Removing the Curtain

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“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” These are some of the most quotes words in the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. (Baum) Oddly enough, we should have been paying more attention to the meaning behind the curtain of the classic writing of Frank Baum. The Wizard of Oz is not just a fairytale; it contains many aspects of symbolism. Many theories state that the classic story of the American dream is a parable on populism.

The Wizard of Oz was written by L. Frank Baum in the early 1900’s. Around that time, Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States. This time period was also known for the Populist Movement. Populism is defined by Princeton University as, “the political doctrine that supports the rights and powers of the common people in their struggle with privileged elite”. In the Populist Movement, many farmers from across America wanted a change in their financial state. They formed a secret society called the Patrons of Husbandry, also known as, the Grange. The Grange hosted gathers and discussed politics and economics. Soon enough, they realized that all of the framers had one thing in common; they were in debt. They went to many state legislatures to get regulations for the railroad industries. Many states passed the Granger Laws, which established maximum shipping rates. The Farmers wanted to create inflation. Though bad for the economy, inflation helps debtors. To do so, farmers suggest that the money supply be expanded and include money that is not backed by gold. They also encouraged Congress to print Greenback Dollars, which is what they printed in the Civil War. This started the Greenback-Labor Party. Each of these parties ran candidates for the President, but neither could get support for the idea. Fra...

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...said to represent the Native Americans who were forced out of their land by Americans migrating east. The miraculous Emerald City represents Washington DC, which makes it safe to believe that The Emerald Palace represents the White House. The Wizard plays a few different roles in Baums allegory. He represents Mark Hanna, who was the Republican party’s chairman. He is also said to represent the President of the United States. Do you remember how the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Dorothy all saw the Wizard differently? This symbolizes the cynism that exists in politics due to the fact that politicans tend to change thier tune with different people. (Julie) (Baum)
The next time you are watching the Wizard of Oz, take note of what you are actually watching. If you pull away the clever curtain that Baum has created, you will see how researches have come to these conclusions.
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