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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

L. Frank Baum

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Course Hero. "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Study Guide." October 27, 2016. Accessed April 27, 2017. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Wonderful-Wizard-of-Oz/.

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | Chapter 3 : How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow | Summary

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Summary

As Dorothy prepares for her journey, she decides to wear the dead witch's silver shoes, which fit perfectly and won't wear out. She and Toto find the yellow brick road and set off through the pretty countryside. They spend the night with a rich Munchkin named Boq, who warns that the journey will be rough and dangerous in places.

The next morning Dorothy and Toto pause on their walk to look at a Scarecrow on a pole in the middle of a cornfield. To Dorothy's surprise the Scarecrow winks and then greets her, asking her to help him down from the pole. When Dorothy tells him where she's going, the Scarecrow asks if he can come with her. Being stuffed with straw, he has no brain and wants to ask the Wizard for one.

Analysis

Notice that the Scarecrow speaks in a "husky" voice. A husk is the protective outer layer of corn, and the Scarecrow stands in a cornfield. L. Frank Baum was a pun lover, and this example is one of many.

The Scarecrow fulfills an archetypal role in this book: that of the wise fool. Many myths from many cultures feature a character like this: unsophisticated and uneducated yet nonetheless wise by nature. Readers will see that although the Scarecrow has no actual brain, he's smart enough to solve a lot of problems for Dorothy and her friends.

The Scarecrow has a second symbolic function: like the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion, he yearns to be made whole. He's trapped at a crossroads, unable to move, when Dorothy finds him. On the journey to the Emerald City, his experiences will gradually reveal his intelligence. When the Wizard tells him that "experience is the only thing that brings knowledge," readers will see the truth of that statement.

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