The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Baum's Land of Oz: A Reflection of a Corrupt America 12th Grade

Though regarded by many as a harmless children's tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was crafted by L. Frank Baum to convey an allegory of the Populist Party during the 1890s and to illustrate his concerns about the American government. Baum pinpointed the apparently negative direction of the country through the characterization of Oz and the symbolism of the cyclone, the green spectacles, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow. The three companions of Dorothy are included in the story not only to provide assistance along the way of her journey, but also to present subtle hints to readers of their resemblance to characters of the Populist Party, further extending the allegory that Baum had devised.

The characterization of Oz supports Baum’s distaste of the American government because of his inability to properly rule over his people. Oz is depicted as a selfish and greedy ruler. His main priority is not what it should be, his people. When Oz is revealed, he says, “I have fooled everyone so long that I thought I should never be found out. It was a great mistake my ever letting you into the Throne Room. Usually I will not see even my subjects, and so they believe I am something terrible.” (82). Oz is cowardly and ashamed...

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