Harry Teacher Guide to The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is one of the great creative works for children and adults alike. The morals and colorful characters of Oz bring together a story that has been challenged but never matched.

The Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum and published in 1900, is a story of magical wonder as protagonist Dorothy travels through the dream world of Oz in search of the wizard who will help her go back home. Along the way she meets a handful of interesting characters, all representing different fears and aspirations. This is the classic story of light versus dark, good versus bad.

In the beginning of the novel, Dorothy is lost in a world of gray. Surrounded by gray prairies, stuck in a gray house orphan Dorothy is a free spirited girl with a little dog Toto. Dorothy's adoptive parents Aunty Em and Uncle Henry are seemingly grey in feeling as well. Everything is solemn and stern, and Dorothy's only friend is her playful little dog. Then along comes the cyclone. A tornado builds as everyone starts to race for the cellar. All except Toto, who Dorothy ran off to catch. On her way back she is swept up in the calamity of the Tornado and from then on nothing will ever be the same.

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Dorothy whirls up to the land of Oz where she awakens, and to her amazement everything outside is colorful and bright. Here she meets the Munchkins, smaller than average people adorned in beautiful costumes. They call her a sorceress, asking if she be the one who killed the Wicked Witch of the East? Looking back to her house, Dorothy realizes there is indeed a pair of feet wearing silver shoes sticking out from underneath. Dorothy meets the Witch of the North and learns of the Great Wizard and makes a mental note to make it to him, while picking up the silver shoes left behind by the dead witch. The silver shoes are actually ruby red slippers in the movie.

From here Dorothy, accompanied by Toto, is instructed to follow the yellow brick road to the wonderful wizard of Oz. Along the way to meet the esteemed Great Wizard Dorothy comes across three unique characters: Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion. The troupe travels on through a labyrinth o f adventures including a deadly poppy field, meetings with the Wicked Witch of the West and finally Oz himself and Glinda the Good.

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When the group of friends finally makes it to the Emerald City, capital of Oz, they are met by the ruler doing tricks on them, appearing as a fairy, ball of fire and so on. As the story goes on it's revealed that Oz is really just an ordinary man who has been using trickery to make himself seem all powerful. He had been writing about his own character from his hot air balloon that somehow landed in the Land of Oz where he became an idol.

At the end of the story Oz departs on his hot air balloon, while Dorothy's friends step up the hierarchy ladder and learn their strengths. Glinda the Good Witch then grants Dorothy's wish to go back home, and Dorothy is whisked away seemingly as fast as she appeared.

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The Wizard of Oz was followed by a series continuing the stories of Oz and the characters in them. In the 1939 film adaptation directed by Victor Fleming and starring Judy Garland strayed from the original storyline though manages to portray the characters and colorful world of Oz very well. Along with the memorable songs like Follow the Yellow Brick Road the film truly brought the novel to life and is enjoyed by young and old alike time and time again.

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