TIL: ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Was a Political Novel Full of Symbolism
Many people are not aware that the L. Frank Baum novel "The Wizard of Oz" was a critique of the political situation in 1900. Every character represents something in American society -- some obvious, some less so. Check them out:
- Oz represents ounces, as in ounces of silver or gold. At the time, American money was based on gold and if it was based on gold and silver it would devalue the currency, somehow helping the farmers of the nation.
- Dorothy's shoes were originally silver. The farm girl from Kansas is in upheaval and she's given magical silver shoes that will solve everything to take to the capitol and plead her case.
- The "little people" of the country send Dorothy along the dreaded "yellow brick road" (gold) to the capitol, the Emerald City -- a city of green representing money.
- She's helped along the way by a scarecrow with no brain (the farmers) and a tin man with no heart (industrial workers) and a cowardly lion (William Jennings Bryan - a famous orator who had bark but no bite).
- The Witches of East, West, North and South represent the regions of the country that voted in support of, or in opposition to, the Kansas farmers.
According to Wikipedia, Baum never confessed to the commentary and the idea was not widely accepted until decades later. Still, once you hear the interpretation, it's hard to argue otherwise.