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  • Essays A-O
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Lindsey Baggott: All of the stories that humans create for themselves, the stories that society as a whole creates for humans, and the stories that “higher powers” - including government and religious figures - create for the society as a whole do nothing except blind the people to the true issues of the world, and give them a superficial sense of comfort from the horrors of life. The ramifications of these justifying stories stem from the fact that, without the knowledge that something is inherently wrong with a social construct, nothing will be done to catalyze a change in that social construct. This essay will argue that the social structure of Oz, which is brought to the public's attention in Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, can be analyzed through this lens.

Brandi Bramlett: “Necessarily Evil: Defining ‘Wicked’ in the Face of Amoral Authority” explores the relationship between the defined and the definer of good versus evil. The conflict between Elphaba and the Wizard is defined by their moral conflict and the socio-political fallout. It is possible still to define “wicked;” however, the really question is “to whose interest does it serve?” Who is defining what is “wicked” and why?

Ky Cochran: “In This Way Wicked: Elphaba as Bad Mother” explores the character Elphaba in her role of bad mother. In doing so, her relationships with her mother and other mother figures are discussed in terms of how they created the Elphaba who became mother to Liir. As “bad” mothers cannot be discussed without “good” mothers and neither can be discussed without taking into account larger cultural context, those topics also feature.

Dria Cross: Even though Wicked: The Musical and Wicked are very different as far as plot is concerned, this paper argues that they both carry many of the same themes and ideas. Themes and ideas such as ambiguity and human nature, the nature of good and evil, the nature of truth, fate and destiny versus free will, civil rights, and even different religions and philosophies are very prevalent in both pieces. This paper argues this point and takes several different songs from the musical to show these weighty themes and ideas. The take away of this is for people to realize that this is important, and not to disregard the musical for its differences in plot and the fact that the major themes and ideas are slightly diluted.

Margaret Eby: As there is history to all literature, there is history to Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The most iconic works in the timeline of origin for Wicked are the 1939 film version, The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming, and the original children’s modern fairy tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum and released in 1900. Each telling or retelling reflects the society into which it was born and the social values and standards under which the culture operated. “History, Literature, Values and the Self” aims to chronicle the political events of each era in which these major works were released and presenting the import each has in exploring social and cultural values as well as the values, identities and roles of the self in society. After all, as Maguire himself writes, “The story is told in so many ways, depending on who is doing the telling, and what needs to be heard at the time.

Dana Elia: Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West is a responsive and creative look at the story behind all the components of Oz from L. Frank Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This paper goes into detail about Maguire’s novel and how it leaves the reader with the question of what it takes to be “Wicked” and what the true definition of “Wicked” truly is. It also discusses the affects of the social stigmas placed upon her and subsequently how she responds psychologically through her actions.

Olivia Fehrenbacher: This is a research- and analytically-based representation of feminism through the timeline of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Wizard of Oz, and Wicked.The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to Wicked: A Timeline of Feminism” centers around the idea that the female characters of each work is representative of the women of the twentieth century. The reader will discover the cultural prevalence within this text while, at the same time, developing a greater appreciation for the literary piece itself.


Samantha Parks:Wicked: Postcolonial Turmoil in the 'Other' Oz,” focuses on Animals; racism; Frex's work with the Quadlings and religion; Fiyero; and, of course, Elphaba. The goal is to argue that one of Maguire's main purposes in writing Wicked may have been to highlight sociopolitical inequities in order to advocate for human rights. This can be seen through a comparison of the trials of key characters to the trials of those living in real-world postcolonial environments. The reader will hopefully understand the novel's ties to real-world issues and debates, and learn to view Wicked as nothing short of a postcolonial masterpiece; they will learn from it, dispel the ideas of Otherness that divide nations and races, and no longer allow terror to reign.

Jordan Pennington: As this essay will show, while previous explorations of Oz have left Nessarose, the Wicked Witch of the East, as possessing the status of being “the other witch”, Gregory Maguire’s Wicked reintroduces the character in a significant way. Careful psychoanalysis of her character reveals Nessarose to be a young woman with a very precise set of mental peculiarities that define her as a character of textual importance even if she is still somewhat habitually overlooked. Ultimately, it can be realized that Nessarose embodies the same central theme of dualistic good and evil as the other Witches of Oz, thus not only deserving our attention as readers, but demanding it.

Joseph Sparks: This paper explores the sexuality of Oz, as represented in Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, and how it ultimately affects the inhabitants. Whether it be the scandal between Fiyero and Elphaba or the consequences of the “Pleasure Faith,” we will take a walk down the road that explores how homosexuality is treated as a better “status” than most (if not all) of the heterosexual relationships in the novel.

Katie Stelte: This essay is about how many paths Elphaba could take in Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked. It gives details of the certain paths and how free will and her choices make her become who she is. Elphaba could have been born into many paths in which she could take, but makes different choices against these paths to the very end. Predestination and free will are a big part of our society now, yet Maguire makes the two ideas not about religion, but really about life.

Sara Stuehm:“Predestination versus Free Will: Elphaba’s Decline into Wickedness” is about Gregory Maguire’s dark and twisted interpretation of L. Frank Baum’s original presentation of The Wizard of Oz. Maguire shifts the focus to the protagonist, Elphaba, and the ultimate question of her wickedness. This essay describes Elphaba’s gradual, yet sinister process towards truly embodying the Wicked Witch of the West due to the negative influences of society and Elphaba’s predestined fate.

Nicole Suedbeck:In my paper, titled “Social Influence: Nature vs. Nurture,” I talk about Elphaba’s life, focusing on the nature vs. nutrture aspect of how society views her. The reader sees that Elphaba is Wicked, but how did she get there? The views on society, also known as nurture, are what make Elphaba to become the wicked witch she turns out to be in the end. You see all of what she has become when it all comes crashing down. She admits to being trapped in a contract of guilt, and that is the guilt of the pressure society (and her family) put on her for being different.

Ashley Zozokos: Wicked is a novel that surrounds the idea of power. Whether it is Elphaba’s struggle with good and evil or the political turmoil of Oz, Maguire clearly depicts a world in which power is the determining factor. However, rather than depict typical roles among the sexes, Maguire instead depicts a world in which women are just as powerful if not more powerful than men. And whether the women (Elphaba, Glinda, Sarima, and Madame Morrible) defy or meet these expectations, it is Maguire’s exploration of power in women that is crucial to understanding the world of Oz. “Power and Women in the Wonderful Land of Oz,” explores this idea and attempts to answer the question of what is women’s power, how is it achieved or illustrated in the novel, and finally, why is it important.

Lindsey BaggottLindsey Baggott is a sophomore secondary English Education major. She was born in southern Illinois, but has since migrated to Springfield, Illinois where she completed most of her pre-college education. She hopes to teach in back in Springfield when she graduates until she earns enough money to move to Texas, where it is warmer. Lindsey loves to read and write for the pure enjoyment of it, and cannot wait to pass this love onto her students.

Brandi BramlettBrandi Bramlett is currently a second-year student in Millikin University’s prestigious English Education program. After she graduates with her degree in late 2013, she plans on pursuing careers that align her interests in education, English, technology, and the Internet. Other possible futures include (but are not limited to): writing a novel, designing video games, marketing, publishing, event planning, customer service, and online collaboration. Above all, Brandi would be content to just sit down and read every book in the world. In relation to Wicked, Brandi enjoys word play—especially when Elphaba states, “I’ve told you before, I don’t comprehend religion, although conviction is a concept I’m beginning to get. In any case, someone with a real religious conviction is, I propose, a religious convict, and deserves locking up.”

Ky CochranKy Cochran has recently become a writing major and is so excited that she’s telling everyone she sees (or doesn’t see), including strangers. A twice-published poet, she almost has bragging rights. She accredits her trouble with writing more publishable works to Bollywood, which shamelessly eats all her time - not that she’s complaining, mind you. In any case, if this biography has been entirely uninformative, that’s because there is hardly any information to share.

Dria CrossDria Cross is a Sophomore at Millikin University where she is pursuing an English Education Major and a minor in Theatre. She loves to write poetry and the occasional novel that she never finishes, enjoys poetry slams and spoken word, attempts to act, and just finished designing costumes for Gutenberg! The Musical! She also enjoys work in the Costume Shop, where she gets to work on costumes for all of the main stage shows at Millikin. She is one of the founding members of Teen Writers and Artists Project, which can be found at www.teenwritersandartists.ning.com. She comes from a family of six, including both her mother and her father, a younger brother, and two younger sisters. She enjoys Wicked, and has seen the musical four times. All in all, she is a creative soul, who hopes to one day be free of her student loans so she can spend her summers writing and working in community theatres.

Margaret EbyMargaret Eby has three main passions in life: music, nature, and writing about those things. When she’s not spending inordinate amounts of time on the NPR website or enjoying the outdoors, she’s busy writing music reviews for The Decaturian’s column “Hear First,” working the best coffee shop job in the world at Wildflour Bakery, or being Irish. Margaret’s love for music journalism led to her current major, English-Writing, that she certainly hopes to finish in four years. In the meantime, she’ll just dream about being in the mountains, working for Bob Boilen at NPR and endless waterfalls of coffee. Tune in, turn on, chill out.

Dana EliaDana Elia is a Secondary English Education major. After she graduates, she has hopes to become a volunteer for the Peace Corps, and eventually attend grad school. Dana is a true believer in that everything happens for a reason, and she cannot wait to see where she ends up. She is an avid reader, runner, and team member for the Millikin University Women’s Soccer team. Dana takes pleasure in spending her free time with the family and friends she was blessed with.

Olivia FehrenbacherOlivia Fehrenbacher is a senior English Education major at Millikin University. She has always had a fascination with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and she is excited to write and design a casebook on that very subject. Along with being a lover of writing and literature, Olivia also enjoys listening to and playing music, hanging out with her cat, and drinking an unhealthy amount of cinnamon flavored coffee. Check out Olivia’s band website at: http://englandchambers.com/

Samantha ParksSamantha Parks is currently a junior at Millikin University, where she is pursuing an ACS certified degree in Chemistry Research, as well as an English Writing minor. She loves to write and draw tattoo designs. Her most cherished memories are of stomping around in her grandpa's giant, musty old boots. To this day she still loves motorcycles and the smell of leather. Her breakfasts usually consist of cookies and cigarettes and she's pretty sure her blood is made of Dr. Pepper and nicotine. Needless to say, she's a bit zany but all around a very interesting and compassionate individual who, though quiet, will boldly speak her mind in the face of inequity.

Jordan PenningtonJordan Pennington is a sophomore English Education major, Theatre minor, and Honors student from Kingston, Illinois who enjoys knitting, muppets, and hugs. When not working at the Writing Center or relaxing in the lovely Weck Hall, he moonlights as an amateur novelist, having somewhat recently completed a very meta sort of snarky, young adult-ish, vaguely angsty, fantasy-ish page turner titled Cat’s Eye Dreaming, which can be purchased as an e-book at http://www.amazon.com/Cats-Eye-Dreaming-ebook/dp/B005I6563W/.

Joseph SparksJoseph Sparks grew up in the southern bread basket of Illinois where a wild hillbilly can (and will) appear at any time. While discovering his own saucy and sarcastic voice in the classroom and in his papers, he developed a love for literature and written expression (cough, cough - redundant?).  After the looming threat of higher education stormed the skies of a small town, his mother (a Giraffe) and father (a Zebra) decided that, after high school, he would stay at home and rule as the prince of Cornopolis until the current Tyrant of the Kernel passed away. Fearing a life of corn fritters, corn on the cob, cream corn, fried corn, frozen corn, and peasants to please, he ran away to the kingdom of Millikin University to study Secondary Education. He is currently holing up in a local dorm and working as a CNA to sate the coffers of the MU Fiefdom. One day, he will become an English-teaching King with an army of scarecrows and farmers at his disposal. Sooooooooo, if this man appears in the wild before you, do not throw a rock at him, do not throw a piece of candy at him, and DEFINITELY do not try catching him in a pokeball. You will rue the day.

Katie StelteKatie Stelte is a sophomore Secondary English Education major. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her friends, and listening to music. Katie is from Springfield, IL, but went to school in Pleasant Plains. She plans to be a high school teacher for a few years after graduating and hopefully will move up to teach college. She loves to read the classics and sci-fi. Her favorite book is The Great Gatsby, and her favorite show is Doctor Who. She is a member of Alpha Chi Omega and the English Club.

Sara StuehmSara Stuehm enjoys running, yoga, hanging out with friends, and immersing herself in a thrilling novel or movie when she has spare time. She is a junior at Millikin University, and she is studying Secondary English Education with a minor in Spanish. Sara plans on attending graduate school to become a high school English teacher, (eventually) a college professor, and an author in the future. While studying at Millikin University, she also works at the university Writing Center and is a member of Delta Delta Delta.

Nicole SuedbeckNicole Suedbeck is a Junior Early Childhood Education major at Millikin University from Machesney Park, Illinois. Aside from her education, soccer is what takes up the rest of her time. She plays for the Millikin Women’s Soccer team. When home, she works at a children’s home for mentally handicapped children. With many things in mind that she wants to do after graduation, she is hoping to get her Master’s degree in Social Work and work with abused children.

Ashley ZozokosAshley Zozokos is a junior Music Education major with an English endorsement at Millikin University. She was born and raised in Glendale Heights. At college, she is a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi Omega, Up Til Dawn’s executive board, Homecoming Committee, and Millikin’s Swim Team. Ashley enjoys music, reading, theatre, sports, and her job, surprisingly. She hopes to join the Peace Corps and attend graduate school after completing her degrees at Millikin.

Dr. Tony MagagnaDr. Tony R. Magagna is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Millikin
University, specializing in modern and contemporary American literature. In addition to EN202: Writing About Literature, Dr. Magagna currently teaches a variety of literature courses at MU, including classes on American Road literature, contemporary American regionalism, and modern American drama. He has also taught courses on multiethnic literature, the modern novel, and American popular culture. Alongside his adventures in the classroom, Dr. Magagna’s scholarship focuses on the literature of region and place, particularly in the American West.