Literature Study GuidesWickedBook 5 Parts 12 14 Summary

Wicked | Study Guide

Gregory Maguire

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Wicked | Book 5, Parts 12–14 : The Murder and Its Afterlife | Summary

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Summary

Book 5, Part 12

Liir returns from a visit to the nearby soldier's camp and reports that Dorothy and her friends have visited the Wizard. The Scarecrow asks the Wizard for a brain, Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman, asks for a heart, and the Lion asks for courage. Dorothy wants only to go home. The Wizard agrees to grant their requests only if they bring him proof of Elphaba's death. He says the Gale Force is too superstitious to bother Dorothy because her last name is Gale. Liir is eager to meet Dorothy. He asks Elphaba what she would ask from the Wizard, and Elphaba says, "A soul." Liir says he would ask the Wizard for a father.

Book 5, Part 13

Elphaba is shocked by her answer because she thinks she doesn't believe in the soul or the Unnamed God. She considers the benefits of belief and the damage it has done to her father and her sister. She finds Lurlinism more accessible and human and considers whether the Unnamed God needs a name.

Book 5, Part 14

Elphaba awaits Dorothy's arrival, while Liir hangs around the barracks seeking information. He returns one night upset because a soldier jokes about having sex with Dorothy when she arrives. The soldier is beaten, castrated, and strapped to a windmill while still alive. Elphaba goes to the windmill after nightfall and kills the soldier.

Elphaba wonders if the Lion traveling with Dorothy is the same cub who escaped Dr. Nikidik's lab in Shiz. She wonders if the Tin Woodman is the same woodman whose axe Nessarose cursed. Then she wonders if the Scarecrow might be Fiyero in disguise all these years after surviving his attack. With this possibility in mind, she sends Killyjoy out to find the travelers and guide them to Kiamo Ko.

Analysis

Liir's news from the soldiers' barracks and Elphaba's theories about Dorothy's party highlight how events and people can be connected in unlikely ways. Whether these connections provide evidence of predestination or just a universal sense of cause and effect remains ambiguous. Dorothy is connected to the Wizard through the name Gale—and a gale force wind can also give rise to a tornado. Elphaba is connected to the Lion through the lab at Shiz and to the Tin Woodman through her sister's curses.

In light of these connections, it is not unreasonable that Elphaba hopes for a similar connection with the Scarecrow. But her theory about their connection hints that she is unraveling a bit. Fiyero's body was never found, true, but to think he might have gone into hiding as a scarecrow for 15 years stretches logic past its limit. Because Elphaba is desperate to be absolved for her past mistakes, she constructs an elaborate fantasy to comfort her as she waits for the young girl who is reportedly coming to kill her.

As always, Elphaba denies the existence of the soul but for the first time expresses a desire for one. Yet her actions show evidence that she already has a soul, or at least a sense of goodness. The soldier strapped to the windmill doesn't just joke about having sex with Dorothy; he suggests a gang rape. This suggestion is reprehensible, but so is the retribution. Elphaba recognizes the disproportional violence visited upon this soldier, so she kills him to end his suffering. She does so in the dead of night, as if she is afraid someone—perhaps Liir—will discover she is less fearsome than she appears.

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