Allegory in the Wizard of Oz

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The Wizard of Oz (1939) begins presumably after an altercation with Ms. Gulch as Dorothy Gale, the main character of the film, and her pup Toto is seen scurrying down a Kansas dirt road. They come to a temporary halt, and Dorothy checks to see if Toto is injured before proceeding to the farm she lives on with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. Upon arriving, she suffers a failed attempt at sharing the news with her uncle and aunt due to being shooed away. Disregarding this, she tries again and manages to mention how Toto was hit on the back with a rake because he got into Ms. Gulch’s garden and chased her cat — which he seems to do regularly when Dorothy is walking home.

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It is revealed later that Toto bit Ms. Gulch’s leg in self-defense, and Ms. Gulch wants to have him put down because of it. Free Toto! Dorothy then seeks a listening ear from the three farm helpers: Zeke, Hunk, and Hickory. Hunk advises her to ‘use her brains’ and take an alternative route home to prevent Toto from getting into trouble, and Zeke encourages her to ‘get some courage’ and spit in Ms. Gulch’s eye. Eventually, the wicked witch Ms. Gulch arrives at the family’s home and presents them with an order for Toto from the sheriff. Aunt Em hesitates after Dorothy pleads with her, but she then directs her niece to surrender the pup because the law is the law.

As Ms. Gulch is riding away on her bicycle, Toto hops out of the basket positioned on the back of the bike then returns to Dorothy. This results in the both of them running away because Dorothy was sure Toto would be pursued once it was discovered he was missing from the basket. After being tricked by the professor, a fake psychic who ‘sees’ in his crystal ball that heartbroken Aunt Em is clutching her heart through her chest and falling onto the bed, the duo returns to the farm. Meanwhile, they are caught by a tornado, and Dorothy seeks shelter inside the house because the storm cellar is occupied and locked. The window hits her on her head, which causes her to dream of an adventure she takes in the Land of Oz to find her way back home to Kansas.

One of my favorite parts was during the scene where Ms. Gulch was explaining to Uncle Henry how Toto bit her. He misinterprets her explanation twice. The first time, he thinks that she is saying Dorothy bit her. The second time, he thinks that she is saying Dorothy bit, Toto. Another part I loved was when the movie transitioned into color — it was truly magical. For a 1930’s film, everything seemed so advanced beyond its time. Maybe I should watch more films that were produced during that time to compare the qualities. It’s awesome how everything is continually progressing and making things actually appear to be realistic. I would love if there was a chapter or so that covered how they can make this happen. Spill the tea!

The Wizard of Oz can be connected to the film in several ways. Firstly, the film was produced by M-G-M. M-G-M is one of the five major studios that dominated the film industry. M-G-M was born when Marcus Loew bought three small production companies and merged them: Metro-Goldwin-Mayer. In addition, M-G-M was widely renowned for having well-known stars in their films, such as Judy Garland — a-k-a Dorothy. Lastly, The Wizard of Oz can be identified as a mass production product. Dream factory, which was coined by Hortense Powdermaker, insinuates that the film is similar yet different in comparison to other American items.

The film is similar because it is simply an item being sold just like toothpaste, cars, and laundry detergent. In contrast, the film is much more than an item. It is a dream. Furthermore, it isn’t a short-term durable good or an even shorter-term non-durable good. It is an intangible good solely because the hour and the 52-minute long film were absorbed into the memories of many, even those born long after it premiered. There was a pair of glittered red heels in Walmart that I used to try on as a child, and my heels always went click, click, click. Unfortunately, this Land of Oz was and still is my home.

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