I recently compiled a list of ten great quotes from the various Oz stories – everything from Baum’s original tales to the 1939 movie to Wicked the Musical. But I couldn’t stop at just ten. Even if you’re not an Oz buff, I’m sure you can find a witty or meaningful quote in this bunch.
“Everything in life is unusual until you get accustomed to it.” The Scarecrow, from The Marvelous Land of Oz
“So much of me is made from what I learned from you. You’ll be with me, like a handprint on my heart.” Elphaba, from Wicked the Musical
This is one of the best quotes about friendship I’ve ever come across, and reminds us that a love story does not have to be about sex and romance.
“But in Oz we are loved for ourselves alone, and for our kindness to one another, and for our good deeds.” Princess Ozma, from The Road to Oz
Even in Oz society is not always as perfect as Ozma claims here, but to her credit, this is a creed that she herself lives by and employs as she rules her people. And here on earth we’d do well to keep this attitude more in our daily lives.
“Nothing’s impossible if you just put your mind to it.” Oz, from Oz the Great and Powerful
Just remember that if a small-town circus performer could defeat two wicked witches with this attitude, then you can do anything.
“The only way to do a thing
Is do it when you can,
And do it cheerfully, and sing
And work and think and plan.
The only really unhappy one
Is he who dares to shirk;
The only really happy one
Is he who cares to work.”
Johnny Dooit, from The Road to Oz
This little rhyme speaks the truth for itself, I think.
“A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” The Wizard, from The Wizard of Oz
This is so true. And one who is deeply loved usually can’t help but love in return.
“No one can be unlucky who has the intelligence to direct his own actions.” Scraps, from The Patchwork Girl of Oz
The stuffed patchwork doll named Scraps displays almost Scarecrow-level wisdom with this statement. Even in the most unfortunate of circumstances, we still have free will and can make choices.
“We get up at noon and start to work at one. Take an hour for lunch and then at two we’re done. Jolly good fun!” The citizens of Emerald City, from The Wizard of Oz
This is my kind of workday. Can I live here? This line is from the song “The Merry Old Land of Oz”; so if you’ve seen the movie, you now have that song in your head. You’re welcome.
“But those as knows the least have a habit of thinkin’ they know all there is to know, while them as knows the most admits what a turr’ble big world this is.” Cap’n Bill, from The Scarecrow of Oz
Sad but true. I’m sure we’ve all met an ignorant know-it-all or two.
“He had nine book-trees, on which grew a choice selection of story-books. …the books were picked and husked and ready to read. If they were picked too soon, the stories were found to be confused and uninteresting and the spelling bad. However, if allowed to ripen perfectly, the stories were fine reading and the spelling and grammar excellent.” from Tik-Tok of Oz
I love the magical land that Baum invented, where most anything you could want probably grows on a tree somewhere. I also love Baum’s not-so-subtle hint to aspiring authors everywhere: if you pick (publish) your book too soon, without giving it time to ripen (with rewriting, revising, and editorial help), then most readers will be confused, bored, or just get bogged down in grammatical errors.
“Eleka nahmen nahmen ah tum ah tum eleka nahmen.” Elphaba, from Wicked the Musical
I put this in here to be funny, because nobody knows what this means. And if you’ve seen Wicked, then you are now singing the song “No Good Deed.” You’re welcome.