Sunday, October 31, 2004

Baum and Political Allegory p2

31 Oct 04 Part II Baum and Political Allegory


Part I Wizard of Oz I Theosophical Society

Between the implications of social utopianism or utopian socialism and the puritanical distaste for allegorical works that might conceivably have mystical interpretations, Baum fell out of favor with the American public shortly after his death in 1919. Other commentators criticize his constant use of women and his disdain for romantic encounters between his characters, accusing him of promoting homosexuality and lesbianism. Such accusations are difficult to substantiate, but unfortunately those who wish to see the world only in stark monochromatic terms lose the the glory of nuanced colorings and the wonderful insights gained through allegory.

In considering, the Wizard as political allegory of the struggle of common man against the corrupt government of the east; the despondent souls living in the desert of Kansas dream of escaping to the the ethereal Emerald City along a Yellow Brick Road paved in gold. In drawing his parallels, Littlefield argues that the silver shoes Dorothy wears symbolizes Bryan's national plea for using silver to stabilize the gold standard and the split within the US as westerners skeptically viewed the Big Government in the East as the Wicked Witch. Several presidents fit the description of the Wizard as a Humbug from Grant to McKinley with the unrest of western farmers and the settlers on worthless land grants stolen from the Indian Wars as the common worker was exploited unmercifully for his labor without minimum wage or basic health insurance or medical care.

In this view, Dorothy becomes the feminist leader of the motley crew of socially marginalized figures, the pumpkin-headed Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion each representing a segment of disillusioned American society, desperately in search of the ideal political solution with a little magic from the inviisible wizard who through tricks of illusion appears to be a

" a great Head," said Dorothy...."And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast," said the Tin Woodman. "And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire," exclaimed the Lion. "No; you are all wrong," said the little man meekly. "I have been making believe."

but turns out to be a terrible humbug instead in a city-state where green is the national color and the leader must appear to be everything to every person.

Although the company do not find a utopian solution for man's enslavement to greed or industry, they do fulfill their quests by achieving fulfilment through themselves ather than the artifice of the Wizard's magic in the duration of the journey. In spite of the colorful diversity of the Land of Oz where all things are pragmatically regulated and organized, Dorothy yearns to return to the bleak land of Kansas where crops to be successful must fail in order to gain the compensation from the government.

In time for a presidential election, maybe the Wizard of Oz fits neatly into the current reading list for a refreshing insight of American life and politics. And looking at the two candidates placed before the American public, one seems to be distinctly a humbug, roaring about when in reality he is filled with cowardice, having skipped any direct involvement with past wars only to volunteer the lives of gullible and vulnerable Americans overseas to terrorism.

Nostalgic, Americans can look back on Baum as a model of "simple living" and "true American values" of pragmatism overcoming the obstacles of sophistry and technology and getting down to the basics with fireside talks with the Trumans, Roosevelts and Carters. Confronted by the Wicked Witch, Dorothy tosses ordinary water on her, causing her destruction. Corruption dissolves before the truth and the remnants of it should be swept out the door before the next incoming official. Too often, we are deluded by the appearance of things and confounded by the roar of words, unwilling to trust ourselves to overcome the difficulties before us thereby allowing ourselves to be enslaved to regimes we recognize as destructive. Each adversary, Baum reminds us, has its weakness—the real problem is our own weak knees in confronting adversity.

Perhaps, in having November as the Election month with Thanksgiving just following, Americans preserve the national humor by placing taking a turkey from the White House and placing a pumpkinhead within.

Recipes for Election Day
Grilling the Turkey

Talking Turkey with the Reluctant Gourmet

Pumpkin Heads with Fab Foods

Mollie Katzen—pumpkins

Pumpkin Nook
has a basic pumpkin pie recipe plus all you need to know about pumpkins
best topping for pumpkin pie is homemade strawberry jam and when you have none, use blackberry

Parable on Popularism by Henry M Littlefield

Brooke Allen, 'L. Frank Baum': The Man Behind the Curtain
New York Times, November 17, 2002

"As the Tin Woodman remarks of his stint as emperor of the Winkies, ''Like a good many kings and emperors, I have a grand title, but very little real power, which allows me time to amuse myself in my own way.'' Baum often uses such asides as a vehicle for wry commentary: the citizens of the Emerald City, for instance, are pleased by the Scarecrow's accession to the throne, '' 'For,' they said, 'there is not another city in all the world that is ruled by a stuffed man.' And, so far as they knew, they were quite right'' -- the ''so far as they knew'' being a brilliant comment upon rulers as a species"

Kirjasto: L Frank Baum

short bio listing some of his 69 works
chief pseudonyms: Hugh Fitzgerald, Edith Van Dyne, Schuyler Stanton, Suzanne Metcalf, John Estes Cook, Floyd Akers, Louis F Gottschalk (two musicals) and Byron Gay

Theosophical Society:
Five Essays on the Wizard of Oz

L Frank Baum Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Baum, L. Frank (Lyman Frank), 1856-1919 . The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Text Center, University of Virginia Library

Richard Brown: Oz FAQs
a list of questions generally asked obout the book

Suite101 Janet Kay Blaycock

Other Places
International Wizard of Oz Club
memberhsip, books, conventions, publications, reference, Oz resources
The International Wizard of Oz Club
P.O. Box 26249
San Francisco, CA 94126-6249

UC San Diego History of the Wizard of Oz
with book jacket illustrations

Oz Central

Lyman Frank Baum

has links to online books
picture/image search, audio files, literary bios and search tools

For Text

University of Virginia Young Reader's Collection The Marvellous Land of Oz
scroll to Baum Palm or MS Reader
there are some illustrated works here

Lyman Frank Baum
has a collection of links and 26 works online
plain vanilla text—well laid out and legible

Gutenberg index L Frank Baum works

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Emerald City of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Enchanted Island of Yew by L. Frank Baum

Glinda of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Lost Princess of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Magic of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Rinkitink in Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Scarecrow of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Tik-Tok of Oz

The Tin Woodman of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Fab Foods Halloween

the gallery at Fab Foods

Pumpkin Nook- Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Nook
has a basic pumpkin pie recipe plus all you need to know about pumpkins
best topping for pumpkin pie is homemade strawberry jam and when you have none, use blackberry


Kidnapped Santa Claus


Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for giving great information . I'll help you. please visit this website POGO Support and Call +1-800-231-4635 USA (Toll Free).

1:16 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home