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

The “Wizard of Oz”is a story written by the author L. Frank Baum and published in 1900. The book features a young girl named Dorthey who is lifted up into a tornado and transported to the land of Oz. There she meets a lion, a tinman, and a scarecrow who all decide to travel together to see the wizard to ask for their desires. Frank Baum communicates this story to children but gives an underlying message for the adult audience. The story presents a fantastical world for children to read but conveys to adults a commentary on American Politics at the time. The wizard behind the curtain in the story represents how leaders and politicians are really not doing anything to help the people and are just hiding the truth behind closed doors. The Wizard of Oz is certainly written as a children’s story and is targeted to them as the audience due to the nature of the story and how the book itself is written but it gives a deeper message for adults who are also reading the book to pick up on. 

The word “wild” in the Wizard of Oz is used mainly in relation to nature and wild animals. Frank Baum uses the word “wild” in the book multiple times “full of bogs and marshes and covered with tall, rank grass…But here the country seemed wilder than ever”. In this quote, the author uses the word “wild” to describe the landscape. He uses the word to describe how disorganized, uncivilized, and untamed the area was. This word is used to describe how far away from civilization and how fantastical the land of Oz is. 

-Stephanie Wilhite


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

  1. kjc2889

    I like how you gave an overview/summary of the book to preface your post. It is true that on the outside, Baum made this story for children but there is an underlying message for adults as well. I agree that the wizard represents politicians who do not do anything, as they take a whole journey to talk to the wizard just to find out that the wizard cannot do anything about their problems.

  2. ts36942

    It really seems wild to me that Wizard of Oz had underlying adult political themes. I never picked up on it. The makes me wonder if there are other so called ‘children’s books’ that have hidden themes for an older audience. Again, when the writer writes this story, how does he know that his adult themes will reach the target audience if the book is initially advertized as a children’s book? Seems kind of a risky venture to mix the two themes together that could get a book banned… as it did with this one.

  3. kcl928

    I like your interpretation of the book’s target audience. I can see how the book can be written primarily for children, but have deeper meanings for the adults that read the book to their children. This make me wonder if any Eastern/Western parents caught on to these allegories and got mad.

  4. ham2642

    Its interesting to see the use of the word as a means to explore issues that were occurring at the time. With a story that was so far into the world of fantasy the “Wizard of Oz” was also calling out how distant society was from that. Baums manner of telling a story about real problems in such a fictional way was genius as it turn the heads of not just children but adults as well.

  5. njp768

    I didn’t realize that this book had some political views for adults. But it makes sense now. It is wild how the author Frank Baum used a book that’s supposed to be for children to give the adults political themes. I wonder if other authors tend to do this in their children’s books to where they went to give their parents the message. Overall, this was a great thing to catch on about the book.

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