Study Guide

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Volume 4, Chapter 1, Part 1

By Gregory Maguire

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Volume 4, Chapter 1, Part 1

The Voyage Out

  • We've jumped forward in time seven years.
  • A woman named Sister Bursar is making final travel arrangements for a fellow nun with a woman named Oatsie Manglehand.
  • Oatsie's passenger is named Sister Aelphaba, who has "spent years in solitary life and in nursing" (
  • Sister Aelphaba is going to the Vinkus and she is mysteriously accompanied by a young boy.
  • The Sister tells Oatsie to call her Elphie.
  • So the motley crew sets off on their journey and joins a caravan of travelers heading to the Vinkus frontier.
  • Elphie spends her time thinking and writing in her journal. She feels like she's waking up after a very long sleep.
  • Elphie enjoyed her time as a nun, doing mindless labor and nursing the dying.
  • She tended to Tibbett, her college friend who had suffered a breakdown after the Philosophy Club incident and died a broken man under Elphaba's care.
  • The Superior Maunt finally threw Elphaba out, telling her to go atone for her sins and relieve her burden of guilt. This is like The Sound of Music after all! Kind of.
  • The caravan has a cook, who has a dog named Killjoy. That's a bit too reminiscent of Cujo for our liking.
  • But the little boy likes the dog and introduces himself to Killjoy as Liir.
  • Elphaba and the cook don't get along very well.
  • But Elphie makes friends with a beehive and brings the bee community along on the journey.
  • The other Oregon Trail passengers are not thrilled with this.
  • One night the group of travelers gets into a debate about the Kumbric Witch legends.
  • Elphie says that "The question is, does the Kumbric Witch believe in you?" (

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