Books and Movies Reviews

The Wizard of Oz and Populism

Since 1964 the story as well as the movie known as The Wizard of Oz has lost much of its innocence. Prior to 1964 The Wizard of Oz was a tale of innocence that adults and children alike enjoyed. They viewed The Wizard of Oz as an escape and thought the story to be fun, exciting and pleasurable. However, in 1964 Henry M. Littlefield published The Wizard of Oz: Parable on Populism. Littlefield's theories on populist allegory throughout The Wizard of Oz sparked much controversy with the public. Henry M. Littlefield was able to convincingly connect scenes, characters, and objects in The Wizard of Oz to populism in his essay The Wizard of Oz: Parable on Populism.
The movie opens up with a very drab view of Kansas in the late 19th century. Everything is gray as far as the eye can see, as all the land has become barren, and dust storms are now very prevalent. The farmhouse where Dorothy lives is barren too, and the paint has chipped off and blown away. Uncle Henry never laughs, and Auntie Em (whose face is completely gray) never smiles. This is parable to the beginnings of populism because farmers they were facing a widespread drought causing many problems with their farming. Ultimately this barren land is what led the populist movement to start up.
When Dorothy lands in Oz she isfirst confused. Just as the populists were having many confusing problems so was Dorothy. However, Dorothy, with the aid of the Munchkins, devised a plan to see The Wizard in order to achieve her goal of retuning home. This is similar to how the farmers banded together to achieve their goal to nationalize the populist movement. Along the way Dorothy meets three diverse characters, which symbolize how William Jennings Bryan attracted more members to the populist movement on the road. Together Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion all had the same goal comparative to the populist movement. When the four finally reached their destination …

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