Study Guide

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Chapter 15

By L. Frank Baum

Chapter 15

The Discovery of Oz, the Terrible

  • It's back to the Guardian of the Gates. He seems surprised to see the travelers back so soon. The Scarecrow explains that the witch is dead. The Guardian is super impressed.
  • Everyone puts on their special glasses and heads into the Emerald City.
  • The travelers are escorted back to their old rooms. They expect that Oz will want to see them at once, but he doesn't. In fact, days pass without word from the great wizard.
  • Everyone's getting impatient, so the Scarecrow sends Oz a message that they'll call the Winged Monkeys if he doesn't see them soon. With a quickness, Oz issues an invitation for them to meet him in the throne room the next day.
  • Morning comes, and the gang is excited. When they get to the throne room, they're surprised to see that no one's there. This time Oz appears as a disembodied voice.
  • Dorothy says they're ready to be rewarded for having completed their mission. Oz is all like, what mission?
  • She explains that she killed the witch and now she wants to return to Kansas, as promised.
  • Oz tell them he needs time to think everything over, but the gang feels like they've waited long enough. To scare Oz, the Lion roars loudly, frightening Toto.
  • Toto runs away and knocks down a screen. Suddenly a little old man comes into view. Wait, who's this guy?
  • The gang is confused. Gradually, it becomes clear that Oz is just this little man, who's been tricking them.
  • Dorothy and the others are angry. Oz asks them to hush. He doesn't want anyone to hear that he's a fraud.
  • The gang is really worried about what this means for their rewards. Oz is worried that the people of his kingdom will find out that he's a man, not a wizard. He's kicking himself for allowing the gang into his throne room.
  • Oz proceeds to show the travelers his bag of tricks, which includes a paper-mache head, a mask, and other disguises. He also explains that he's a ventriloquist. He threw his voice and used the props to create illusions.
  • He goes on to explain his backstory. Turns out Oz is from Omaha, Nebraska. He used to work as a ventriloquist and a hot-air balloonist at the circus.
  • One day, he lost control of his balloon. The next thing he knew, he was in Oz.
  • The people of Oz assumed that he was a wizard since he had come from the sky. He didn't correct them, and has been posing as a powerful wizard ever since.
  • After that, he ordered everyone to build the Emerald City…which isn't really green, by the way. People just think it's green because of the special glasses they have to wear.
  • Oz secluded himself and didn't receive many visitors after that. He was afraid of the witches because he knew they had real power.
  • That's why he sent Dorothy & Co. to kill the Wicked Witch of the West. He was afraid of her.
  • Oz explains that, since he's a regular man, he can't do much about the brain, the heart, the courage, or Kansas. The group finds this unacceptable.
  • Finally, Oz agrees to give the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Lion what they seek the following day. He might need a little extra time for Dorothy's wish, though.
  • Meanwhile, the "wizard" begs the group to keep his secret. He's deathly afraid of being found out.
  • The gang agrees. Dorothy will do about anything to get back to Kansas, even if it means forgiving such a deceitful man.