Paving the Way for Women Via The Yellow Brick Road

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Paving the Way for Women Via
The Yellow Brick Road

The fairy tale or quest story which most captured my imagination is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Written in 1900 and illustrated by W.W. Denslow, most people are only familiar with the timeless movie, which plays on or around the holiday season at least one time per year. As youngsters, we have all certainly seen the movie at one time or another – a testament to what a powerful narrative it is. This story tells of an eventual ‘hero’ who sets out on an ‘epic quest’ in order to save the land from ‘the big bad’. Seeming to be pretty standard fare as far as fairy tales start, this timeless gem is anything but standard. Written during the turn of the 20th century, it was strongly influenced by Maude Gauge who was Baum’s wife, a second generation women’s suffrage activist. Maude played an integral role in giving Baum the drive he needed to carry on his study after his life was beset with many pitfalls, both financially and spiritually. She also heavily influenced how Baum envisioned Dorothy when writing about her. Feminist strengths shine to light through Dorothy and Baum shared his wife’s strong feminist views about what was going on in the world around them at the time of writing.
Many fairy tales and quest stories did not start life off with the format you see today. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was based on a story which originally came along in a book as many of the modern films of today are similarly conceived. Dorothy is the main character in the tale and of course is faced with a seemingly impossible challenge. This tale captivates me due to it being relatable to my own life, and its struggles, trials, and tribulations. Granted, I have never been in ...

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... interpret a fairytale in their own minds, they would get a greater sense of meaning and purpose from it. Readers of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz were touched by the characters’ built-in contradictions allowing the reader to care and identify with them, along with the challenges they faced throughout their journey. L. Frank Baum was a visionary who wrote tales for children and his works show his appetite for progress in the world. Dorothy has withstood the test of time and just like Glinda’s magic book, has evolved along with the rest of the world. She is an inspiration to children the world over, and will be for many years to come.

Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. Happy Endings. Boston: Wadsworth, 1983.
Baum, Louis Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Chicago: George M. Hill Company, 1900.
Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment. London: Penguin Books, 1976.

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