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L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz: The Secrets Behind The Story

2131 words - 9 pages

Everyone will remember the story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; lovely Dorothy gets swept away by a terrible tornado, lands in a town full of little munchkins, marches down a yellow brick road and meets a scarecrow, a tin man, and lion, is almost killed by a wicked witch, then finally makes her way back to Kansas by clicking her hills three times saying, “I wish I were home”. But is that really the entire story? Shouldn’t there be more? Well, to answer that question, there is more to this story. It’s not just about a girl from Kansas getting swept away by a tornado to the wonderful Land of Oz. L. Frank Baum painted a beautiful picture of life and politics in America during the late 1800s. Being a political man himself, it was right and just for him to include this in this timeless classic. Each person in the novel represents someone or something during this time in American history. Each of the main characters and places will be discussed, Kansas, Dorothy, Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, the Companions, and the Wizard
Baum, himself, was a vastly interesting fellow. He grew up with a fascination of fairy tales, like most kids today. His father was a rich oilman, and did not like Baum’s interest in fairy tales, so he sent him to military school. This only made Baum worst, and they arranged to have him sent home due to his unstable health conditions. When he returned home, he found in writing and began to publish is own paper entitled The Rose Lawn Home Journal. Baum enjoyed it so much, that he began writing in several different newspapers and magazines. As he grew up, he became a political writer for the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer newspaper in North Dakota. This is where Baum got the majority of his idea to write the Oz Series, since North Dakota had, at that time, dry and dreary conditions like the one described in the opening chapter of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In 1889 and 1890, the paper had to be discontinued because of the failure of the wheat crop. This led to the economy in the Mid-West to almost fail. Baum alluded to this in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz through the land of the West, the Wicked Witch of the West, and in Kansas.
Mid-West America, during the late 1800s, was in an economic downfall, and it could be considered to be going into a depression. Baum lived in both Chicago and South Dakota in this time period. Both places were experiencing hardships. In South Dakota, Baum experienced “Farmers plagued by drought, blizzards, grasshoppers, high freight rates, and falling crop prices” (Geer and Rochon 1). After getting tired of seeing hardships on the farmers, Baum moved to Chicago, where he saw “Workers unemployed and their families often hungry and homeless” (Geer and Rochon 1). These hardships were not just singled to South Dakota and Chicago, but all of America was experiencing these problems. Many Americans thought it was the gold standard that had been in place since the nation was founded, one of those Americans being William...

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