Emotions and Confidence in the Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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Ryan Gates
3/11/2013
Short Paper Assignment
Children's Literature

Emotions and Confidence in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a piece of American culture that children have been taking in since the early 20th century. L. Frank Baum first introduced The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, and would write 13 sequel novels after its publication. In 1939, MGM released The Wizard of Oz in technicolor to American audiences. The film exploded, and the popularity of The Wizard of Oz is still present in society today. With a large chunk of American youth being touched by the story created by Baum, it is interesting to look at the messages from the novel and see if they still apply in today’s society. I argue that even though The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published well over a century ago it is still a useful tool for children in modern society. Baum effectively communicate the hardships of struggling through confidence issues which is something that every growing human will face.

Lynam Frank Baum starts his novel in a place where many youths find themselves at some point in their young lives. Dorothy, the protagonist, is having difficulty finding happiness and fun out of her home. The gray prairies of Kansas seem to suck the life out of those who live there. “When Aunt Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife. The sun and wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes ad left them a sober gray; they had taken the red from her cheeks and lips, and they were gray also. She was thin and gaunt and never smiled now” (Baum, 1). Dorothy never outwardly expresses her displeasure for home, but the way it is Baum describes Kansas creates tension between the protagonist and her home. This allows readers to relate with Dorothy, and creates a stronger connection between the reader and the character. Steven Baumann in his essay, Wisdom, Compassion, and Courage in The Wizard of Oz : A Humanbecoming Hermeneutic Study, enthuses, “The...
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