The Wizard of Oz

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Childhood vs Adulthood

The change in setting from Kansas to Oz is synonymous and also symbolic of Dorothy’s transition from childhood to adulthood. I will be drawing on specific examples from the movie where it is evident that Dorothy’s behavior in Oz reflects a more mature adult-like tone whereas similar situations in Kansas illuminate childishness.

The most prominent example in Kansas where Dorothy demonstrates her child-like behavior is when Ms Gulch comes to take Toto away. Dorothy’s expression and tone shows that she is extremely distressed and frustrated. As a result, Dorothy aggressively shoves Ms Gulch and yells “No no I wont let you take him. You go away or ill bite you myself, you wicked old Witch!”. The audience can almost certainly relate this behavior to that of a child throwing a temper tantrum when they are upset. Dorothy’s decision to use name calling and threaten to bite Ms Gulch strongly shows her inability to stay calm.

Dorothy’s behavior in Oz is much different than what is demonstrated in Kansas. Her tone, attitude and reactions to unfavorable events represent more of the “Adult” Dorothy. The audience never experiences Dorothy losing her cool the way she did in Kansas. Rather, instead of a child, Dorothy is seen as more of a mother figure to the Scarecrow, Lion and the Tin-man. Also, an example of this is when the Witch captures Toto, Dorothy says “Oh please give me back my Dog!” Toto is taken from Dorothy in two situations. Once in Kansas, and the other time in Oz. Her contrasting responses highlight the evolution of Dorothys persona from Childhood to Adulthood. She responds in a much more adult like calm, conflict resolution seeking fashion in Oz, she is even willing to negotiate and compromise the Ruby Red Slippers in order to get Toto back. This is a stark difference from Dorothy’s aggressive behavior in Kansas when Ms Gulch took Toto.

The comparison of Dorothy’s reaction when Toto is taken away from her is symbolic...
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