The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, XVIII.—Away to the South
Tonight's Soundtrack: Clint Ruin & Lydia Lunch, "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?"
In which everyone stands around the Emerald Throne and waits for someone to yell "Cut!"
Because the book is over. It just is. The bad guy is dead. The big mystery of the title has been revealed. The Scarecrow and Tin Woodman have been offered kingdoms of their own. Everyone has what they want and is in a better place than when they began the story. We're done here. There's no where else to go.
Yes, okay, Dorothy still wants to get home. But in this chapter, with everything wrapped up so well, and everyone getting their fairy tale endings, it seems like Dorothy is supposed to have an epiphany here and realize home is where she is loved, not just a geographical location haunted by humorless drudges. "And so she lived with her marvelous friends in the magical land and only occasionally dreamed uneasy dreams of the gray plains of Kansas. THE END."
She doesn't though. While the other characters signal to each other over her head and wildly improvise, Dorothy goes off script and sticks to her character's motivation. She refuses to play ball with the traditional plot.
1) It could be that Baum, being Baum, has by this point completely forgotten the horror story he wrote about Kansas in Chapter 1. Says to himself, "Why did I plan to end the book here? The little girl isn't back with that loving family yet! Better fire up the idea boiler!" Because Fuck Rewriting.
2) It could also be the Baum the Storyteller sees that you’re not quite ready for bed yet, and that maybe you want to hear just a little more about some of the strange creatures and funny people, so perhaps, yes, Dorothy mustn’t be content, mustn’t be satisfied quite yet. Not when there’s more road to follow.