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Symbolic Parallels between Kansas and the Land of Oz

To what extent are symbolic analogues used inThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, to convey differences between the civilizations of Dorothy’s place land of Kansas and the Land of Oz?


I am analyzing the differences between the civilization of Dorothy’s place land of Kansas and the civilization she experiences in the Land of Oz by researching the usage of symbolic analogues withinThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The book opens with a description of Kansas, and so returns to whisk Dorothy off to Oz, which is a unusually different land at first glimpse. Oz is presented as a parallel land, intending it has many similarities to Kansas in 1900 but besides has huge differences in visual aspect from the “broad expanse of level country” ( Baum, 13 ) Dorothy was accustomed to seeing. Oz is its ain alone civilization, which, harmonizing to, is described as “the behaviours and beliefs feature of a peculiar societal, cultural, or age group…” ( “culture” ) . Oz consists of a big group of people with similar beliefs sing cordial reception, leading, and metropolis life. This similarity is the footing of my comparing.

I conducted my research by first happening information on Kansas, so happening similarities between the text and my research. These similarities were seen in the signifier of personality traits, place ideals, and other qualities that come from within ; the visual aspects of most Ozian objects did non fit the Kansan descriptions, or if they did, they were populating animals. The three chief cultural convergences that I found and will concentrate on are cordial reception, explored through the dwellers of Munchkinland ; leading qualities, explored through the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Lion ; and metropolis life, explored through the Emerald City.

I concluded that the civilization of Oz and the civilization of Kansas are highly similar at their roots, pulled together by abstractions of the same cultural ideals. Though the cultural construction of Oz appears to be different, it is really similar to the construction of Kansas when both are examined more closely.

[ 300 words ]


To what extent are symbolic analogues used inThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, to convey differences between the civilizations of Dorothy’s place land of Kansas and the Land of Oz? The chief differences are in cordial reception, leading, and metropolis life ; these will be explored through the usage of primary beginnings that were written by people who have lived in or visited Kansas, secondary beginnings about the civilization of Kansas, andThe Wonderful Wizard of Ozitself. The beginnings will supply background information and grounds for claims sing civilization, through usage of firsthand histories. Though these personal histories are biased, the usage of a broad assortment of beginnings allows for the geographic expedition of every position.


The cordial reception shown by the Munchkins to Dorothy is really similar to the cordial reception that would hold been shown to travellers in Dorothy’s place land of Kansas. The civilizations are highly similar, if non the same, in this facet because they both show kindness and are welcoming to a alien from a unusual land, with no inquiries asked and no intuitions voiced. It could be said that the cordial reception shown to Dorothy was in portion because of the fact that she killed the Wicked Witch of the East, nevertheless it does non look that this is the exclusive drive force behind their kindness, because she is shown the same welcome even in the far reaches of Munchkin district. This is the same cordial reception that would hold been given to a alien going along the dust-covered back roads of Kansas, because it was considered to be polite, allowing a alien slumber in an excess bed or on a sofa for a dark with no inquiries asked, supplying them a repast that dark or the following forenoon and anticipating nil in return. Often, even if the alien offered to counterbalance their host for the dark, the host would decline, as Larry Hornbaker states in his history of his visit to Kansas “…he would non accept any money for the 30 proceedingss clip he had spend assisting me” ( Hornbaker ) . The people expect that if they treat their neighbours good in their clip of demand, they will be treated in the same manner if they themselves of all time need aid.

The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman, and The Lion

. The encephalon sought by the Scarecrow is symbolic of the cognition gained through life experiences and school, linking the scarecrow’s being to the educational reforms of the early 1900s. The Scarecrow’s deficiency of cognition, nevertheless, is due to his short life [ 1 ] and it is seen more and more throughout the book that he is rather intelligent and clever. As the king of beasts said, “‘One would about believe you had a encephalon for all the thought you do’” ( Baum, 70 ) . This is a direct connexion to the deficiency of execution of primary and secondary schools in the early 1900s. In 1900, merely 7 % of kids in the United States were enrolled in primary school. ( Tyack and Cuban, 66 ) The little sum of kids enrolled was a mark that the school systems were merely get downing to turn, which is to state that the school systems were still “young” with room to turn and larn, merely as the Scarecrow’s life was immature and he still had much to larn.

A bosom is considered to be an indispensable portion of the human organic structure, typifying emotions, and the ability to emote, which is what defines worlds. The Tin Woodman’s want for a bosom is his desire to derive back the humanity he lost as he lost his limbs and was transformed into a Sn adult male. As the Tin Woodman was human one time, he is a symbol for being lost.

Lions are a traditional symbol of bravery and courage, but the Lion’s character in Oz considers himself to be a coward. He feels useless and like he is non carry throughing his “lion duties” when he does non face danger head-on. A deficiency of bravery is something often felt by worlds, linking the animals of Oz to Kansas yet once more, Dorothy is able to associate to the Lion and wants to assist him as he wants to assist her. The Lion’s fright and deficiency of bravery represents the sum of jobs one may hold to cover with in life, and the inability to cover with them. The Kalidahs that lurk in the Lion’s wood are a metaphor for his greatest frights ; the Kalidahs chaff him, endanger the other animate beings in the wood, and maintain him running off. His wish to derive bravery is his willingness to make what needs to be done, to acquire rid of the Kalidahs, free the wood, and go male monarch of the forest, but he feels that he needs to appeal to a higher power to be able to derive the bravery he needs to make so, instead than happening the bravery inside of him and doing himself powerful.

The three of the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Lion demonstrate that the cultural normalcy of Oz is to assist others and take attention of friends, and besides that when you are helped by a individual, you should assist that individual in return. This cultural normalcy in Oz is the same cultural norm that is seen in Dorothy’s Kansas, as has already been demonstrated.

The Emerald City

As the going comrades reach the metropolis, coming upon a big gate outside of it was non a daze, though it would hold been in Kansas. The stature of the big green Gatess environing the metropolis is a traditional symbol of wealth and prestigiousness, as they are big and predicting they radiate the message that it is a hard topographic point to come in and therefore that it is a topographic point that is deserving acquiring into. The emeralds that are set in the walls are a direct show of the wealth of the metropolis, and they are besides saying the namesake of the metropolis, as it is the Emerald City.

The spectacless that the four comrades were forced to have on upon come ining the gate were a spot leery, but the credible grounds for have oning them typify the trust that travellers have in the natural dwellers of an country. This is something seen in both Oz and in, as we witness through reading Dorothy’s ideas in the text, Kansas.

The wealth of the metropolis explains the tremendous cordial reception displayed to Dorothy and her travelling comrades. The construct of sharing wealth to travellers and those without wealth is a common construct, an indispensable constituent of cordial reception, and it is besides something that the people of Oz believed in wholeheartedly when be givening to the four travellers. In Kansas City, this would non hold happened, as there wasn’t plenty wealth to handle invitees extravagantly. Though neither, Dorothy, nor the Lion, nor the Tin Woodman, nor the Scarecrow had any money, they were given the best suites in the metropolis and taken attention of extravagantly while they were waiting to run into with the Wizard. This is the same kindness that would hold been shown in the civilization of Kansas, though the intervention of travellers would non hold been as munificent in Kansas as it was in Oz.

The clip that the Wizard made the travellers wait, and the conditions in which he would run into them were odd. The Wizard did non do any agreements to instantly suit the travellers into a meeting, though he did set up for them to hold a comfy topographic point to rest. This is highly different from the civilization of Kansas, and does non look to be a culturally widespread pattern in Oz, though the instance of those in power may be different from the instance of the common individual in Oz. From the cultural position of Kansas, it would be ill-mannered to non talk to invitees in individual instantly, or to non even run into them personally to set up another meeting clip.

When each of the going comrades meets with the Wizard of Oz, they each see a different image but are told the same things. This is a metaphor for how people view things otherwise when they are told basically the same thing, though in this instance they were genuinely seeing different images as they were systematically being told the same things.


Symbolic analogues are the primary vehicle for comparing the civilization of Oz and the civilization of early 1900’s Kansas. The differences between Oz and Kansas are affairs of mundane norms ; nevertheless, they are basically the same civilization, because the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Lion are the incarnation of the social norms that tie the two civilizations together at their roots.

Bibliography/ Mentions

  1. Baum, Frank L. ,The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,Barnes and Noble Books, New York, 2005, 234 pages
  2. “ civilization. ” Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 01 Sept. 2013. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .
  3. Hornbaker, Larry. 23 August 2013. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ;
  4. Tyack, D. , & A ; Cuban, L. ( 1995 ) .Puttering toward Utopia: A century of public school reform.Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.