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Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige Free Essay


Danielle Paige is an American writer, best known for her cycle Dorothy Must Die in the retelling genre (“retelling” is a transcription of famous fairy tales). Dorothy Must Die was published in 2014 and opened a cycle of the same name telling the story of Amy Gumm, a Kansas girl, who was sent to Oz country, which appeared different than the one illustrated in the original work of The Wizard of Oz. This is Paige’s debut novel written in the fantasy genre and critics praise her for the unusual capture of their favorite story. Dorothy Must Die with a rebirth type of plot and a retelling manner of the known tale The Wizard of Oz is the depiction of how a person embodied through the protagonist Amy can be changed under the pressure of circumstances.

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Dorothy Must Die written by Danielle Paige has an interesting and not complicated rebirth type of plot, which was chosen due to the initial narration of The Wizard of Oz, to which a retelling was made. It is a rebirth type of plot because the main protagonist Amy changed from a humiliated and weak girl into a strong and courageous one under the influence of circumstances. The main character is a teenage girl named Amy Gumm who is a high-school student initially depicted as a victim of school mourning because of sluggishness and lack of money, “Madison Pendleton still found ways of making my life miserable” (Paige 2). Amy sometimes wants to leave Kansas and move to Oz, which is well-known for Princess Dorothy. Soon Amy’s dreams come true and after a strong tornado, her trailer is transferred to that country. Dorothy Must Die is a fantastic retelling of the well-known tale The Wizard of Oz, which in some way complements the initial story and continues it by changing the characters’ roles and plot.

In the part when Amy is in Oz country, the author begins to describe the real obstacles, she faces. Firstly, the protagonist discovers that Dorothy is a wicked princess who leads the country to destruction, so Amy decides to save people and kill the ruler. To get to the final destination, namely Emerald City, she faces with obstacles such as imprisonment by Tin Woodman and after-meeting with arrogant Dorothy. Then the author describes that all circumstances promote Amy to struggle against Dorothy by whom she had been so impressed; the support of witches and the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked make Amy a maid in Dorothy’s palace giving her the possibility to kill a wicked princess and make the city free from her devastating ruling. Here the writer turns all positive characters from the initial tale (Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Ozma, Dorothy) into negative ones (Maughan). However, the end of the story is unexpected and Dorothy manages to escape in the battle with Amy, so there is a continuation of that narration in the next book. Therefore, in the part about Amy’s travel and being in Emerald City, the reader sees Amy as another person who becomes brave and is ready to save the country from cruel Dorothy.

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Main Paige’s motivation to write this fantasy retelling is to continue the famous story about Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz by changing the appointment and the heroes’ roles and making the science fiction genre from a fairy tale. The theme of the story is that person can be changed under the pressure of circumstances. In my opinion, the author coped with this purpose and completely changed the genre of primary history from the children’s fairy tale into a real fantasy tale not only for children but also for adults. Paige’s interpretation of The Wizard of Oz newly discovered heroes and the image of Emerald City. The author filled the plot with elements of good and evil, which are more modernized in the present society where child abuse at school is a rather frequent phenomenon. The main protagonist learns how to act in different difficult situations and that is important to not trust anybody. Consequently, Dorothy Must Die is a successful retelling of The Wizard of Oz where the writer represented the initial characters from the new side.


The science fiction Dorothy Must Die is a retelling of the well-known tale The Wizard of Oz, which shows how a person can be changed under the events of their life. There are two main locations in the novel, namely Kansas and Oz (Emerald City), which created a complete contrast between good and evil. However, Paige in her story changed the aim of both destinations because in the original tale, Kansas was Dorothy’s hometown which does not want to leave and Emerald City became the challenge for her when she made each effort to return home. Dorothy Must Die shows Kansas as a place, which makes Amy suffer and she wants to find a new living place, although she cannot even dream that she would ever go to Oz, but is very surprised at the terrible situation of that country. Therefore, Paige’s interpretation of the tale The Wizard of Oz is characterized by changing roles of both main places where the events take place.

The transformation of the favorite hero Dorothy into the filled darkness and the hatred of evil make Paige’s work interesting not only for children’s reading but for adults as well. In one of her interviews, the author mentioned that “At first I was really afraid of it because she is such a beloved character, but I like the idea of taking someone you love and turning them a little darker. As a writer, it was fascinating for me” (Truitt). The division of the history of teenager Amy into separate books not only in some way continues the narration about the well-known Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz, but also depicts how the plot can be changed if the characters would be transformed from positive into negative. Making Dorothy a negative hero, Paige to a certain extent draws the plot of the original work where a little girl has to save the country from evil adding elements of modern American teenagers and combining it with details of science fiction. This version of the work is much more in-depth than the original story and, in my opinion, cannot be recommended for reading by children under eleven or twelve since it contains elements of booting and brutality. Consequently, it is needed to mention that Dorothy Must Die not only interprets the original narration but also reflects how the plot can be developed if changing the protagonists’ roles.

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The author perfectly shows the transition from good to evil based on the character of Dorothy stressing how power can change the human’s initial intentions. Even though the work does not indicate that Dorothy becomes a cruel princess just because she has received unlimited power or wealth; still, judging by the heroes’ behavior, it becomes obvious that this is true. Reflecting that the girl has changed and becomes the leader of the country, the writer seems to convey a hidden message to the reader that a person becomes greedy and heartless when they receive excessive wealth. At this stage, the reader sees a repeat of fate and a role change; once Dorothy competes with an evil witch to become a servant in the castle and fails first to attempt destruction, but now Amy is sent to perform this mission against Dorothy who seems to be the personality of an evil witch (Mughmad). Some hidden themes are also depicted under the context, namely, friendship, love, betrayal, envy, motherhood, and illusion. The theme of illusion is reflected the most clearly among others because Amy created a special illusion that Oz’s country or another one would be better than her own and has a chance to start a life from the beginning (Sperstad). Therefore, there is a clear transition between the good and the evil represented in the character of Dorothy.


The book Dorothy Must Die written by Danielle Paige is a perfectly structured science fiction narration, which is based on the struggle between good and evil. If to read the part about Dorothy being in Oz, it seems that the author just retells the plot by changing the characters, but is not completely so. Paige gets her point across by adding cruelty to the characters’ actions where murder and injustices play a crucial role. The reflection of Dorothy as a wicked princess resembles an evil witch from The Wizard of Oz, but she embodies more cruelty rather than in the tale, so it is not aimed directly at the childish audience. Oz is twisted into a dark weary piece and even attractive characters, such as Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow become powerful and terrible beings, which are ready for murder and awful things. Therefore, the narration about Amy is based on the fight against evil.

It is undoubtedly that the book deserves to be read widely and gain a critical understanding of the subject. Even though it retells the tale, it needs to be read by every person who likes fantasy and adventures. In books from the genre of science fiction, which are still the interpretations of the original works, it is really difficult to find morals or messages, but this book from the first lines shows the individual’s formation under certain circumstances. At the beginning of the story, the reader sees Amy as a weak personality who is unable to protect her and seems to have lost purpose in life through peers’ constant abuses and lack of money. Then, the main character’s true essence opens when she falls into Emerald City and sees all injustice and bullying. Starting from this stage and until the end of the book, Amy has a real chance to stop the evil considering the fact of how long she suppressed her peers’ offenses and material situation. Consequently, I recommend reading the book Dorothy Must Die to others as it contains the real story of changes, which reveals the strong personality under the pressure of circumstances.


In conclusion, the fantasy Dorothy Must Die written by Danielle Paige in a rebirth type of plot is a retelling of the tale The Wizard of Oz that shows how the human character can be changed due to special circumstances. Paige’s version of the tale The Wizard of Oz is characterized by changing roles of both main places and characters where the events take place. The part of narration about Amy’s travel to Emerald City shows a brave protagonist who is ready to save the country from cruel Dorothy. The novel is a masterpiece, which should be read by everyone who prefers adventures and fantasy with the combination of the story about changes from a weak and vulnerable girl into a strong and brave fighter for justice.

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