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Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Wizard of OZ, an allegory


The Wizard of OZ, an allegory

Mrs. C is a really big fan of “The Wizard of Oz.” There is a wall in one half of my man cave that I allow her to display her 20 different “Wizard of Oz” plates framing a poster of Dorothy and her three friends on the yellow brick road. 

I like the movie, so I allow the display.

This Christmas one station broadcast this movie in a loop all day long and Mrs. C stayed glued to that channel.  It reminded me of a visitor a few years back who had to explain the real meaning of the movie to us.

This sort of friend, then acquaintance and now stranger was invited to dinner one night as he was alone and Mrs. C has a way of taking in the lonely from time to time, a way which I have tried unsuccessfully to divert.

While showing this person our home he had to comment on the “Wizard of Oz” wall.

“You know of course, that the movie was really an allegory on the corruption of capitalism and the benefits of communism don’t you?”

“Why no, I/we don’t.”

He went on to explain how every part of the movie, the Capitalist bad witches, the Communist good witches, the false god of following the yellow brick road (gold you know) and the Wizard who represented Blah…Blah…Blah.  Everything had some inner meaning of battling economic ideals.

And I thought it was just some sweet movie of a little girl saving her dog from a nasty old crone.

There is a locker room saying, “some people could even ruin a wet dream.”  Not a very proper or descriptively pretty saying, but it does make a point.

This guy could sure ruin a good movie.

I’ve since done some research on the allegory of “The Wizard of Oz” and found several interpretations.

The silver slippers (They were silver in the original book, changed to ruby for the color in the movie)and yellow brick road represented some economic issues of the time the story was written.  There is the capitalism/communism interpretation, there is a farmer vs industrialization with the scarecrow representing the farmer, the tin man industry and the cowardly lion Williams Jennings Bryant.  Apparently some smart people can find a way to make this movie about anything they find to be important.

Seems to me that if a story is interpreted multiple ways, it is either a lousy allegory, or people are just looking for stuff that isn't there.  An allegory shouldn't slap you in the face, but it should be subliminally understood in one specific way, or what is the point?


I’ve always wondered with this or any story, does the author always have an underlying theme? (I know, theme and allegory not exactly the same, but close enough for this post.)

In school, English literary teachers always had the same question for every novel or play ever written, “What was the authors theme to this story?”

Does a story have to have a theme? 

Does an author really sit down and think,

“What story can I tell that will make people be nice to their neighbors and eat all their vegetables?”

I don’t think so.  I believe most authors think,

“Hey, I have an idea for a really good story!”

Anyway I did learn in my Literary/English courses in school that the answer to “What was the authors theme” was always,

“Man’s inhumanity to man!”  

I never really understood what that answer means, but it always got a “Very good” nod from my teachers.  

So what is the story of “The Wizard of Oz” really about?  

It seems really smart people can make it about almost anything. 

It could be another example of “Man’s inhumanity to man” or as Sigmund Freud once responded about the sexual significance of a cigar in a dream,

“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!”     


  1. It just makes me think: Better get to the storm shelter quick when a tornado is comin'!

  2. Phew, glad he was scratched off the stray people invite. Bet he is deep into QAnon. I never pick apart anything. I either enjoy it or don't. You, I enjoy.

  3. if see closely as thinking part of Nature we are or we feel so obliged to convey consciously or unconsciously what Nature want to point out (my opinion)

    i can say this because i think for this particular purpose we are given the gif of imagination ,a most important gift from Nature that could made everything possible in life which makes our life different from our late late ancestors from banking to from inventions everything is possible because imagine first .we hardly think about this super power of imagination do we ?
    i think different people look at same thing with different perspective and those who come up with such metaphysical meaning must be gifted with extra depth of imagination and are obliged to point out that front of others because nothing is random here believe it or not dear friend Joe !
    thank you so much for kind words on my blog ,it was great pleasure to meet you and to know mr C through your blog ! God bless you and loved ones!

  4. All these years and I finally know what this represents. Go figure.

    Have a fabulous day and week, Joe. ☺

  5. I had no idea… a parable about capitalism and communism? Sounds a bit like horse hockey (lol). But I suppose if you wanted to, you could apply any number of scenarios you could apply if one A) had nothing to do with their lives (which sounds plausible) or B) one of those annoying people that comes up with stuff like that.
    Like you, I never put all that together, just saw it as a good vs evil type story.

  6. I must be simple. I've never been able to "get" the "real meaning" behind the joys of the story. Bah, humbug, I say.

  7. Baum didn't like that all of the fairy tales were European in origin, so he set out to write an American fairy tale about a little girl from the heartland of this country. That's really about it, it's just a fairy tale.

  8. Not my favourite movie so I will be happy enough to never see it again.
    I always hated English teachers asking the class, "What do you think the writer means/is trying to say?" I don't recall ever raising my hand with an answer.

  9. I remember seeing that movie when I was a kid and we only had a black and white TV so I guess I lost a bit of the drama! However, I loved it and my thoughts were: "I hate storms and tornados!" "I wish I could have a cool dream like that!" My granddaughter, Addy, loves that movie and a few years ago it was shown again at the movie theater. What a blast to see it on the big screen. I'm sure I blogged about it! I don't try and see into movies deep meanings because I'm not a deep thinker I guess. I hate folks who do what your visitor did. My Mom loved "Gone With The Wind" and Clark Gable. She had a friend over to watch it on TV once and he had to mention that he heard Clark Gable had horrible bad breath. She never invited him over again. Of course now I always have to wonder if it were true or not. I just try and enjoy his flicks anyway! Happy New Year to you and Mrs. C!