Wizard Of Oz Allegory Essay

Wizard Of Oz Analysis Essay

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Wizard of Oz Analysis

Scene: This scene in the film comes just after the house has been picked up in the twister. Dorothy's house has been lifted up into the sky and suddenly dropped back down to earth in the middle of the Land of Oz. In the scene itself, Dorothy leaves her home to see that she is "Not in Kansas anymore," and finds the new and amazing world of the munchkin city in front of her. She also meets Gwendela the good witch as her journey in Oz begins.

Shot 1: Wide shot. View behind Dorothy in black and white. Dorothy opens the door to the color world of Oz. She steps out into Oz and stops. Straight on shot, camera moves into Oz first through the door, followed by Dorothy appearing again in the foreground. Light…show more content…

Shot 6: Wide shot. Dorothy is in the center of the frame with Toto in her arms. Puts Toto down as a mysterious glowing orb far in the distance slowly hovers down, getting larger in size as it approaches. Dorothy backs up out of the frame as the orb takes up the entire shot. Gwendela the good witch appears instantly. Straight on shot, no camera movement. Music is more haunting, eerie, and mysterious to represent the orb floating down.

Shot 7: Close up. Dorothy scared, nervous, and confused by this person. Tight head shot. Straight on camera shot, no movement. Music still constant.

Shot 8: Wide shot. Good witch Gwendela walks toward Dorothy to talk to her. From right to left she goes toward Dorothy. Camera is straight on, and then follows Gwendela to Dorothy, then makes a close up on the two of them for a close, but not too tight two shot. No sound heard at all other than their dialogue.

Conclusion: I thought that what was most interesting about the scene was how the director introduced us the viewer to the world of Oz. This is a very important scene in the movie because it is the first time we are seeing this magical place. It is important that we as the viewer find it to be just as amazing and awe inspiring as Dorothy does when she walks into it for the first time. We are supposed to identify with Dorothy here as she walks out of her home and into Munchkin city to see this new world she has fallen

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Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz include treatments of the modern fairy tale (written by L. Frank Baum and first published in 1900) as an allegory or metaphor for the political, economic, and social events of America in the 1890s. Scholars have examined four quite different versions of Oz: the novel of 1900,[1] the Broadway play of 1901,[2] the Hollywood film of 1939,[3] and the numerous follow-up Oz novels written after 1900 by Baum and others.[4]

The political interpretations focus on the first three, and emphasize the close relationship between the visual images and the story line to the political interests of the day. Biographers report that Baum had been a political activist in the 1890s with a special interest in the money question of gold and silver, and the illustrator William Wallace Denslow was a full-time editorial cartoonist for a major daily newspaper. For the 1901 Broadway production Baum inserted explicit references to prominent political characters such as President Theodore Roosevelt.

Monetary policy[edit]

In a 1964 article,[5] educator and historian Henry Littlefield outlined an allegory in the book of the late 19th-century debate regarding monetary policy. According to this view, for instance, the Yellow Brick Road represents the gold standard, and the silver slippers (ruby in the 1939 film version) represent the Silverite sixteen to one silver ratio (dancing down the road). The City of Oz earns its name from the abbreviation of ounces "Oz" in which gold and silver are measured in.

The thesis achieved considerable popular interest and elaboration by many scholars in history, economics and other fields,[6] but that thesis has been challenged.[7][8][9] Certainly the 1901 musical version of Oz written by Baum, was for an adult audience and had numerous explicit references to contemporary politics,[2] though in these references Baum seems just to have been "playing for laughs".[10] The 1902 stage adaptation mentioned, by name, President Theodore Roosevelt and other political celebrities.[11] For example, the Tin Woodman wonders what he would do if he ran out of oil. "You wouldn't be as badly off as John D. Rockefeller", the Scarecrow responds, "He'd lose six thousand dollars a minute if that happened."[2]

Littlefield's knowledge of the 1890s was thin, and he made numerous errors, but since his article was published, scholars in history,[8] political science,[1] and economics[7] have asserted that the images and characters used by Baum closely resemble political images that were well known in the 1890s. Quentin Taylor, for example, claimed that many of the events and characters of the book resemble the actual political personalities, events and ideas of the 1890s.[11]Dorothy—naïve, young and simple—represents the American people. She is Everyman, led astray and seeking the way back home.[11] Moreover, following the road of gold leads eventually only to the Emerald City, which may symbolize the fraudulent world of greenback paper money that only pretends to have value.[11] It is ruled by a scheming politician (the Wizard) who uses publicity devices and tricks to fool the people (and even the Good Witches) into believing he is benevolent, wise, and powerful when really he is a selfish, evil humbug. He sends Dorothy into severe danger hoping she will rid him of his enemy the Wicked Witch of the West. He is powerless and, as he admits to Dorothy, "I'm a very bad Wizard".[12]

Social groups[edit]

Historian Quentin Taylor sees additional metaphors, including:

Taylor also claimed a sort of iconography for the cyclone: it was used in the 1890s as a metaphor for a political revolution that would transform the drab country into a land of color and unlimited prosperity. It was also used by editorial cartoonists of the 1890s to represent political upheaval.[11]

Other putative allegorical devices of the book include the Wicked Witch of the West as a figure for the actual American West; if this is true, then the Winged Monkeys could represent another western danger: Indigenous peoples of the Americas. The King of the Winged Monkeys tells Dorothy, "Once we were a free people, living happily in the great forest, flying from tree to tree, eating nuts and fruit and doing just as we pleased without calling anybody master. ... This was many years ago, long before Oz came out of the clouds to rule over this land."[10]

In fact, Baum proposed in two editorials he wrote in December 1890 for his newspaper, the Saturday Pioneer, the total genocidal slaughter of all remaining indigenous peoples. "The Whites," Baum wrote, "by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. Why not annihilation?"[13][14]

Alternative allegory[edit]

Other writers have used the same evidence to lead to precisely opposite allegorical interpretations.[8]

Apart from intentional symbolism, scholars have speculated on the sources of Baum's ideas and imagery. The "man behind the curtain" could be a reference to automated store window displays of the sort famous at Christmas season in big city department stores; many people watching the fancy clockwork motions of animals and mannequins thought there must be an operator behind the curtain pulling the levers to make them move (Baum was the editor of the trade magazine read by window dressers).[15]

Additional allegories have been developed, without claims that they were originally intended by Baum. The text has been treated as a theosophical allegory.[16] In 1993, W. Geoffrey Seeley recast the story as an exercise in treachery, suggesting the supposed "Good Witch Glinda" used an innocent, ignorant patsy (Dorothy) to overthrow both her own sister witch (Witch of the West) and the Wizard of Oz, leaving herself as undisputed master of all four corners of Oz: North, East, West and South (and presumably the Emerald City). She even showed her truest "Machiavellian brilliance" by allowing the story to be entitled after the weakest of her three opponents. Glinda could have told Dorothy that the "silver slippers would easily do the job [of returning Dorothy to her beloved home] but decided that a destabilizing force such as Dorothy might be just the thing to shake up her other rival [The Wizard of Oz]."[17] Kassinger, in her book Gold: From Greek Myth to Computer Chips, purports that "The Wizard symbolizes bankers who support the gold standard and oppose adding silver to it... Only Dorothy's silver slippers can take her home to Kansas," meaning that by Dorothy not realizing that she had the silver slippers the whole time, Dorothy, or "the westerners", never realized they already had a viable currency of the people.[18]


  1. ^ abRitter, Gretchen (August 1997). "Silver slippers and a golden cap: L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and historical memory in American politics". Journal of American Studies. 31 (2): 171–203. doi:10.1017/s0021875897005628. JSTOR 27556260. 
  2. ^ abcSwartz, Mark Evan (2000). Oz Before the Rainbow: L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" on Stage and Screen to 1939. The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6477-1. 
  3. ^Olson, James (2001). Historical Dictionary of the Great Depression, 1929–1940. Greenwood. pp. 315–316. ISBN 0-313-30618-4. 
  4. ^Hearn, Michael Patrick, ed. (2000). The Annotated Wizard of Oz. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-04992-2. 
  5. ^Littlefield, Henry (1964). "The Wizard of Oz: Parable on Populism"(PDF). American Quarterly. 16 (1): 47–58. doi:10.2307/2710826. Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  6. ^Sanders, Mitch (July 1991). "Setting the Standards on the Road to Oz". The Numismatist. American Numismatic Association: 1042–1050. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  7. ^ abHansen, Bradley A. (2002). "The Fable of the Allegory: The Wizard of Oz in Economics"(PDF). Journal of Economic Education. 33 (3). JSTOR 1183440. Archived from the original(PDF) on 3 April 2003. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  8. ^ abcParker, David B. (1994). "The Rise and Fall of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a 'Parable on Populism'". Journal of the Georgia Association of Historians. 15: 49–63. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  9. ^Gjovaag, Eric (2006). "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Frequently Asked Questions: About The Oz Books". The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Website. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  10. ^ abDighe, Ranjit S., ed. (2002). The historian's Wizard of Oz: reading L. Frank Baum's classic as a political and Monetary Allegory. ISBN 0-275-97418-9. 
  11. ^ abcdeTaylor, Quentin P. (2004-12-02). "Money and Politics in the Land of Oz". The Independent Institute. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  12. ^Baum, L. Frank; Denslow, William Wallace; Hearn, Michael Patrick (2000), Denslow, William Wallace; Hearn, Michael Patrick, eds., The Annotated Wizard of Oz: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, W. W. Norton & Company, p. 271, ISBN 9780393049923 
  13. ^Byrd, Jodi A. (Spring 2007). "'Living My Native Life Deadly': Red Lake, Ward Churchill, and the Discourses of Competing Genocides". American Indian Quarterly. 31 (2): 310–332; 319. 
  14. ^Hastings, A. Waller. "L. Frank Baum's Editorials on the Sioux Nation". Northern.edu. Complete text of Baum's editorials. Archived from the original on August 13, 2008. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  15. ^Culver, Stuart (1988). "What Manikins Want: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Art of Decorating Dry Goods Windows and Interiors". Representations. 21: 97–116. doi:10.1525/rep.1988.21.1.99p02045. 
  16. ^Algeo, John (1988). "Oz and Kansas: A Theosophical Quest". In Gannon, Susan R.; Thompson, Ruth Anne. Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Conference of the Children's Literature Association. Kansas City: University of Missouri. pp. 135–39. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  17. ^Seeley, W. Geoffrey (1993-12-26). "The Geo-Politics of Oz; Now It Can Be Told! Treachery, Tin Men, Hegemony and Toto". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  18. ^Kassinger, Ruth (2003). Gold: From Greek Myth to Computer Chips. 21st Century. ISBN 0-7613-2110-1. 


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Further reading[edit]


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