Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
by Gregory Maguire
Versions of Reality Quotes in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Volume.Chapter.Paragraph) and (Volume.Chapter.Section.Paragraph)
At night she tried to train herself to look on the periphery of her dreams, to note the details. It was a little like trying to see around the edges of a mirror, but, she found, more rewarding.
But what did she get? Everything flickered, like a guttering candle, but more harshly, more stridently. ... Buildings were high and cruel. Winds were strong. The Wizard stepped in and out of these pictures, a very humble-looking man in this context. (5.11.33-34)
Elphaba's weird dreams are a huge shift for her character. She spends the bulk of the novel a raging skeptic and doubts that she even has an imagination. Here, though, she's actually analyzing her dreams and accepts that they have value.
When the Witch realized what he was approaching, she tried to back out of the dream with a howl, but could not manage to disengage herself. This was the mythical ocean, and the Wizard walked into water. (5.11.35)
This detail about the Wizard trying to drown himself is hugely important and ties into a lot of themes. First off, the water motif makes yet another appearance here, and it raises the question as to whether Elphaba's water-phobia is a result of the Wizard's failed suicide. We also like the detail that the ocean is a "myth" in Oz. Oz is a mythical world from our perspective, so it's cool that our world is mythic from theirs.
The other notable thing about this quote is that it ties in to themes of personal change and evolution. The Wizard was a bum and became a hugely powerful dictator. Not to get too Forrest Gump here, but there's really no telling how people are going to end up.
His avenging angel had come to call him home. A suicide was waiting for him back in his own world, and by now he ought to have learned enough to get through it successfully. (5.18.7)
The diction here is kind of odd – the Wizard calls Dorothy an "avenging angel," but she's also calling him home for a suicide. She might be more of a vengeful angel in that case. Or else she isn't "avenging" the Wizard but is avenging those he wronged.