A number of analogies are admittedly subject to more than one interpretation, and I make no claim that Baum himself intended each one. When the Populist Party met in to decide whether or not to endorse William Jennings Bryan, many delegates, particularly from the South, were opposed. With Rockoff, the allegorical interpretation reached a peak of sophistication, yet its subsequent decline was no less precipitous than that of the Populist Party itself. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a deliberate work of political symbolism. Is he represented by the Lion and the Wizard? Frank Baum, quoted this poem in a recent letter to the New York Times.

McKinley of Ohio, for example, supported the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of , voted for its repeal in , and made the gold standard the cornerstone of his presidential bid. The postmortem on the symbolic reading of Baum soon followed. Later, during the campaign, Baum published a poem championing McKinley and his economic policies: The reaction to Littlefield was, predictably, mixed. Once healthy and productive, the Woodman was cursed by the wicked Witch of the East, lost his dexterity, and accidentally hacked off his limbs. Frank Baum Koupal Frank Baum’s lines and see various images of the United States at the turn of the century.

Adults–especially those of us in history and related fields–like it because we can read between L. It is also interesting to note that Baum’s biographers are opposed to the notion that Baum had any political intent in writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Littlefield, ilttlefield Wizard of Oz: With Rockoff, the allegorical interpretation reached a peak of sophistication, yet its subsequent decline was no less precipitous than that of the Populist Party itself. For years after Baum’s death inthe best biography of him was a twenty-five-page sketch written by Martin Gardner for a new edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in Other putative allegorical devices of the book include the Wicked Witch of the Snd as a figure for the actual American West ; if this is true, then the Winged Monkeys could represent another western danger: Littlefield linked the characters and the story line of the Oz tale to the political landscape of the Mauve Decade.


Given the even division of Democrats and Republicans, and the razor-thin majorities of most presidential elections, candidates rarely took clear stands on the issues.

In light of the obvious parallels and correspondences in Ozthe disclaimer stands revealed for what it truly is: Additional allegories have been developed, without claims that they were originally intended by Baum. Raised price on foreign farm machinery.

So Was the Wizard of Oz an Allegory for Populism?

As editor of a small newspaper in Aberdeen, South Dakota, Baum had written on politics adn current events in the late s and early s, a period that coincided with the formation of the Populist Party.

Specifically, the book emphasized an aspect of theosophy that Norman Vincent Peale would later call “the power of positive thinking”: Incorporating the analogies developed by Littlefield pz others, and adding a few of his own, Rockoff provided a detailed and sustained analysis of the political and economic issues symbolically refracted in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Gardner wrote just two sentences on Baum’s politics: Rather, I have adopted and occasionally embellished those that fit the Populist parable best.

From Greek Myth to Computer Chipspurports that “The Wizard symbolizes bankers who support the gold standard and oppose adding silver to it By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The Ltitlefield Hopkins University Press. To use this website, you must agree to our Privacy Policyincluding cookie policy. Around these economic and political grievances, the Populist movement coalesced.


Registration Forgot your password? Clanton suggested that if the Wicked Witch of the East was the forces of industrial capitalism, then Baum’s Wicked Witch of the West was Populism itself.

Oz Populism Theory

The Wizard was no real help, and the group took care of the Witch themselves. Wizzard victims of the Kansas calamity also took aim at the politicians, who often appeared indifferent to their plight. Every character possesses the virtues they doubt. Archived from the original PDF on 3 April This sophistication explains the disclaimer ligtlefield the introduction to Oz: It was an interesting notion, one scholars could not leave alone, and they soon began to find additional correspondences between Populism and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Quite simply, Oz operates on two levels, one literal and puerile, the other symbolic and political.

henry littlefield thesis and wizard of oz

He is powerless and, as he admits to Dorothy, “I’m a very bad Wizard”. Littlefield took pains to say, then and later, that he does not believe Baum had a political agenda in writing The Wizard of Ozand that his observations were allegorical, not theoretical.

The off of the Scarecrow is thdsis so one-sided. Archived from the original on August 13, This page was last edited on 10 Mayat One could try to reconcile the differences by suggesting that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was not so much about the Populists themselves as it was about the culture that gave rise to the Populists.

henry littlefield thesis and wizard of oz