Blog Post 5: What on Earth is “The Wizard of Oz”?

The communicator of the Wizard of Oz is L. Frank Baum (the author) and is written in the perspective of the main character Dorothy. In the introduction, Baum reveals that he wrote this story as a fairy tale for children. I see it as a children’s story because it explores a “fantasy” world which Dorothy falls into after getting caught inside of a tornado. In this fantasy world, Dorothy bumps into Lion, Tin Woodman, and Scare Crow which all teach her valuable lessons. Finally, Dorothy meets a wicked witch which causes her to want to go home. All of these fantasy characters are used to appeal to children, as they would be entertaining for younger children to read about. 

The first mention of wildness in this book is when Dorothy is walking through the woods with Tin Woodman and “there came a deep growl from some wild animal hidden among the trees.” The growl frightens Dorothy and Tin Woodman, however they later find out that the growl came from Lion. The author mainly uses pathos to instill fear in the readers, as the Lion lets out a “terrible roar” when coming out of the forest. Even Toto is frightened by the Lion as he “had an enemy to face” and starts running “barking toward the Lion.” The author builds up fear in both the characters and the readers leading up to the reveal of the Lion. Ironically, however, the Lion is the one that is scared of them and only wants to learn how to not be a coward . In this passage, the word wild means untamed and ferocious as the Lion is thought to be an untamed and ferocious animal from the forest. However, the audience later finds out in the story that the Lion is kindhearted and not as wild as he is first presented to be. 

Kristine Chin

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One Response to Blog Post 5: What on Earth is “The Wizard of Oz”?

  1. vtn477

    Your rhetorical analysis of the author’s use of the word “wild” is very well explained! I liked how you thoroughly tied the use of the word to the storyline and how there is an element of irony when the Lion is introduced. I also saw that Baum revealed his target audience is for children, so I wonder if the context of when the book was written heavily influenced the opinion that there is a broader audience that includes adults. Great job!

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