|Plot Summary of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West|
|"Gregory Maguire takes fans of the Wizard of Oz series to someplace they never expected, into the life and times of Elphaba, better known to us as the "Wicked Witch of the West". The story takes her from her modest birth from a munchkin family (where the parents are horrifed to see she has green skin), to her growing rivalry and love for her sister (later known as the "Wicked Witch of the East"). We see her as a child, coping with an oppresive society, which views the "Wizard of Oz" as a virtual dictator. Other characters we know, like Glinda, the "Good Witch of the North" are introduced as school friends of Elphaba when learning sorcery. Later, after school is over, she seems to vanish for a time, but returns to the Emerald City and helps in a failed revolt against the Wizard, striving for the freedom of Oz. She is later branded the "Wicked Witch" by the Wizard who is hoping to discredit her. After many losses, including that of a lover, she retires to the West, where her dead lover was ruler and takes over his castle. The well known role of Dorothy and Toto only play a very minor but important part at the end of the story, as we see how Dorothy is manipulated by the Wizard to bring about the end of his enemy. "
Nicholas S. Stember, Resident Scholar
|""Wicked" takes the reader to the land of Oz--only this time from the point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba. Elphaba, is portrayed bu the author as a sympathetic character despite her ugliness. The Wizard is a corrupt politico and a tyrant. Galinda (later Glinda) is a something of a silly snobbish sorority girl type. Animals can speak and are an oppressed minority. The story begins with Elphaba's childhood where she is largely responsible for her younger sister, who has no arms. She goes off to the University, where she becomes involved in a revolutionary movement against the tyranical wizard and his minions.
This is not a children's book. Maguire uses the events and the characters of the original Baum novel to create a world that is quite the opposite of that.
Jack Goodstein, Resident Scholar
|"Wicked is the story of Elphaba, the wicked witch of the west in The Wizard of Oz. Her tale begins with an adulterous conception - a travelling stranger gives a strange potion to her mother. Much of her unhappy childhood is skipped. She has green skin and is allergic to water, so of course she's regarded as a freak. Her sister, the wicked witch of the east, was born with no arms, so she too is looked on unfavorably. But the two go off to college, and meet with all manner of beings in this fantasyscape. It is in college that Elphaba develops a desire for political change. She ends up dropping out and living incognito in the city of Oz, where she takes a lover. The next portion of the novel describes her adulthood in yet another land where she evolves into her reputation, biologically engineering monkeys with wings, taking jaunts on her broomstick and hearing about Dorothy and her mission.
Krisha Williams, Resident Scholar
|"Gregory Maguire reimagines L. Frank Baum's world of Oz from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba is born with the dual disabilities of green skin and a severe allergy to water. The daughter of a preacher and a philandering hedonist, little Elphaba is an outcast in Munchkinland. When she leaves home to attend college in Gillikin, the north of Oz, she rooms with her future archnemesis, Glinda, a shallow and pampered socialite. Elphaba discovers in college both an affinity for the life sciences and a political passion for fighting the dictatorial Wizard of Oz, whose edicts have stripped sentient Animals of their basic rights.
When she leaves college, Elphaba becomes a freedom fighter amidst the corruption of the Emerald City. But when her first true love falls victim to a political assassination, she vanishes to western Oz, the land of Winkies, and, disillusioned and embittered, reinvents herself as the Witch of the West. Elphaba finds a sort of peace among the Winkies until the day a tornado lands a foreign little girl and her dog in Oz, accidentally killing Elphaba's sister. When Glinda foolishly send the little girl to the Emerald City, the child may inadvertently play into the oppressive power of the Wizard and Elphaba must take action against the foreigner and protect the land of Oz."
Jennifer Martin-Romme, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Composition of Book
Descript. of chases or violence - 10%
planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives - 10%
Feelings, relationships, character bio/development - 40%
Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places - 40%
Tone of book
- cynical or dry-wit
FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?
- fantasy world/fantasy past
Coming of age
- a powerful magician
Is this an adult or child's book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Has magical/special powers?
Magical/mental powers of main character:
- can talk to animals
- can fly
- can cast many different spells
- emotionally unstable
How sensitive is this character?
- sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Cynical sense of humor
- Very much smarter than other characters
- physically sick
- 20th century
A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:
- humans in a primitive/fantasy society
Takes place on Earth?
Planet outside solar system?
- mostly 3rd
Sex in book?
What kind of sex:
- descript of touching personal anatomy
How much dialogue?
- roughly even amounts of descript and dialog