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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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The first American Fairytale...

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Written by  L. Frank Baum
Illustrator  W. W. Denslow
Published  1900
Publisher  George M. Hill Company

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, also known as The Wizard of Oz, is the first book in the Oz series by L. Frank Baum. The book was illustrated by W. W. Denslow, and published in 1900.

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Set roughly in circa 1900, Dorothy Gale is a little orphan girl who lives in the mist of the great Kansas prairies, everything is described as dull and all grey, even the grass was colorless. Not a tree, river, or building could be seen on either side of the flat Kansas fields. There she stays on a farm with her Uncle Henry, a poor farmer and her Aunt Em, his wife. Their home is a very small one, having four walls a roof and a floor, which made one room. Containing only a rusty old cooking stove, a table with a few chairs, and two beds. One big bed for Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, and a little bed for Dorothy. Dorothy had no friends at all, only a companion who was her pet dog named Toto. Toto made Dorothy laugh and kept her young at heart as she played with him all day long. And he stopped her from turning as dull and grey as everything else around her, like it did to her Aunt and Uncle. One day, while Aunt Em was washing dishes in the house, Uncle Henry and Dorothy were on the front porch looking up at the dark cloudy sky. Uncle Henry sensed what was coming, he called cyclone and ran to look after his animal stock. Aunt Em dropped her work immediately and rushed for the storm cellar. The horrible cyclone came closer and closer, strong enough to crush any building in it's path. Unfortunately the farm house was right in the way of the oncoming Tornado. While Uncle Henry was busy with the stock, and Aunt Em was safe inside the cellar, Toto jumped out of Dorothy's arms and hid under the bed. Dorothy was able to fetch Toto but not in time to make it to the cellar. The winds swept the farm house up with Dorothy and Toto stuck inside and it was carried off far, far away and high up into the sky and taken to the magical and enchanted Land of Oz.
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Dorothy and Toto are inside the farm house flying in the sky with the twister!
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The twister eventually dropped the house where it crash landed with a thud in the county of the blue Munchkins, which accidentally fell right on top of the Wicked Witch of the East, crushing and killing her instantly. Dorothy gave a little cry of joy as she slowly opened the front door. Her and Toto stepped out of the farm house and Dorothy gave a cry of amazement and looked about her, her eyes growing bigger and bigger at the wonderful sights she saw.

The cyclone had set the house down very gently—for a cyclone—in the midst of a country of marvelous beauty. There were lovely patches of greensward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits. Banks of giant gorgeous flowers were on every hand and also of every kind imaginable. Colorful birds with rare and brilliant plumage sang sweetly and fluttered in the trees and bushes and plants. A little way off was a small babbling brook, rushing with crystal clear sparkling water, along between green banks, and murmuring in a voice very grateful to a little girl who had lived so long on the dry, gray prairies of dirt and dust.

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Dorothy and Toto were then both greeted by the friendly little Munchkin people who inhabited the East country of Oz. And they also met the Good Witch of the North, a little fat and jolly old woman who was short and dressed pure white with sprinkled stars all over her clothing, she wore a tall white pointed hat on her head with dangling bells on the brim. She was a dear, close friend of the Munchkins who came and thanked Dorothy for killing the Wicked Witch of the East and for freeing the little Munchkins from many years of suffering from unhappy slavery and bondage.

And to Dorothy's shock, there indeed under the corner of the house, two feet were sticking out from under it, wearing magic Sliver Shoes. They all declared Dorothy a good Witch and a hero, even though Dorothy knew very well that she was just a normal girl who was brought to the strange land by chance.

Dorothy was frightened at first, then glad she was of help. But her greatest wish was to just get her and Toto back home again where they belonged, with Aunt Em. Yet the Land of Oz was surrounded by a vast Deadly Desert that cut all of the land off from the rest of the world which kept it hidden from other civilized countries. No one crossed it and lived to tell about it. So the Witch of the North took out her magic slate and wrote on it in white chalk, asking what Dorothy should do. The slate read: "Let Dorothy go to the city of Emeralds." So the only way for help was for Dorothy and Toto to travel to the Emerald City which stood in the exact center of Oz. There Dorothy could speak to the Great Oz, the most powerful Wizard in all the land to ask him for a way to possibly get back to Kansas again. All she had to do was follow the road paved with bright yellow bricks, for it was the only road that lead all the way to the Emerald City. The Good Witch gave Dorothy the magic Silver Shoes as a gift to show her and the Munchkins gratitude, for the Wicked Witch was so old she quickly turned to dust as she lay under Dorothy's house, leaving only the shoes behind. The Silver Shoes held a very powerful yet mysterious charm, for what it was no one knew. The old woman then gently kissed Dorothy upon the forehead, leaving a round, shining mark that glowed for good luck and protection, for the land of Oz was mostly all pleasant, but a few others were dark and difficult. Then the little old woman happily spun around three times and vanished into thin air, and was gone just like that.

The little Munchkin people thanked Dorothy once more and wished her and Toto a safe and well journey. Dorothy took a basket from her house and then put on a pink sun bonnet and dressed herself in her only clean frock of faded blue and white gingham. She also tried on the Silver Shoes, which fit as if they were made for her. Dorothy and Toto began walking down the Yellow Brick Road as her Silver Shoes tinkled merrily against the hard paved bricks. While on her long journey, she met a rich Munchkin man named Boq, and she celebrated with the wealthiest Munchkin people who held a great feast and banquet in honor of Dorothy for freeing them. He welcomed Dorothy and thanked her for wearing a dress white in it. Boq explained to Dorothy that white is the color that only good Witches wear. The next day later on down the yellow brick road, Dorothy met a living Scarecrow in a cornfield, who wished for brains to be a great thinker, later Dorothy and her new friend met a Tin Woodman who was a gentle and helpless romantic with a tragic backstory of lost love.

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He was found quite rusted after standing in the same position for a year in the dark forest. But wanted nothing more but a real heart to love again. And last but not least in the jungle like forest, the travelers came across a Cowardly Lion, who wished for some real courage to be ferocious ans brave and King of all beasts, without faking it.

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Dorothy invited all three of them to come along and join her and Toto on the way to see the Wizard so they could all ask him for his help and to have their wishes granted also. After many dangerous adventures throughout the land, such as encountering the fierce, flesh hungry beast of the forest called Kalidahs, crossing a raging river, falling asleep while crossing the Deadly Poppy Field and meeting the Queen of Field Mice. The group saw a green glow in the sky before them, that's how they knew the journey down the yellow brick was coming to a finish. They all safely made it to the tall, glowing, and glittering jeweled gates of the Emerald City at last. The city was built of smooth polished marble, glass and solid gold, set with giant emeralds. Dorothy kindly asked the Guardian of the Gates
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to speak with the Wizard at once. Once inside the glittering gates they were all forced to wear green spectacles that were locked on and could only be taken off with a key that the Guardian of the Gates had. Even little Toto was made to wear them, just like all of the other citizens who resided within. This was to protect they're eyes from being blinded by the glorious emeralds all around. The travelers then were lead on a tour by the soldier with the green whiskers into the city streets and finally to the royal palace of the Wizard and his royal court. Dorothy and her companions were each given comfortable rooms that were elegantly furnished to rest in. Dorothy put on a pretty green dress of crochet silk and tied a silk bow around Toto's neck as a new collar. Thanks to Dorothy's Silver Shoes, the Wizard agreed to grant her and her friends an audience. But he would only see them one day at a time. Dorothy and Toto got to be the first to speak to Oz and enter his throne room that was decorated in sparkling green gems. He appeared to the girl and her dog as a giant green floating head on a royal throne of emeralds. She told him all about her adventures in Oz and if he would help her get home again. The Wizard agreed to help her but he also commanded her to kill the Wicked Witch of the West first. Next was the Scarecrow's turn. But this time Oz appeared as a beautiful lady dressed in very fine robes and fancy clothing. Then the Tin Woodman spoke to him, and this time he appeared as a angry terrible oversized beast with horns. And finally to the Cowardly Lion. Oz was a fierce ball of fire that glowed. Despite his shape shifting ways, Oz told all of them the same exact thing, to kill the Wicked Witch of the West if they wanted their wishes granted. So the group of friends left the Emerald City and began searching for the Wicked Witch in the West land of the yellow Winkies. Now, this Witch was even more Wicked than the one of the East. And she was said to be so Wicked and old, that the blood in her body had dried up long ago. She also had only one eye, but this eye was so strong that it could easily see any part of Oz no matter how far off it was. So with this eye the Wicked Witch saw the travelers walking on her land gradually approaching her yellow castle.
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The Witch sent her killer wolves, crows, bees, and Winkie guards one by one to kill them. But Dorothy and her friends luckily defeated them all, every time which infuriated the Witch.

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So she eventually used her magical Golden Cap to call her Winged Monkeys. She said the magic words and commanded the Monkeys to kill Dorothy and her company. But when the Monkeys tried to obey the Witches orders, they all saw the glowing mark of the Good Witch's kiss on Dorothy's forehead. Seeing this, they dared not to harm her. Instead they bashed the Tin Woodman against jagged rocks against a cliff, denting his tin body horribly. The Monkeys then ripped the Scarecrow apart and took out all of his straw. Then they tied up the Cowards Lion with ropes and lifted Dorothy and Toto up into the air and brought the three before the Witch's yellow castle. The Witch wasted no time once the Monkey's flew away and she kept the lion in a harness and caged him up in her courtyard. Then she made Dorothy a kitchen slave to clean and cook all day, everyday. Dorothy became very sad but the Witch did not care. In fact the Witch was a very cunning Witch, and she knew that the Silver Shoes on Dorothy had magical powers and she wanted them to use for herself to gain more power and take over all of Oz. One day the Witch thought up of a wicked plan to steal them and get what she wanted. She tricked Dorothy and placed an iron bar in the middle of the floor where Dorothy was cleaning. The Witch also cast a spell using her dark magic. This dark spell was to make the bar completely invisible to the human eye. Dorothy, going about her daily chores as a slave, tripped over the bar and fell so hard that one of her Silver Shoes came off and the Witch greedily snatched it up before Dorothy could get back on her feet. Dorothy demanded the Witch to give her the shoe back. The Witch only laughed in Dorothy's face and said that she would not and smiled Wickedly and taunted Dorothy, telling the child it was now omly a matter of time before she would find a way to steal the other shoe and do evil things by wearing them. Dorothy was so angry that in a state of despair, she tossed a bucket of cleaning water at the Witch soaking her from head to toe. Unfortunately for the Witch, she quickly melted completely away like brown sugar and that was the end of her and all of her Wickedness. Dorothy was thanked by the Winkies for freeing them from slavery. And she was praised for ridding Oz of its Wicked Witches. To thank Dorothy even more, the Winkies restored the Tin Woodman and fixed his dented tin and stuffed and sewed the Scarecrow back together again until they both we're as good as new. Dorothy and her companions happily reunited and she took the Golden Cap that belonged to the Witch and used it's charm to make the Monkey's fly her and her friends back to the Emerald City, during the flight Dorothy realized that the Winged Monkey's we're not so bad after all, just slaves to whoever owned the Golden Cap. The leading Monkey explained to Dorothy that a Princess once cast a spell on them with the cap and must obey the orders of whoever it belongs to at the time. Dorothy and her companions returned to the City to finally claim their rewards. But to their dismay, they all discovered that the Wizard was a phony humbug and illusionist. The Wizard confessed to Dorothy and her friends all about his tricks and fake magic.
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He told them he made all of the people in the city wear green tinted glasses so everything would appear green, even though it wasn't. The Wizard also promised to make it all up to them by giving the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion their desires and promising to take Dorothy home in a hot air balloon. On the day the Balloon was ready, it lifted off too early, while Dorothy was looking for Toto in the streets of the Emerald City who ran into the crowd of citizens to bark at a little green kitten. The Balloon sailed into the sky with only the Wizard inside and disappeared into the clouds in the sky. Dorothy became very sad that she was left behind. But all hope was not yet lost. Dorothy and her companions then traveled on yet another long mission all the way to the land of the red Quadlings to find the beautiful Sorceress Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, and ask her for her help, for Glinda was Dorothy's last chance. After several more strange adventures, through the forest of the Fighting Trees, coming face to face with a giant evil spider that the Cowardly Lion slayed, into the Dainty China Country, and over the hill of the Hammer-Heads, they finally arrived at Glinda's pretty ruby red castle which was guarded by pretty girl soldiers around Dorothy's age. The girl soldiers led the group of travelers inside were they could clean up nicely and look presentable for Glinda. Glinda sat upon her ruby throne as Dorothy told her all of her long story. Glinda then made a good selfless deal with Dorothy, and told her she would tell Dorothy how to get out of Oz, only in exchange for the Golden Cap that Dorothy had been wearing since she killed the Wicked Witch. Dorothy gave Glinda the magic cap and she kindly told the child about the charm of the Silver Shoes she had been wearing since her arrival in the Land of Oz, and that all she had to do was knock the heels together three times and command them to take her wherever she wished to go in the entire world. Glinda would then use the Golden Cap to command the Monkey's to take the Scarecrow back to the Emerald City to rule as King, the Tin Woodman back to the land of the west to rule as the Winkie King and the Cowardly Loin back to the forest to be King of the beast. Then Glinda would use her own good magic to set the Winged Monkeys free from being prisoners of the Cap. After a tearful goodbye to her three friends and thanking Glinda, Dorothy did as she was told and knocked the heels of her shoes together and spoke out loud to them. Dorothy and Toto were both teleported and carried over the desert that surrounded Oz and back home again in Kansas. The magical Silver Shoes fell off of her feet right into the desert, and were lost forever. Dorothy quickly sat up and looked far off across the field of the prairies and saw her Uncle Henry who was milking the cows by the barn. Aunt Em came out of the brand new farm house that Uncle Henry had built to replace the old one that got lost in the storm. Aunt Em was watering the cabbages when she looked up to see Dorothy running towards her with Toto barking loudly. Aunt Em hugged Dorothy and covered the child in kisses. Aunt Em asked Dorothy where had she come from and been. Dorothy told her about Oz and how glad she and Toto were to be home again. The End

Characters

Land of Oz

In this inaugural book, Baum first delineates and begins to develop his concepts of the Land of Oz, with its central city and its four countries in the four cardinal directions, each with its characteristic color — the Munchkin Country in the east (blue), the Winkie Country in the west (yellow), the Quadling Country in the south (red), and the Gillikin Country in the north (purple). The characters in the first book visit all of the countries except the northern one.

A crucial point about Oz is that it is not "civilized," which allows witchcraft and magic and other odd traits to flourish. (Compare another pre-civilized society, the Island of Yew, which later succumbs to civilizing influences.)

Baum gives Oz an extensive development in the thirteen subsequent Oz books he wrote; his successors as Royal Historians carried that elaboration still further.

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Background

Baum wrote the manuscript for the book in soft pencil on pads; he was left-handed, and his writing was clear and easily legible. He saved and framed the last pencil used in the process, and displayed it on a wall in Ozcot, his Hollywood home. Its inscription read, "With this pencil I wrote the MS. of The Emerald City. Finished Oct. 9th, 1899."

(The title of the book changed more than once during its genesis. When Baum and Denslow signed their 1899 contract to create the book, it was termed "The City of Oz or some other appropriate name." Publisher George M. Hill suggested From Kansas to Fairyland at one point; and the book was copyrighted as The Land of Oz.)

Denslow supplied 24 full-color plate illustrations for the book (including the title page), along with more than a hundred drawings, a total that included chapter headings and monochrome pictures that ran under the text. The colors in his plates match the journey of Dorothy and her friends through Oz — pictures of scenes set in the Emerald City are tinted green, and those in the Munchkin Country are dominated by shades of blue.

Baum and Denslow split evenly a 12% royalty of the book; each earned 9 cents per copy on the $1.50 cover price. On 15 January 1900 each man received a $500 advance on royalties from the publisher. The book was an instant success upon publication, selling more than 37,000 copies in fifteen months. Each of the collaborators received royalty payments of $1,423 on 1 November 1900, and another $1,966 at the end of the following year.

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The book passed out of copyright protection and into the public domain in 1956. By that time, it had sold over 4,195,000 copies.[1]

Adaptations

The 1939 film and the musical The Wiz are based on this first Oz book.

It was also adapted into graphic novel form by Marvel Comics, and Puffin Graphics Campfire Classics.

In 1995 Gregory Maguire wrote a revisionist prequel to it called Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

In 1997-1999, it was performed onstage at Madison Square Garden.

References

  • Aljean Harmetz. The Making of the Wizard of Oz: Movie Magic and Studio Power in the Prime of MGM — and the Miracle of Production #1060. New York, Delta edition, 1989.
  • Katharine M. Rogers. L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.

See also

External links


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