Alex's Outlook

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Wizard of Oz = Populist Allegory

I guess it isn't surprising that I should think of this now, as I am searching for excuses to not study for the BC calculus test which will take place 7.5 hours from now. But anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was dozing off in history class (we were studying the post-Reconstruction period - yawn) when my teacher advanced the thesis that the Wizard of Oz was a pro-Populist allegory. It was surprisingly convincing. I.e., the "wicked witch of the East" represents the rich tycoons from the eastern states, the other witch represents the farmers and miners of the west (the "good guys"), the Yellow Brick Road represents the march of Coxley's Army to DC, the poppy field represents the seductive lure of eastern money on the journey to the Emerald City, etc. I don't know enough about the story to give the other parallels, but everybody in the Wizard of Oz is supposed to represent a figure from the 1890's-1900's era, according to my teacher's argument. Supposedly The Wizard of Oz was written during that era. I thought it was an interesting idea, anyway.

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