If comparing the movie to current politics, much can be tied to the wicked witch. The witch has many of the flying monkeys which abide to all of her commands. Using this, the monkeys represent the US Congress in which senators and state representatives do what the president says. This further makes the house of congress seem like puppets on the larger scale. The monkeys also did not like the witch and they were excited when Dorothy melted her. This is analogous for the way the US is never pleased with the Government. The Witch did not defend herself substantially, allowing Dorothy to kill her easily, which could be symbolic of the way that the US government doesn’t have a strong handle on all of the issues in the US.
During the Gilded age, urbanization and poverty struck many of the newly industrialized and booming cities. This is parallel to Dorothy’s life at the beginning of the movie when it is still in black and white and she’s singing “somewhere over the rainbow” which could be her hoping of a better life and the “American dream” like most of those who came to the united states also hoping for a better life. In the beginning of the movie, the Dorothy has to walk on the Yellow brick road to get to the Emerald City. This is similar to the Silver and Gold standard in the Gilded age. The Silver standard versus Gold standard was widely debated along with the greenback dollar which had no real wealth, just like the Emerald City. Along her journey, Dorothy first meets the Scarecrow who wishes he had a brain. Throughout his journey through Oz, he uses common sense and flexibility which makes him similar to the Farmers of the populist party who were unhappy with their situation, but weren’t fully informed of the true causes of their economic struggles.
The difference between city life and country life is that if you live in the city, you have barely any privacy but, in the country life there can be woods all around your house and no one can see you. In the city there are lots of apartments not really houses and in the country you have your own houses that are bigger and the more people can come over. Lastly in the city you can’t hunt, you can’t ...
Next was the Tin woodsman, who wanted a heart. It appears as if he wants a heart because he’s no longer able to feel for people. This is similar to the ways in which the factory workers were dehumanized and turned into mindless machines after years of monotonous work. The wicked Witch of the East was the one responsible for cursing the tin woodsman and making him turn completely tin. This makes her like the capitalist businessmen or the big businessmen who didn’t care so much about the workers and how they felt, but rather how much money they were making and how they could increase output in their businesses. The tin woodsman uses the oil for lubrication, which could be symbolic of the way that Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was one of the big businesses of the time and ruled over the small factory workers like the tin man. Without the owners, the workers would be out of a job and the unemployment rate would continue to rise as was shown during the Gilded Age. After the Tin woodsman, the group faced the Lion. The lion exhibited traits that made him seem cowardly through the encounter with the group because of the fact that he feels that he lacks courage.
Because of this, he is a parallel for William Jennings Bryan. Bryan was a candidate from the Populist party who was thought of as cowardly to the American people when he failed to fight for free silver in the Election of 1900. Just as a lion has courage, Bryan had the courage to run for president 4 different times and lost each time. Since Bryan is a parallel to the Lion, McKinley is a parallel to the Wizard. When faced with the Silver versus gold standard, McKinley took the side of the Gold standard which helped him defeat Bryan in the election and also is a parallel to the way that the yellow brick road led to the Wizard just as the gold act led to McKinley. As the entire group skips down the Yellow Brick Road, The Wicked Witch of the West watches them and plots against them and gathers things to kill Dorothy to obtain her Ruby Slippers.
I know you’re wondering how The Wonderful Wizard of Oz relates to the Populist Era, well it was said that the author L. Frank Baum was contrasting the Wizard of Oz to the Populist Era. In 1964 Henry M. Littlefield published “The Wizard of Oz: Parable on Populism” in the American Quarterly explaining the similarities between the two. He explains how a lot of the characters from the Wizard of Oz ...
This makes her symbolic of the West where a majority of the raw materials were gathered to build Railroads that linked the East and the West. If this is a possible parallel, then it may also be true that the winged monkeys, who did anything for her, were like the Chinese workers who slaved over the railroads. On the other hand, the winged monkeys claimed that they were once free until Oz was taken over to be ruled over. This is like the Native Americans who once roamed free over the US and then were forced to move once expansion of the US occurred. Since Dorothy was like the populist group and the Emerald City was like the large government bodies that was ruled over by the Wizard (or the president in US politics), then the journey to the Emerald city could be a parallel for the Populist part trying to obtain power in government, as was shown as the populist party continued to grow in the Gilded age and Populist leaders like Bryan tried to run for President.