“We have come to claim our promise, O Oz.”
“What promise?” asked Oz.
“You promised to send me back to Kansas when the Wicked Witch was destroyed,” said the girl.
“And you promised to give me brains,” said the Scarecrow.
“And you promised to give me a heart,” said the Tin Woodman.
“And you promised to give me courage,” said the Cowardly Lion.
“Is the Wicked Witch really destroyed?” asked the Voice, and Dorothy thought it trembled a little.
“Yes,” she answered, “I melted her with a bucket of water.”
“Dear me,” said the Voice, “how sudden! Well, come to me tomorrow, for I must have time to think it over.”
Greetings! Today we are back to looking at L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by summarizing and analyzing chapter fifteen. Dorothy and friends have traveled back to Oz and are in for a terrific and terrible surprise in pursuit of their reward from the Wizard of OZ. Onward!
Chapter Fourteen Summary: The Discovery of Oz, the Terrible
Dorothy and company enter the Emerald City and straightaway head to the Wizard of Oz, who owes them each a debt for ridding the land of the Wicked Witch of the West. However, Oz does not send for them immediately, and the group has to sit and wait for three days until The Scarecrow threatens the wizard with the Winged Monkeys. Of course, Oz relents and asks them to meet him in the throne room to receive their reward. Oz gets dodgy at this point and tells them to return the following day. Dorothy and friends do not like this response and decide to try and intimidate; however, that doesn’t go accordingly.
The Lion thought it might be as well to frighten the Wizard, so he gave a large, loud roar, which was so fierce and dreadful that Toto jumped away from him in alarm and tipped over the screen that stood in a corner. As it fell with a crash they looked that way, and the next moment all of them were filled with wonder. For they saw, standing in just the spot the screen had hidden, a little old man, with a bald head and a wrinkled face, who seemed to be as much surprised as they were.
It is at this point that they tragedy of the Wizard of Oz is revealed, for as it turns out he is but a normal man and has kept himself safe due to his deceptive nature. The Wicked Witch, for instance, thought of him as a powerful wizard and thus was afraid to attack him head on unless she had magical means (the Winged Monkeys). Though he’s a liar, the Wizard of Oz rationalizes his actions to the best of his ability.
Really,” said the Scarecrow, “you ought to be ashamed of yourself for being such a humbug.”
“I am—I certainly am,” answered the little man sorrowfully; “but it was the only thing I could do. Sit down, please, there are plenty of chairs; and I will tell you my story.”
According to the wizard, he actually from Omaha, and one day he flew into the sky in his awesome balloon and got lost above the clouds after his ropes became entangled. By the time he landed, he found himself in the land of Oz. Once there, he commanded the people to build his city and his palace, and he named it the Emerald City. Why would the good people of Oz do this? Well, much like the Wicked Witch, they thought he was powerful. Nevertheless, he lived in fear of the witches and was relieved to find out that Dorothy had landed on the Wicked Witch of the East and was more relieved when he found at that she had killed the Wicked Witch of the West with a bucket of water.
Though, now that the truth was out, the Wizard of Oz tells Dorothy that there is little he can do to actually help her and her friends, but tells them to give him a few days to think about it, because even though he has no real powers, he was still quite ingenious.
This is a chapter is a centered on a big reveal and offers up a fun twist to the story. In fact, it is an education in how to take your own story and flip it on its head if you were of the mind. In other words, all stories need twists and turns to remain engaging and entertaining, and you should think about what Baum does here to make this already fantastical story even more delightful. The wizard is not a wizard but a normal man, and he has an interesting story (more interesting than the Winged Monkeys’ story, I think), which causes the readers and Dorothy and her friends to take pity on him. It’s really creative!
Also, I love that at the end of the chapter it is revealed that Dorothy refers to the Wizard of Oz as “The Great and Terrible Humbug,” which is really funny, because it’s really disparaging, and it’s made even funnier in the next chapter because the wizard sees himself that way, too.
Baum, L. Frank. “The Wizard of Oz the First Five Novels.” Fall River Press, 2014.