Study Guide

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

By Gregory Maguire


Home and family are major themes in The Wizard of Oz, in a rather schmaltzy kind of way. (Hey, we can't be the only ones who wondered why Dorothy wanted so badly to go back to dusty, sepia-toned Kansas.) Family in Wicked is much less Disney Channel and much more HBO: it's messy, it's complicated, it's cruel, and it's inescapable. The two families we see prominently, Elphaba's and Sarima's, are dysfunctional, resentful, and competitive, but ultimately loving. Family relations drive characters' behavior and actions, and we particularly see this with Elphaba.

Questions About Family

  1. Elphaba tells Glinda that she's glad she and Nessa had a mother, for however short a time ( How did having a mother impact Elphaba's life?
  2. What do Elphaba and Nessarose's physical abnormalities represent?
  3. What sort of family dynamics do we see at work in the circle of friends at Shiz?
  4. How are themes of family and guilt linked together for Elphaba?