The Wizard of Oz

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Transcript The Wizard of Oz


A story in which characters, settings, and events stand in for other people, events, or abstract ideas, or qualities. An allegory can be read on one level for its LITERAL meaning, and on another level for its ALLEGORICAL, or SYMBOLIC meaning.



The Wizard of Oz

a musical fantasy or a political allegory of America in the 1890 ’ s?

Henry Littlefield was the first author to posit this notion in his article “ The Wizard of Oz: Parable on Populism ” But first, a little background on

The Wizard of Oz…

L. Frank Baum The Author of

The Wizard of Oz

 Wrote

The Wizard of Oz

in 1900.

 Activist in American Populist movement  Political views may have influenced writing  Had a special interest in the gold and silver monetary standards debate of the time.

What is Populism?

 Populists in late nineteenth century America wanted to help the common people  They advocated measures that would help farmers and laborers  They supported the free coinage of silver

The Populist symbolism in the Wizard of Oz can be found in… •Settings •Key Objects •Characters

KANSAS IN THE LATE 1800s  Farmer discontent and Populist politics were concentrated in Kansas  Suffering from a drought—many farmers going through hard times  Farmers wanted the free coinage of silver to help them out of debt


• Naïve, young, and simple.

• Represents the American people, led astray and seeking her way back home.

• Dorothy wants out— “ Somewhere Over the Rainbow ”

THE SCARECROW  Represents farmers  Farmers thought to be ignorant—looking for a brain  Shows common sense throughout the story—has always had a brain  Shows belief that farmers were not as ignorant as wealthy people thought

THE COWARDLY LION •Represents William Jennings Bryan—Populist leader •Looking for courage—Bryan thought to be a coward by some •Possessed courage all along

THE TIN MAN •Industrial workers •Wants a heart—dehumanized •Physically strong, hollow inside •Stuck when they found him— workers felt trapped in an economic rut •Needs oil to operate, shuts down when oil production shuts down.

THE EMERALD CITY •Main political city of Oz •Symbolizes the national capital, as well as paper money

CYCLONE •Cyclones used in many Populist political cartoons •Serves as a metaphor for a policial upheaval that would transform the country into a land of color and unlimited prosperity.

The Ruby (Silver) Slippers •Originally silver •Changed to ruby because of color technology •Symbolize the power of the silver movement

Oz  Bright and colorful  “ Oz ” = ounce  Silver is measured in ounces

The Yellow Brick Road  Represents the gold standard.

 Journey on this road is a false undertaking that will not solve our problems.

WICKED WITCH OF THE EAST  Stands for wealthy people of the East favoring gold currency  Symbolic of big businesses and corporations who also wanted gold standard  Dorothy kills her—defeats people who wanted gold currency

WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST •Personification of harsh natural forces of west, such as the drought •Dorothy ’ s main adversary—present throughout entire story

She is killed by water, just like a drought

THE WIZARD •Represents the scheming politician who pretends to have all the answers.

• Tricks the people into believing he ’ s wise and benevolent, when he ’ s actually selfish and cruel. •Send others into danger for his own personal gain.

LOTF Connection

What allegorical representations can you determine for these characters ?

Ralph represents…….

Piggy Jack Roger Simon The Littluns What’s Golding’s purpose for writing LOTF as an allegory?

Extra Time??

What other aspects of the novel LOTF are allegorical? For example, the conch….. Think back to the symbolism writing you did  Make a list and what each represents.