There’s No Place Like Home
For hundreds of years, parents have been enthralling children with stories of magic and wishes coming true. Fairy tales are passed from one generation to the next through oral tradition, and, in modern times, books. As various societies develop, fairy tales are changed to fit the needs and morals those societies want to impress upon their children. Thus, the style and content of a fairy tale is directly affected by the social attitudes of a particular society at a particular time. Jack Zipes adopts and assumes the magical folktale is the oral version and the fairytale the literary version of a tale when he describes the rise of “the fairytale in the Western world as the mass-mediated cultural form of the folktale” (Zipes 15). Fairy tales include common themes, motifs, story lines, and characters that aid in the protagonist’s working towards a common goal. In the first chapter of his book, Swiss scholar Max Lüthi identifies fourteen characteristics that are vital to the unique classification of a fairy tales as demarcated from other forms of children’s literture. With the help of these distinctive structural and stylistic features, Frank L. Baum’s novel, “The Wizard of Oz” can be classified within the boundaries of the fairy tale. USE OF OUTSIDE WORLD (SOCIETAL COMMENTARY): “The Wizard of Oz,” like so many fairy tales, naturally has cultural, social, and political undertones interwoven within the text. Virtually all of Baum’s characters and magical land pertain to specific cultural or socio-political event of the time. Contemporary social issues are unconsciously rolled into the fabric of the story like: the yellow brick road and the silver slippers that both symbolize the influence of the gold and silver debate prominent in Baum’s time. SIMILARITIES BETWEEN GRIMM & BAUM: Baum lifts phrases almost directly from Grimm. In “The Wizard of Oz”…“she wished the girl to remain with her to do the cooking and cleaning” (Baum...
Cited: Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. “Hansel and Gretel.” The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers
Grimm. Trans. Jack Zipes. New York: Bantam Books, 2003. 53-58.
Lüthi, Max. Once Upon a Time. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976. 21-34.
Zipes, Jack. Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales. Kentucky:
University Press of Kentucky, 2002.
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