oil the Tin
Woodman's rusted joints, he tells them that he had been immobilized in that spot for a year after a
rainstorm. Throughout the novel, he clears the yellow brick road for the group as needed and uses his axe
to solve problems. The Tin Woodman wants a heart because a witch had enchanted his axe which sliced
his heart in two. The son of a woodman who had once visited the Emerald City and warned him of the
dangerous journey, the Tin Woodman had taken care of his widowed mother until she died.

He wanted to marry a Munchkin girl who insisted he build her a house. While he earned money for their
home, the Munchkin maiden lived with an elderly woman who wanted the girl to be her permanent
servant. Giving a cow and two sheep to the Witch of the East, the woman ordered the marriage be
stopped. The witch placed a charm on the woodman's axe which cut off his limbs and body parts, which a
tinsmith replaced. The Tin Woodman said the girl was still waiting for him and that he needed a heart so
that he could love her again. He values happiness above all else, and said that was why a heart was more
important than brains which he thought did not necessarily ensure happiness. The Tin Woodman cries
when he steps on a beetle because he "knew very well he had no heart, and therefore he took great care
never to be cruel or unkind to anything." He believes hearts help guide people, and that he will no longer
have to be so careful to be kind when he has a heart. The Tin Woodman handily uses his skills to
construct rafts, ladders, and transportation devices when needed.

The Cowardly Lion first appears as growls the characters hear, then dramatically roars when he leaps into
the characters' path. He knocks over the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman. Dorothy hits the Lion when Toto
rushes towards him. She chides that the Lion is a coward to consider hurting a smaller animal. The Lion
admits that he was born a coward and that his roar was his defense mechanism to cause humans and
animals to flee. He confides that he would run if any person or beast tried to fight him. Weepy and
unhappy, the Lion seeks courage. He is curious about the travelers and asks to accompany them. Along
the way, the Lion offers to procure deer for meals. Because killing upsets the Tin Woodman, the Lion
disappears into the woods to eat alone. He enjoys the journey in rural areas because he dislikes city life.
Although he claims to lack courage, the Lion exhibits bravery several times such as carrying the
characters across the ditch. Dorothy rides on his back when she is tired so that the travelers can move
swiftly. At other times, the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow carry Dorothy and Toto. When the Wicked
Witch of the West enslaves the lion, he refuses to be harnessed to pull her chariot and threatens to bite her
when she says she will starve him into submission.

The Great Wizard of Oz rules from the City of Emeralds. The Witch of the North considers him "more
powerful than all of the rest of us together" and talks about him in a whisper. Nobody prior to the group's
arrival has ever seen the wizard except, perhaps, for some older citizens who might have seen him arrive
in his balloon decades earlier. His subjects believe that "Oz can do anything" and say that he can assume
any form he desires so that "who the real Oz is, when he is in his own form, no living person can tell."
The wizard is called "Oz the Terrible," and people warn Dorothy and her friends not to waste his time.
The wizard becomes interested in Dorothy only after he learns about the silver shoes she wears and the
mark on her forehead.

Each character initially sees the wizard as a symbolic image that seems to have been intended for others
in the group. As each character learns about the others' experiences, they formulate a strategy to obtain
their wish without being ordered to slay the Wicked Witch of the West. For Dorothy, the wizard is a large
floating head that is hairless. One eye winks and rolls as she talks to him. The Scarecrow, who might have
found the head appealing for its brain capacity, sees a "lovely Lady" with wings and a crown. Such a
vision might have suggested love and heart to the Tin Woodman, who instead sees a wooly beast with a
rhinoceros head and five arms and legs. The Lion plans to roar at this beast to intimidate it, but instead
sees a ball of fire which could represent the fire of spirit and thought and perhaps would have been more
symbolic to the Scarecrow.

When he is exposed to the quartet, the wizard timidly pleads for them not to hurt him, saying "I'll do
anything you want me to." Quieting Dorothy because he is afraid someone might hear her dismayingly
express her shock, he admits that he is not a wizard: "I'm just a common man." Selfcentered, he tells the
group to stop complaining about what they want and not to reveal his secret because he has "fooled
everyone so long" and allowing them into the throne room was a "great mistake."

Explaining that he is an Omaha, Nebraska, ventriloquist and balloonist, the wizard says he liked the
attention and power the people of Ox gave him when his balloon drifted into their territory. The wizard
admits he feels shame because he has manipulated people's ignorance with illusions and fears that he was
able to have the Emerald City designed and built specifically to his plans.
He declares that he has good intentions but cannot keep his promises. The wizard tells the Scarecrow that
he needs experience, not a brain, and he tells the Lion that he needs self-confidence. He suggests to the
Tin Woodman that hearts usually make people unhappy. Dispensing the token items of bran, a silk heart,
and drink, he convinces Dorothy's friends that they have acquired what they want. Dorothy despairs until
the wizard decides to sew a balloon, but she is unable to climb in its clothes basket in time to leave. After
the wizard is gone, the residents of the Emerald City fondly remember him as a friend.

The Wicked Witch of the East is briefly present in this novel as a corpse after Dorothy's house lands on
her. The Munchkins refer to the Wicked Witch of the East's tyrannical rule over them. She once ruled the
eastern lands of Oz. She is old and dries to dust in the sun. Her silver slippers are powerful, but the
Munchkins do not know how the charm is useful.

The Wicked Witch of the West is the sole evil witch after her counterpart in the east dies. She uses the
Golden Cap to enslave the Winkies. This witch has one eye with acute vision, which she uses like a
telescope to survey her kingdom. She always carries an umbrella and uses it to hit Toto, who bites her but
draws no blood because it "had dried up many years before." She laughs when she enslaves Dorothy and
takes advantage of her innocence and vulnerability. This witch knows the silver shoes have more power
than any other magical possession.

When she sees the mark of the kiss on Dorothy's forehead, the witch knows that she cannot hurt her and
considers running away from Dorothy in case she uses her power. But then she glances at Dorothy's eyes
and she "saw how simple the soul behind them was" and knew that Dorothy was ignorant of the shoes'
powers and how to summon them. Aware that Dorothy only takes off the silver shoes to bathe at night,
the "cunning" witch schemes how to trick Dorothy. For such an evil person, she ironically is afraid of the
dark and water. Tripping Dorothy with an invisible bar, the witch gains one shoe, evening the balance of
power. When the witch taunts Dorothy, the girl splashes her with water which causes the witch to melt,
frees the Winkies who declare an annual holiday, and transfers the castle and its possessions to Dorothy.

Glinda, the good witch in the South who rules the Quadlings, is considered kind and beautiful and "knows
how to keep young in spite of the many years she has lived." She has blue eyes, long red hair, and wears a
white dress. Because the Quadlings use red as their symbol, Glinda sits on a ruby throne. Glinda asks
Dorothy for the cap which she then promises to use to send the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Lion to
their desired location as rulers. Dorothy expresses disbelief when she learns that the shoes could have
transported her home from the beginning, but her friends say they are grateful she did not know and went
on the journey which gave them their desires and more. Dorothy tells everyone goodbye then clicks her
heels thrice, as Glinda advised, to return to Kansas.

Other significant characters that Dorothy meets include the Guardian of the Gates and a soldier in the
Emerald City. The china people, a collection of royalty and servants, are easily broken. Menders glue
these people together, but they are not as attractive as before. When Dorothy thinks of taking a china
person home to decorate Aunt Em's mantel, she is advised that the people become paralyzed if they leave
their country.

Most Quadlings have never visited the Emerald City because the road is dangerous. Along the route,
some beasts and people do not welcome travelers and harass or attack them. The Hammer-Heads in
particular pound anyone who tries to climb their hill north of Glinda's castle. The Quadlings demonstrate
hospitality and feed Dorothy and her friends. The Winkies, who are represented by the color yellow,
loathe the witch's rule and resist doing her evil deeds even when she beats them. Many of the Winkies are
craftsmen who fix the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow after the Wicked Witch of the West ordered them
destroyed. The Winkies decide they want the Tin Woodman to be their ruler after the witch is killed.

Animal characters serve in supporting roles. The field mice, their queen, and a stork help save the Lion
and Scarecrow. The winged monkeys tell Dorothy that they cannot go to Kansas, suggesting limitations to
magical powers. The Kalidahs are an amalgam of bear bodies and tiger heads who threaten to kill the
characters before the Kalidahs fall into a ditch. The Scarecrow and Tin Woodman outwit the wolves,
crows, and bees that the witch sends to kill them.

The Winged Monkeys fulfill three wishes for whoever has the Golden Cap. They loudly chatter and laugh
and are playfully bemused by pranks. The King of the Winged Monkeys tells Dorothy that the monkeys
had lived in a forest "long before Oz came out of the clouds to rule over this land," which was one of the
novel's first hints about Oz's origins. Gayelette, a princess/ sorceress who lived in a ruby palace, was
preparing to marry Quelala when the monkeys dunked him dressed in his finest clothes in the river.
Gayelette was furious and threatened to drown the monkeys but agreed to enchanting the Golden Cap,
which was a wedding present, with an obedience spell. The Wicked Witch of the West used the cap to
enslave the Winkies, expel Oz from Western lands, and secure Dorothy and her friends. The monkeys
disobeyed the witch's order to kill Dorothy when they saw the protective kiss on Dorothy's forehead,
stressing that the "Power of Good" is stronger than the "Power of Evil."