What does it all mean? Scholars study ‘The Wizard of Oz’
BY LISA GUTIERREZ
THE KANSAS CITY STAR
08/22/2014 3:25 PM
08/24/2014 7:37 PM
(Aug 25, 2014) — 08/22/2014 3:25 PM
Link To Articlehttp://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/wizard-of-oz/article1277530.html
08/24/2014 7:37 PM
Here’s an ice-breaker to throw out at your next party: Was “The Wonderful Wizard of
Oz” by L. Frank Baum a parable on Populism?
Either people’s eyes will glaze over or your guests will dive right in, as scholars
have been doing for years.
Baum’s 1900 book, which inspired the Judy Garland movie of 1939, has been dissected
cover to cover. Scholarly papers, book-length studies and biographies have all searched
for its meanings.
Even noted American author Gore Vidal was intrigued and wrote a series of lengthy
essays in 1977 about the books in the New York Review of Books.
Is it social satire? Political allegory? Or fairy tale? Maybe, maybe and definitely
“We can read between L. Frank Baum’s lines and see various images of the United States
at the turn of the century,” one of those scholars, David B. Parker, wrote in the
Journal of the Georgia Association of Historians.
Parker, assistant chairman of the department of history and philosophy at Kennesaw
State University in Georgia, likens “Oz” to another influential book.
“The Bible is very rich with events and people, and people can find anything they
want in the Bible. You can make it prove anything you want,” he says. “And I think
that’s one of the real accomplishments of the (‘Oz’) book.” …
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.