01 - The Cyclone
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One of the greatest American novels and a popular culture sensation, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz depicts the adventures of the young Dorothy Gale, who is swept away from her colorless farm home in Kansas by a cyclone, and winds up in the magical Land of Oz. Trapped in an unknown land, Dorothy must find a way back home and subsequently embarks on an adventure and meets a group of colorful characters along the way. Serving as an inspiration throughout generations, the children’s novel has been represented through various cinema adaptations and musicals.
The novel commences with the introduction of Dorothy, a young orphan girl who is taken in and raised by her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em in their dreary farm home in Kansas. One day, however, a treacherous cyclone sweeps across the prairie and catches hold of the house while Dorothy and her beloved pet dog Toto are still inside. Afraid and bewildered, Dorothy and Toto are eventually set down in a mysterious land which they later identify as the Land of Oz. Greeted and commended by the small Munchkins, Dorothy is declared to be a good witch, because her house had accidentally landed on the evil ruler of the Munchkins – the Wicked Witch of the East and consequently resulted in her death. Subsequently, the Good Witch of the North also arrives to greet Dorothy and presents her with a pair of silver shoes believed to contain magical properties. In addition, she instructs Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road to Emerald City and ask the almighty Wizard of Oz to help her get back to Kansas. On her way across the land she is accompanied by the Scarecrow, the rusted Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion.
Entertaining and intelligently written, Baum has effectively created a modern fairy tale forever embedded in the imagination of both young and old readers. Exploring the prominent and universal theme of “There’s no place like home”, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz does not seize to delight and captivate long after its finish.