This question is deceptive in its apparent simplicity as it raises
some problematic issues, which extend beyond the text right across
The term "fairytale" itself is a contentious one and is unpopular with
many folklorists (see Luthi, Warner, Luke). Often epithets like
"wondertale", "magic tale" are employed. Even in some English
translations of European works the more semantically accurate Russian
or German terms (volshebnye skazka and [zauber]Marchen) are used.
Often authorities expound at length upon is the difference between
myth and folktale and then folktale and fairytale. Space will not
allow us to open that can of worms her. For our purposes I shall use a
system Jack Zipes adopts and assume the magical folktale is the
oral version and the fairytale the literary version of a tale: "The
Fairytale in the Western world is the mass mediated cultural form of
the folktale." (Zipes, Spell, 12).
This fact established we must then consider what constitutes a
fairytale. Does it possess distinctive structural, stylistic or
temporal features? What gives it its generic status and demarcates it
from other forms of children's literature? Part of this essay will
focus on these and similar questions with the aim of ultimately
concluding whether Frank L. Baum's 1900 novel The Wizard of Oz (Oz)
can feasibly rank within the generic confines of "fairytale."
Initially, though, as opposed to looking for a definitive answer as
whether Oz incontrovertibly is or isn't a fairytale, I feel it would
be more profitable to look for a correlation between traditional
wondertales and Baum's mo...
... middle of paper ...
...n The Emerald City of Oz Dorothy returns to her rightful
home and rank as a princess of Oz.
 If we look at a tale like Rapunzel we see a girl of 12 whose
pubertal state is indicated by her growing hair, become interested in
men ("She wasn't afraid any longer" (Grimm, 68) and she quickly
matures to procreative and beneficial sexual activity. Any punishment
she receives along the way is overcome- conflict: resolved.
 Prof. Swann Jones disagrees when he write: "Audiences who continue
to enjoy this story [Oz] not because they have some latent interest in
nineteenth century economic upheavals, but because they have a
subliminal empathy with a heroine who faces the challenges of
overcoming her own insecurities and anxieties and because they enjoy
the fairy-tale like depiction of the overcoming of those challenges."
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