200px-Wizard title page

The Wonderful Wizard of OZ

220px-Baum 1911

Author L. Frank Baum

In 1900 L. Frank Baum wrote the Wonderful Wizard of OZ with W.W. Denslow.

Plot Synopsis

The story follows Dorothy and her dog Toto who live in Kansas with Dorothy's Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. Then, when a tornado struck their farmhouse, Dorothy and Toto were whisked to the Land of OZ. Her house landed on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her. The Good Witch of the North and three Munchkins came to greet her and the Witch of the North granted Dorothy the Silver Slippers worn by the Witch of the East as well as a magical kiss which warded her against trouble. The Witch told her to seek the help of the Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City. On her way out of Munchkinland, Dorothy spends the night at the house of Boq, the wealthiest of the Munchkins who believes that she is a witch.

As she walks down the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy encounters the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, each of whom has a trait which they hoped that the wizard could grant them. As they continue onward, the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion each demonstrate that in spite of their perceived ineptitudes, what they sought was in fact within themselves; the Scarecrow demonstrates his capacity for intelligence, the Tin Woodman repeatedly shows acts of compassion, and the Cowardly Lion overcomes many of his fears, though each fails to realize the significance of their own actions. After passing many obstacles and losing the way several times, the small party finally manages to reach the Emerald City. When they request an audience with The Great Oz, they are allowed into the city by the Guardian of the Gates who locks green spectacles onto each of them. They were escorted to the palace and each permitted a separate audience with the Wizard. During each meeting, the Wizard assumed a different appearance and gave each traveller the same assignment: Kill the Wicked Witch of the West.

Seeing no other way to gain what they wanted, the party prepared to kill the Witch. Watching their progress, the Witch sent first wolves, then crows, then bees to attack them. Failing this, she used a magical golden cap to summon the Winged Monkeys to capture Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion. She forced Dorothy to work for her and attempted to force the Cowardly Lion to do her bidding. In order to steal the silver slippers, the Witch placed an invisible bar on iron on the ground. Dorothy tripped over it and lost her shoe. When the Witch stole it, Dorothy threw a bucket of water on her in a fit of anger, killing her. In gratitude, the Winkies who had been enslaved by the Witch celebrated Dorothy and rescued the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow. As she gathered supplies for the return journey to the Emerald City, Dorothy found the magical golden cap and put it on, unaware of its enchantment.

When they again find themselves lost, Dorothy summons the Field Mice she had encountered earlier in the story. The Queen of the Field Mice informs her of the enchantment on the golden cap and she uses it to summon the Winged Monkeys, who return her to the Emerald City. As they demand their boons of the Wizard, Toto trips against a screen, revealing an old man who identifies himself as the Wizard and admits to his "humbuggery."

In spite of this, each member of the party still insists that the Wizard honor his bargain and he asks for a day to prepare their rewards. The following day, he fills the Scarecrow's head with bran, pins, and needles, gives the Tin Woodman a sewn silk heart, and has the Cowardly Lion drink from a vial of "courage." He then had a hot air balloon prepared to take Dorothy and himself out of Oz but the ropes broke and released the balloon before Dorothy could climb into it. Unable to return to Kansas this way, Dorothy and the Scarecrow ask an Emerald City soldier if he knows of any other way. He suggests asking Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.

The group headed south, encountering fighting trees and the Dainty China People on their way to Quadling Country. Before they were able to enter, however, they encountered the Hammer-heads, an armless people who shot their heads off at any passersby. Using the charm of the Golden Cap, Dorothy summons the Winged Monkeys to carry herself and her friends safely into Quadling Country where she receives an audience with Glinda. In exchange for helping her return to Kansas, Glinda requests the Golden Cap which she uses to summon the Winged Monkeys to carry the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion home. Glinda then reveals that the enchantment on the Silver Slippers allow the wearer to travel anywhere they please in only three steps. After bidding farewell to Glinda and her companions, Dorothy wishes to be returned home to Kansas and flies with the magic of the Silver Slippers. Because the journey is so swift, the slippers are lost in the Great Desert but Dorothy is reunited with her aunt and uncle.