Study Guide

The Wizard of Oz Family

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Family

AUNTIE EM: Here, here, can't work on an empty stomach. Have some crullers.

Auntie Em is certainly cold, but she's not heartless. This little snippet of dialogue early on, delivered just after she's chewed the farmhands out, is our first sign that she's really a decent sort… someone worth fighting through Wicked Witches to get home to. And crullers, yum.

DOROTHY: I once had the measles. She sat by me the whole time.

We never see the good things that Aunt Em does for Dorothy, and indeed Dorothy seems to have forgotten it amid the whole "we're going to let your dog get dragged off to die" unpleasantness. Her revelation here reminds her that Auntie Em is really a pretty good family member, and prompts her initial, aborted return home.

PROFESSOR MARVEL: Poor little kid, I hope she gets home all right.

The first sign that family isn't just blood relatives. Professor Marvel's worried about her and wants her to be safe, so much so that he shows up at the end of the film just to make sure she got home okay.

WITCH: Who killed my sister? Who killed the Witch of the East?! Was it you?!

The Witch of the West doesn't need a whole lot of motivation to be evil. The woman clearly loves her job, but what motive we do see is also bound up in family. A bit of the villain mirroring the hero, even if the shoes are all that really matter to her.

DOROTHY: Oh, you're the best friends anybody ever had. And it's funny, but I feel as if I'd known you all the time, but I couldn't have, could I?

Yet again, Dorothy links the people in Oz to their counterparts back home. This time, she stresses how important her Oz friends are to her, and by extension that they're her family too. Sweet kid, that Dorothy.

DOROTHY: Auntie Em was so good to me. And I never appreciated it. Running away and hurting her feelings. Professor Marvel said she was sick. She may be dying and it's all my fault. I'll never forgive myself. Never, never, never.

The kid may be a little hard on herself—she ran away to protect Toto, which Aunt Em couldn't do—but it emphasizes the importance of family in her motives. You say something like that, we believe you'll go through forty kinds of nightmare to get back to the person you're talking about.

WIZARD: A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.

The Wizard sums up the movie's feelings about family, and what represents a family, pretty darn nicely here. You're not in it for yourself. You're in it for the people who you care about. They care about you too, and if you take care of them, they're gonna have your back when the flying monkeys attack.

COWARDLY LION: Stay with us, then, Dorothy. We all love you. We don't want you to go.

This is the real heartbreaker in the film: she's got to choose between two sets of families. It suggests that her trip home comes with a price, and just as she wins back what she lost, she has to give up something to get it. It stinks, but unfortunately, life has a way of working like that sometimes.

DOROTHY: I think I'm going to miss you most of all.

If you're not weeping like a newborn babe at this point, check your pulse because you might be dead. There's no better definition of family than crying when you leave them, which means the Scarecrow (and the others) have officially made the grade.

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