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The Wizard Of Oz Unveiled Essay

1454 words - 6 pages

Lions and tigers and politics oh my? The Wonderful Wizard of OZ written by L. Frank Baum has become an American classic since 1900 with its simple good hearted storyline, but enough parallels have been found within the written text linking it to politics that suggests otherwise. Baum claims to have written the story solely for the pleasure of children and that he could never have imagined the impact it would have on the public. When the text was adapted to film nearly 40 years later, it became an instant block buster and captured the hearts of the movie going public. It remains an American favorite today thanks to its charismatic actors, dazzling colors, and unforgettable music. But The Wizard of Oz is not the simple tale it alludes to, under its façade of charm lies hidden themes and motifs filled with political symbolism referring to the Populist Party.
The allegory behind of Dorothy and her background relates perfectly to the political issues that took place in real life during the time the book was written. Dorothy, the main character of the story, represents the common good hearted citizen; she is essentially who every American strives to be. Dorothy embodies positive characteristics and is viewed as the girl next door. She lives in Kansas where everything from the landscape to the lifestyle is portrayed as being lifeless and lackluster during the beginning of the book. The unfavorable depiction of Kansas relates to the condition is was in during the late1880’s when it was plagued by sweltering droughts, harsh winters, and invasions of insects leaving it a wasteland. The angry people of Kansas combated the politicians who did not care for the predicament they were in, this is when the Populist Party arose to become the people’s party and fight for their rights. Populism spread like a wildfire throughout the Midwest and the south. Kansas was chosen as the beginning setting for the novel where coincidently in real life it was also the site of most political rebuttal. The tornado that transports Dorothy in the mystical land of Oz symbolizes the Populist movement sweptwing across Kansas and changing it for the better. Dorothy’s last name, Gale, references to gale forcewinds. This pun is a metaphor for the cyclone bringing change with the Populist movement. The story behind Dorothy relates to the political roots of the Populist Party and reveals that Baum’s story may not have been a simple children’s tale.
The metaphors still continue with Dorothy’s supporting companions and what they stand for. The Scarecrow is portrayed as the unintelligent one of the group, because he has no brains. This character is used to represent the Midwestern farmers during the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. Famers during those times were often looked down upon and not found favorable to the public, because they lacked formal education. As the story progresses it is clear that the scarecrow is not as mentally incapable as he was first believed to be. On their journey...

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