A few days ago I found a post written by the Spanish journalist Raúl Jaime Maestre about ‘The Wizard of Oz’. I found some of the ideas quite interesting so I want to share them with you, but you can also read the whole article here (in Spanish).
According to him, there is a non-confirmed theory from Gregory Mankiw, an economist and teacher from Harvard. He says that the book by L. F. Baum has got a lot of educational content. That’s something quite obvious, because lots of artists want to express and show a lot of knowledge on their productions. But, in this case, there are lots of political ideas behind the story of Dorothy in Oz. But we must be aware that L. F. Baum admitted all the time that it was only a children book, nothing more.
The book was published in 1900, the American economy wasn’t really good, with a lot of deflation. This was having a lot of consequences in the economy, politic and also society. Dorothy lives in Kansas with her family. They own a farm and work with some other people that later on appear in Oz. But suddenly a tornado destroys everything and brings Dorothy to the land of Oz. That was something “normal” at that time, because farmers were leaving their farms to go and work at the cities.
The economy was changing so the people had to change too. But not everybody was happy about it, because it means changing the traditions. That’s why Dorothy’s home kills the Wicked Witch of the East, that represents Wall Street, the power of economy. The pronunciation of ‘Witch of the East’ and ‘Wall Street’ is not that different, isn’t it?
The Wicked Witches terrify and enslave the little guys called Munchkins. That’s how the economy and capitalism works since 1900 until today. Then arrives Glinda, the witch of the north, that of course she is the good one who can fight against the east and west.
Then Dorothy goes to Emerald City because she wants to meet the Wizard. But on her journey finds three different characters with symbolism. First, the Scarecrow without a brain means the farmers, seen as stupid people. Then, the Tin Man without a heart, like all the workers from the industrial revolution. And finally, a Lion without courage, like most of the politics, that roar without too much effect.
I think that it’s just one more interpretation of a story. It’s true that most of the theories make sense, but who knows. Maybe L. F. Baum was inspired in his reality and wanted to create a world with some similar things and some new ideas. But I also think that it’s great to see a film, or read a book, and discover new ideas and interpretations of it, because it makes it more real and alive.