Dorothy's Heroic Journey in The Wizard of Oz

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Frank Baums, The Wizard of Oz is arguably one of the most popular films made. Even though it was released in 1939, nearly three-quarters of a century ago, the film continues to entertain audiences and speak to them in a personal way. The question that comes to the mind when analyzing this film is: What is it about this film that gives it such timelessness? When reflecting on the film’s timeless qualities, it seems clear the plot is one of the things that enable it to maintain its relevance. Primarily, the plot of The Wizard of Oz is timeless because it is such an excellent example of the heroic journey, both in literally and cinematically. This journey of self-awareness is a metaphor for growth, which is something we all search to discover at some time in our lives. To fully appreciate the significance of the plot one must fully understand the heroic journey. Joseph Campbell identified the stages of the heroic journey and explains how the movie adheres meticulously to these steps. For example, the first stage of the hero’s journey is the ordinary world (Campbell). At the beginning, the structure dictates that the author should portray the protagonist in their ordinary world, surrounded by ordinary things and doing ordinary tasks so that the author might introduce the reasons that the hero needs the journey in order to develop his or her character or improve his or her life (Vogler 35). The point of this portrayal is to show the audience what the protagonist’s life is currently like and to show what areas of his or her life are conflicted or incomplete. When the call to adventure occurs, the protagonist is swept away into another world, one that is full of adventure, danger, and opportunities to learn what needs to be learned. T... ... middle of paper ... ...are similar in both her ordinary and special worlds, and she must work throughout the rest of the film to resolve them. The Wizard of Oz can be analyzed in many different ways, but the depth of the plot is what gives this movie its timeless qualities making it a favorite still today, and one can’t also help to note how cinematically advanced this movie was for its time making it truly a masterpiece. Works Cited Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. New York: New World Library, 2008. Dartmouth University. “Glossary of Film Terms.” November 21, 2011. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~writing/materials/student/humanities/film.shtml#glossary. Vogler, Christopher. The Writer’s Journey. Studio City, CA: Michael Weise Productions, 1998. Wizard of Oz, The. Dir. Victor Fleming. Perf. Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, and Ray Bolger. Warner Bros., 1939.
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