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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Allegory

There's definitely "water, water everywhere" in Wicked (Coleridge shout-out). Well, there's water symbolism and imagery at any rate. Oz suffers a severe drought for a large part of the novel, which...

Setting

The Oz of Wicked is definitely a lot bigger and more complex than the "follow the yellow brick road" Oz of the 1939 movie. Oz here is a diverse country with very distinct regions. Maguire took the...

POV/Narrative Voice

In an interview, Gregory Maguire gave a really interesting explanation of how he crafted the story of Wicked. Speaking of The Life of Emily Dickinson, by Richard Sewell, Maguire explains:"Because E...

Genre

Oz is probably the ultimate land of fantasy, aside from Narnia and Middle Earth perhaps. Wicked has elements of fairy tales, magic, talking animals, lots of made-up places with odd names, and its v...

Style

Stylistically, this book reads like a hybrid of realism and fantasy. We'll start with the realism. We get some very graphic descriptions of things, hence the detailed style, but we often don't get...

What's Up With the Title?

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, is a very descriptive, biographical title, which we here at Shmoop applaud. You definitely know what you're in for when you pick up this...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

"Tis very strange Men should be so fond of being thought wickeder than they are."– Daniel Defoe, A System of Magick "In historical events great men – so called – are but the label...

What's Up With the Ending?

Spoiler alert: the Witch totally dies at the end, thanks to Dorothy's fire-safety training and a handy bucket of water. Given that we've all seen the 1939 movie, are we surprised by the ending of M...
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