The cap had already been used twice, once to enslave the Winkies and again to drive the Wizard out of the West, patent injustices committed through the power of gold. The power of gold proves finite and illusory, and it requires the coexistence of silver bimetalism to sustain its power.
The malign manipulation of gold and silver by the wicked Witch represents the other half of the western menace: the self-interested juggling of metal currency by the western nabobs. 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.
In one fell swoop, the parched lands are watered, the farmers are freed, and silver is returned to its rightful owner, the people. In Oz , the denizens of the South, the Quadlings, are described as an odd race who never travel to Emerald City and dislike strangers traveling across their land. Not since the s had a southerner served as president, and immigrants and northerners were generally unwelcome in the South.
Moreover, the road to the land of the Quadlings is perilous and rife with dangers. The picture of the Scarecrow is not so one-sided.
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His conduct on the journey through Oz is marked by common sense, resilience, and rectitude. He is not so dumb after all. As we learn near the end of the story, the Scarecrow-cum-farmer had brains all along-perhaps brains enough to grasp the true causes of his misery and the basics of monetary policy. Proceeding down the road, the duo encounter the Tin Woodman.
Once healthy and productive, the Woodman was cursed by the wicked Witch of the East, lost his dexterity, and accidentally hacked off his limbs. Each lost appendage was replaced with tin until the Woodman was made entirely of metal.
Dorothy's Heroic Journey In The Wizard Of Oz
In essence, the Witch of the East big business reduced the Woodman to a machine, a dehumanized worker who no longer feels, who has no heart. His rusted condition parallels the prostrated condition of labor during the depression of s; like many workers of that period, the Tin Man is unemployed. Having liberated the Tin Man, the trio proceeds through the forest, only to be accosted by a roaring lion. He is none other than William Jennings Bryan, the Nebraska representative in Congress and later the Democratic presidential candidate in and Less courageous, however, were his final decision to vote for annexation albeit as a tactical move and his failure to fight vigorously for free silver in the election of , both of which disappointed Populists.
Still, the Lion, without knowing that he possesses courage, really does. Near the end of the story, he slays a spiderlike monster that is terrorizing the animals of the forest. The predatory beast symbolizes the great trusts and corporations that were thought to dominate economic life at the turn of the century. Baum himself used the monopoly-as-octopus metaphor in a number of later works, including a specific reference to the Standard Oil Company.
Breaking up the trusts and nationalizing the railroads were key components of the Populist agenda, and Bryan favored trust busting if not outright nationalization. Accordingly, the Lion attacks and kills the great beast by knocking off its head. Freed from the eight-legged monster, the grateful forest dwellers vow fealty to the conquering Lion. Would not the Populists have done likewise if Bryan had defeated McKinley and, presumably, slain the trusts?
Another scrape with a menacing beast recapitulates the metaphor.
The Winged Monkeys, the unwilling minions of the Witch of the West, add a further dimension to the Oz allegory. These creatures represent the Plains Indians. Later, they are forced to do the bidding of the Western Witch, who commands them with the golden cap. Yet the Monkeys are not inherently bad; they have become so only through an unnatural and evil force.
On the journey to find Glinda, the good Witch of the South, Dorothy and company pass through Dainty China Country, which they enter by climbing over a high white wall.
China and its Great Wall are the obvious references. But what does China have to do with Gilded Age politics? Second, the Celestial Kingdom was the only major nation still on the silver standard. The last two parallels recall the antiimperialism that Bryan and others championed.
For decades, the Chinese had immigrated to the Far West to labor in various capacities.
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Under pressure from the authorities in California, Congress passed the Exclusion Act , which banned Chinese immigration for twenty years. Look at the Filipinos. The Land of Oz, with its varied landscape and diverse inhabitants, is a microcosm of America, and Emerald City, its center and seat of government, represents Washington, D. In an effort to be made whole, Dorothy and her band travel to the capital to see the Wizard, who presumably has the power to grant them their wishes. Coxey, who hoped to meet with President Cleveland, was arrested for trespassing, and his proposals were ignored.
Dorothy and company also face hazards on the road to Emerald City and are turned away by the Wizard, who shows little sympathy for their plight. 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. As a result, voters often had difficulty in determining what the candidates stood for.
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Politicians are also infamous for failing to keep promises, and the great Oz is no different. By accident, the all-powerful Wizard is exposed and his true identify revealed. The Wizard is simply a manipulative politician who appears to the people in one form, but works behind the scenes to achieve his true ends. As it turns out, the Wizard hails from Omaha, where he became a talented ventriloquist and later a circus balloonist.
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Identification of the Wizard with Bryan would seem to raise an obvious problem. Is he represented by the Lion and the Wizard? Bryan was never president, but he was a masterful politician and an aspirant to the White House. In conjunction with references to Omaha, ventriloquism, and the balloon, the link between Bryan and the Wizard is a reasonable inference. The Land of Oz is colorful, to say the least, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is replete with references to gold, silver, and green. A number of these references have been noted already, but the story makes several others.
The references to gold and silver echo the prominence of monetary politics in the s, especially the bimetallic crusade led by Bryan and the Populists. In a sense, it was a satire aimed at exposing the monopoly within our government. However, it also touches the spirituality and moral aspect of an individual. It manifested the importance of positive thinking. Just like the characters in the book who found the solutions to what they were looking for when they looked into themselves and stopped depending on someone to tell them what to do; the populist took the initiative to appeal for reform that they believe would benefit the masses.
The lesson learned is that the power to reshape and change their lives comes inherently from within them. I'm Angel! Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?
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Blockchain technology. Mahabharata: young king. In this way Eastern witchcraft dehumanized a simple laborer so that the faster and better he worked the more quickly he became a kind of machine. Here is a Populist view of evil Eastern influences on honest labor which could hardly be more pointed.
There is one thing seriously wrong with being made of tin; when it rains rust sets in. Tin Woodman had been standing in the same position for a year without moving before Dorothy came along and oiled his joints.
The Wizard of Oz: A Parable for Populism? Based on the analysis by Henry M. Littlefield - PDF
Hate does not fill the void, a constant lesson in the Oz books, and Tin Woodman feels that only a heart will make him sensitive again. So he accompanies Dorothy to see if the Wizard will give him one. Oz itself is a magic oasis surrounded by impassable deserts, and the country is divided in a very orderly fashion. In the North and South the people are ruled by good witches, who are not quite as powerful as the wicked ones of the East and West. Goodness and innocence prevail even over the powers of evil and delusion in Oz.
She is one of us, levelheaded and human, and she has a real problem. Young readers can understand her quandary as readily as can adults. She is good, not precious, and she thinks quite naturally about others. She is directed toward the Emerald City by the good Witch of the North, since the Wizard will surely be able to solve the problem of the impassable deserts. Remember, neither Dorothy, nor the good Witch of the North, nor the Munchkins understand the power of these shoes. The allegory is abundantly clear. If you had known their power you could have gone back to your Aunt Em the very first day you came to this country.
William Jennings Bryan never outlined the advantages of the silver standard any more effectively.