The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | Study Guide

L. Frank Baum

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | Chapter 10 : The Guardian of the Gate | Summary



The Lion finally wakes up, and once again the four friends and Toto set off down the yellow brick road. The houses and fences they pass are now painted green; the people they see are all dressed in green. The travelers stop at one house and ask the woman who answers the door if they can get a meal and spend the night. She agrees.

The next afternoon they reach the wall of the Emerald City—"thick, high, and green." A green-hued man opens the gate. He warns them that the Great Wizard, Oz, is "most terrible." He gives them all green eyeglasses to wear so they won't be blinded by the "brightness and glory" of the city. Then he leads them through the portal into Emerald City.


Later in the story Dorothy will discover that the Emerald City is not actually green; the required green eyeglasses are what fool everyone. So what is the "green glow in the sky" that the friends notice as they get closer to the city? And since the travelers see the gatekeeper before they're inside the city wall, why is his skin green?

This kind of inconsistency has troubled readers for over a century. Though it makes little difference to the story, Baum is not the most careful of authors. In a letter to his publishers he explains that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz "really seemed to write itself." Perhaps the flow of inspiration prevented him from noticing small logical errors as he wrote.

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