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Reading Assignment

1642 words - 7 pages

Starting in the 1870’s - 1880’s the United States experienced a depression that cut the prices of agricultural related good and led to the eviction of many farmers. Since farmers were at the bottom of the totem pole socioeconomically they were faced with high railroad fees and unsurmountable debt due to the fact that they had to take out loans to be pay for their crop harvesting and planting. This was partially due to the sharecropping system which would ignite a system of perpetual debt for poor farmers. Ultimately, the farmers would rise up and unite to what would be known as a populist movement; in retribution to what they claimed was the source of their problems. These events and time period heavily influenced Lyman Frank Baum in regards to the production and underlying political message in the Wizard of Oz. Author Henry Littlefield of “The Wizard of Oz: Parable of Populism” makes a compelling argument that indeed The Wizard of Oz was a political work, this can be linked to the many different life experiences of Baum that are mentioned throughout the article. Littlefield introduces the reader to whom Baum was during the first two pages, it becomes apparent that Baum views start to change as the Populist movement grows in strength and becomes accustomed to South Dakota frontier, once he moved there. It is stated in the article “The stark reality of the dry, open plains the acceptance of man’s Darwinian subservience to his environment served to crush Romantic idealism.”(Culmsee) Baum romantic view of benign nature had disappeared. The way Baum described where he lived and nature would serve as an allegory for the where Dorothy lived in The Wizard of Oz. “When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side…” Also, to further amplify the lack romanticism in the frontier he now saw. Baum describes in the text the deterioration of Dorothy’s aunt, “When auntie Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife.” The sun and the wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gray…” Ironically, Dorothy’s innocence shielded her from any ageing or damage that was placed upon her by the world or nature such as the case when a tornado sweeps her house up with her and her dog Toto, but gently puts her down in OZ. Along with showing the lack of romanticism in the prairie, according to the text the main purpose of illustrating the effects of the nature on Dorothy’s aunt and the tornado on Dorothy’s house where to show in a biblical tone that nature is Impersonal and destructive. Once Dorothy has landed in Oz, nature shows its benefits since the tornado has landed on the Wicked Witch of The East. The Wicked Witch of The East who possibly represented Eastern big banking and industrial corporations had enslaved the little Munchkin people for many years it is debatable that these enslaved people were meant to as a metaphor for the many workers under...

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