The Plot (Magill's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature)
The story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is known to countless millions worldwide because of the motion picture version of the story, The Wizard of Oz (1939), starring Judy Garland. Although Garland was considerably older than the Dorothy in the book and her adventures are dismissed as a dream, the film is otherwise reasonably faithful to L. Frank Baum’s novel.
A cyclone carries Dorothy and her dog Toto from bleak Kansas to the colorful Land of Oz, then drops their house on top of the Wicked Witch of the East. The Munchkins, who regard Dorothy as a witch herself, are so grateful to her for killing the witch who tormented and enslaved them that they offer Dorothy all the help they can. They advise her to put on the dead witch’s silver slippers, which have magical properties. Dorothy’s chief motivation throughout the story is to get back to her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em in Kansas. She is told to follow a road of yellow brick that will take her to the Emerald City, home of the Wizard of Oz. The Wizard, Dorothy is told, should know how to get her home.
Along the road of yellow brick, Dorothy encounters the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. Each asks to accompany Dorothy to the Emerald City. The Scarecrow wants to ask the Wizard for a brain, the Tin Woodman wants to ask for a heart, and the Cowardly Lion wants to ask for courage. After some misadventures, they reach the Emerald City. The Wizard tells Dorothy that he will use his magic powers to send...
(The entire section is 615 words.)
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Bibliography (Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised Edition)
Carpenter, Angelica Shirley, and Jean Shirley. L. Frank Baum: Royal Historian of Oz. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1992. A detailed account of Baum’s career and writings. Includes numerous maps and illustrations. Also contains plot summaries of most of Baum’s books.
Hearn, Michael Patrick. Introduction to The Annotated Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1973. This sets Baum’s best-known work in the context of his life and work.
Riley, Michael O. Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1997. A comprehensive analysis...
(The entire section is 164 words.)