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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

L. Frank Baum

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | Chapter 24 : Home Again | Summary

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Summary

Aunt Em has "just come out of the house to water the cabbages" when she spots Dorothy running toward her. She hugs and kisses her niece, saying, "My darling child! Where in the world did you come from?"

"From the Land of Oz," Dorothy answers. "And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I'm so glad to be at home again!"

Analysis

This last chapter is so brief that it might almost be an epilogue—a final comment on everything that's led up to the book's conclusion. Indeed the chapter could easily have been folded into the previous one. Why does Baum give these three short paragraphs their own chapter?

One reason may be that Baum wants to highlight the transformation in Aunt Em, who seems here like an entirely different person. Though Dorothy has often spoken of wanting to get home to Aunt Em, she has never described her aunt in any complimentary or loving way. The reader is only familiar with Aunt Em as a stiff, anxious, and unexciting woman. The chore she comes out to do in Chapter 24 is as prosaic as can be, but the excited, loving welcome Aunt Em gives her niece is warmly emotional. She calls Dorothy "My child!" as if she were Dorothy's real mother.

The aunt's excitement contrasts with Dorothy's seriousness when she tells her aunt where she's been, an indication that both characters have changed—one softening, the other maturing:

"Where in the world did you come from?"
"From the land of Oz," said Dorothy, gravely.

In a delightfully realistic touch, Dorothy points out Toto's presence. Her aunt can surely see the dog for herself, but Dorothy wants Toto included in the welcome home—something he's certainly earned.

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