The argument on whether it is a political allegory or not, lies on the symbolic meaning of the characters. Through the succeeding years, other historians viewed Baum’s tale and were convinced that Littlefield is right, and that The Wizard of Oz was actually a political allegory. Some sources agree with comparing the characters to people of the populist movement. In the story, the characters were travelling to meet with the Wizard down the Yellow Brick Road that symbolizes the gold standard. It is meant to mimic the journey towards representation and reform. The characters represent people during those times. The Wizard was thought of to be a prominent politician that is President Grover Cleveland who are trying to survive under the control and manipulation of the elites. The Wicked Witches of the East are the elite businessmen, bankers and industrialists who are running the economy and political system while that of the West were railroads. The people are represented by the Munchkins. The Good Witches are people who are taken advantage of and are in opposition to these Wicked Witches. Toto, Dorothy’s dog represents the Prohibitionists, an important group of coalition forces. The Oz was an abbreviation for ounce, a unit of measurement for metal. The bimetallists wants a fixed ratio of value; that is 16 ounces silver and 16 ounces gold on every coin. The Cowardly Lion who joins the other characters to ask for courage was thought of as William Jennings Bryan. It is very ironic that like the Lion of the Oz, Bryan was the last to “join” the party.2 Dorothy, the girl who travelled the path represents someone who is has decent morals, and stands up for hard-working people. Dorothy’s Silver Slippers is meant to denote Populists’ solution to the economic woes with the free and unlimited coinage of silver. Littlefield uses the scene where the Lion striking the Tin Man with his sharp claws could make no impression on the Tin. He compares this scene to when, in 1896, workers were pressured into voting for McKinley and gold by their employers.3 who delivers strong speech but his refusal to go to war with Spain in 1898 branded him a coward. The Scarecrow is for the farmer, who though characterized as uneducated, was feared by lawmakers for their involvement and support of the Populist movement. They are the midwestern farmers, whose years of hardship and subjection to ridicule had created a sense of inferiority and self-doubt.4 The Tin Man is the industrial worker who is being manipulated and used by the wealthy employers. He represents the nation’s workers, whom the Populists hoped to make common cause.5 He represents the hoped-for other faction in the People’s Party, or the factory worker.6 The Munchkins were the minority group of Jewish, Italian and other immigrants.
July 15, 2019 0 Comments