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The Wizard Of Oz Essay

3013 words - 12 pages

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a classic, a legend, and a children’s story that will never grow old. Quotes from the story such as “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” “Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my,” and “There’s no place like home,” are ones that will always pop into our heads when someone says “The Wizard of Oz.” These are the lines that are related right away to the famous story. Dorothy’s long, adventurous trip down the Yellow Brick Road is something that everyone loves to read and watch. It is a story that touches all of us. The 1939 MGM film interpretation of the 1900 published book written by L. Frank Baum, brought this story to life for all of those who were unable to go to the 1902 stage performance. I’ll never forget watching the movie for the first time. Seeing the screen turn from black and white, to beautiful, stunning colors was amazing. Hearing Judy Garland as Dorothy sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for the first time, left me with a lasting memory. It was as if I felt what she wasfeeling at that moment; that there was a better place somewhere out there- somewhere over the rainbow. Most viewers were able to relate to a character, whether it was the Scarecrow in need of a brain, the Tin Man in need of a heart, or the Cowardly Lion, in need of courage. The obvious message of the story is that there is no place like home. However, The Wizard of Oz has been taken to another level. Individuals such as Henry Littlefield, John Beebe, Joey Green, and others have interpreted the story and have found many different theories to go along with it. Theories include parallels to Populism, Buddhist Taoism, Jungian Psychology, etc. The two main theories that make the most sense are Henry Littlefield’s theory on the story representing Populism during the time period which Baum wrote the book, and John Beebe’s theory on how the story goes hand in hand with C.G. Jung’s Jungian Psychology.

According to Neil Earle, “The Political reading of Oz was given classic expression by Henry M. Littlefield in the Spring, 1964, American Quarterly” (6). Henry Littlefield argues that The Wizard of Oz is a story representing Populism- a philosophy that supports the rights of the people, and the 1896 presidential election between William Jennings Bryan and William McKinley. Littlefield describes every character as a representation of something specific during that time period. In his book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in American Popular Culture,” Neil Earle writes “According to Littlefield, Baum marched in torch-light parades for Bryan in 1896. Thus when he came to write his best-known work in 1900 he simply dressed it up as a Populist allegory” (8). Littlefield describes Dorothy as an everyday man to Baum; the people of America. Her character and her problem of trying to get home, is the main plot in the movie. This shows what the main point of Populism was: the concerns of the American people. Since Dorothy is the main...

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