The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, XXIV.— "Home Again"

Tonight's Soundtrack: Bob Seger, "Turn The Page"


One page. Three paragraphs. 

That's how the Great American Fairy Tale goes out. In fact, the final chapter of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz can be sent in three Tweets.

Ain't it the life, though?

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Well, you can say, at least Dorothy’s happy. They’ve built a new house, right? Maybe she’s got her own room now. She’s still got her dog. She says she’s glad to be home.

I just… I mean, presumably Mr. Baum is happy. He said he wasn’t going to teach any morals or show disagreeable incidents and everyone would get a happy ending. Maybe he’s confused “getting what you want” with “happiness”, but listen, that would mean thinking about the book as a whole and that’s dangerously close to understanding implications. Which is almost the same as teaching morality and would certainly not be entertaining.

Mr. Denslow is happy. He’s been working his ass off on the art and design for this book. He’s worked out the color schemes, added life to the characters, enriched the story, built out the background, contradicted the text -  just about everything an artist loves to do. But it’s got to be nice to be able to put the brush down. Get ready for the next project.

Are the readers happy? Like hell. They’re waiting for the other (silver) shoe to drop. Reading this book straight through, with no knowledge of the MGM musical, no knowledge of the sequels, just seeing what’s on the page? You’d actually be raising an eyebrow to What is this gray Kansas bullshit? Where’s the rest of the damn story?

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Three things:

  • When Dorothy picks up Toto to leave Oz, she does so solemnly.
  • When she first answers her Aunt Em, she does so gravely.
  • I’m sure Uncle Henry is a fine person. But he’s the only character from the first chapter that’s not in the last.

* * *

Superficially, we’re done. But some characters know their stories haven’t done them right.

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