Study Guide

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Volume 1, Chapter 6

By Gregory Maguire

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Volume 1, Chapter 6

Geographies of Things Unseen

  • As the title indicates, this chapter has a lot to do with maps, so stay tuned for an Oz geography lesson.
  • First, we catch up with Frex and Nanny.
  • Melena shyly greets her long-absent husband, referring to him as her "breastplate" and her "backbone." Is she being ironic or sincere?
  • Elphaba is also shy around her father. He tries to win her over with a gift: a carved wooden bird.
  • Frex is happy to be home after doing the hermit thing in the woods for a while. But he is bummed with Elphaba snaps the wings off her toy bird.
  • Turtle Heart notes that "She is herself pleased at the half things" (1.6.12).
  • Then Turtle Heart asks Frex to explain the wide world of Oz to him. Turtle Heart's community in Quadling Country was very isolated and he doesn't know anything about the rest of Oz.
  • So Frex handily tells us all about Oz, and there's more to it than just the Emerald City and Munchkinland. There's also Gillikin, up north in the mountains, an economic and cultural hub.
  • Munchkinland is farmland (think the Midwest) and Quadling Country is swampland. Finally there's "Winkie Country," or the Vinkus, an isolated steppe and mountainous region.
  • The men then discuss religion. Turtle Heart isn't familiar with Unionism, so Frex tries to convert him by ranting about the hot new religious fad: "tiktokism," in a call-back to the Clock of the Time Dragon. Frex should probably work on his sales pitch, because Turtle Heart isn't overcome with Unionist sympathy here.
  • Instead Turtle Heart asks if Frex needs to lie down for a bit, since he seems agitated.
  • The discussion then turns to politics in Oz. Oz is run by the Ozma, or the queen.
  • Nanny says the Ozma is the fairy queen Lurline's daughter. Frex says this is stupid.
  • The current Ozma is Ozma Tippetarius, who is only around Elphaba's age, so Oz is currently being run by her father, the Ozma Regent.
  • Fun fact: a "regent" is someone who rules for the actual king or queen when they are too young to actually be the king or queen. No one wants a toddler passing laws, after all.
  • The chapter closes with Nanny explaining that a dragon is asleep beneath Oz and the "dragon dreamt the world" (1.6.66).
  • Elphaba then bares her teeth and growls like a little dragon baby. Symbolism alert.

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