The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | Study Guide

L. Frank Baum

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | Chapter 19 : Attacked by the Fighting Trees | Summary



The next morning Dorothy and her friends leave the Emerald City and set out for the Land of the South. On their first day travel is easy and pleasant, but on the second day they come to a huge, thick wood. The Scarecrow is about to direct the party through some thick branches when the branches suddenly twine around him, throwing him to the ground.

The Woodman comes to the rescue by chopping through the next branch that tries to grab him. While the tree shakes in pain, the travelers run past it. None of the trees behind the first row puts up a fight, and the group safely exits the wood—only to find themselves blocked by a tall wall made of china.


Why don't the trees want to let Dorothy and her friends pass? Baum doesn't explain, making this brief chapter seem like a meaningless transition between the Emerald City and the China Country.

Baum's somewhat slapdash plotting method occasionally causes him to introduce story elements that, while picturesque, don't really go anywhere. Living trees—or, rather, trees that can move, feel pain, and occasionally speak—are fairly common in folktale and mythology. Baum has already made good use of many traditional details, and by now readers know that he has enough imagination to bring this scene to life. Chapter 19 feels like padding.

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