LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

Political Issues In The Wizard of Oz!?!?

on March 14, 2013 1:58pm

Nearly everyone has heard of the Wizard of Oz, but not everyone has

heard about how The Wizard of Oz references to political issues

during the late 1800s. A history teacher by the name of Henry

Littlefield noticed the parallels between life during that time and

the movie during the 1960s; if these parallels are true it wouldn’t

be anything new because authors have being making references to

political issues for centuries now.

 

Dorothy was said to represent American values and people; throughout

the novel she was loyal, resourceful, and determined; which are some

of the characteristics that people believe Americans had doing that

time. Others believed that she represented President Theodore

Roosevelt, not only because he was a loyal, resourceful, and

determined man but also because of the similarities in their names.

(The-o-dore and Dor-o-thy) The Tin Woodman represents the industrial

workers, who doing this time were experiencing dehumanization; which

is what happened to the Tin Woodman experienced when he lost his

human body. After losing his human body, the Tin Woodman became

immobile and rusted, which is how many factory workers felt when

businesses began to shut down due to the depression. The Wizard

represents Mark Hanna. Hanna was the Republican party’s chairman

during this time; and just how the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, and

Dorothy all saw the Wizard differently, Americans doing this time

also saw Hanna in many different faces. The Wizard and Hanna both

were portrayed as different people depending on the individual that

was in front of them. All of these things are interesting and may

point to the fact that in writing this he was telling the history of

the things he witnessed during this time.

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One response to “Political Issues In The Wizard of Oz!?!?

  1. I completely agree that the story of The Wizard of Oz takes a stab at different types of government and political spheres. Even the Oz adaptations are largely a commentary on politics and governmental control.
    One of the adaptations I would like to comment on is Wicked, because a large majority of it is directly criticizing capitalism. Wicked is a Broadway musical based on a book. I have seen the play three times and read the book, so I am fairly familiar with the plot. The story is the untold tale of the witches of Oz focusing on Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch of the South). The two unlikely friends meet at a young age in school, and Wicked portrays the Wicked Witch as misunderstood. She was trying to save the land of Oz from capitalistic rule, and in reality the evil came from those who ran the Emerald City: including the great Wizard of Oz himself.
    In the beginning of the play, the government of Oz strips animals of their rights and forces them into submission claiming it was for their own good. This part of Oz parallels a tyrannical or communist government, stripping power and rights of those who are not worthy. This part of the tale reminded me of the Holocaust. The animals’ jobs were taken away, they were no longer permitted to speak, and they were forced in cages. The Jewish peoples’ jobs were taken away, they had no voice in the political atmosphere, and they were forced into concentration camps.
    However, the city of Oz itself is greatly contrasted with the rest of the land by representing capitalism. The glitz and glamour of the city and the obsession with the color green symbolized the idea of money and power. The Wizard of Oz himself mocks American greed when he comments that, “where he came from they refer to lies as history.”
    The Wizard himself is from another world, or what we know as our world, and corrupts Oz by turning it into a capitalist city. This is commentary on how American capitalism has tainted not only the United States but other countries as well. The Wizard symbolisms the spread of greed and the affect greed has on different communities on multiple levels.

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