© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West


by Gregory Maguire

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Questions

  1. Was Elphaba ultimately a victim or pawn of powerful outside forces that were controlling her life, or was she the author of her own downfall?
  2. The book doesn't really come right out and say that Elphaba is Liir's mother. Why might the book choose to be vague on this point, and what is the effect?
  3. The Wizard remains largely a mystery throughout the book. How is this mysteriousness significant to his character and to the narrative as a whole?
  4. What are the thematic implications of Elphaba being a sort of living hybrid of two separate worlds?
  5. What exactly is the Grimmerie, and what does it represent in the narrative?
  6. How does the book define evil? Is Elphaba evil, according to the definitions of evil explored in the novel?
  7. The book often makes references to the classic 1939 movie in the text. How are these references used, and how are they significant in the narrative?
  8. The narrative jumps around and zeroes in on certain time periods in Elphaba's life. What might be significant about the periods of her life that we get in detail?
  9. How does Sarima and Elphaba's relationship develop over time? What themes are explored through their relationship?
  10. Elphaba spends most of the novel not believing in the existence of a "soul." What does Elphaba mean by "soul," and how is her lack of belief in one important, both in terms of her character and the novel as a whole?
  11. How does the tone of Volume 5: The Murder and Its Afterlife shift from the rest of the book, and what is the effect of this shift?
  12. Stylistically, does the novel the novel treat Elphaba and the persona of the Wicked Witch of the West as one person or as two separate entities? Or is it a mixture of both treatments? How are these stylistic choices significant?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...