HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Religion & Spirituality » Religion (Group) » Being Toto
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:45 AM

Being Toto

The Wizard of Oz is a secular humanist parable.

I’m not the first to point this out. But the eye roll I got from my 17-year-old son when I said it at dinner the other night could have cleared the dishes from the table. He’s currently soldiering through an AP Lit class in which the teacher earnestly insists that no cigar is ever, ever just a cigar. When one of the short stories they read described a red ovarian cyst in a jar, the teacher looked searchingly at the ceiling. “Red,” she said, drawing out the syllable and shaping her next thought with her hands. “Passion.”

“OR,” said my boy in the exasperated retelling, “red — the color of an ovarian cyst!!”

So I knew I was in for it when I claimed that The Wizard of Oz isn’t just a story about a girl and her weird dream.

But it isn’t.

Frank Baum (who wrote the book) was a religious skeptic and Ethical Culturist. Yip Harburg (who wrote the screenplay and songs) was an atheist. That doesn’t mean a thing by itself, of course. But it takes very little ceiling-gazing and hand-gesturing to see the Oz story as a direct reflection of a humanistic worldview.

Dorothy and her friends have deep, yearning human needs — for home, knowledge, heart and courage. When they express these needs, they’re told that only the omnipotent Wizard of Oz can fulfill them. They seek an audience with the Wizard, tremble in fear and awe, then are unexpectedly ordered to do battle with Sata… sorry, the Witch, who turns out pretty feeble in the end. (Water, seriously?) When they return, having confronted their fears, the Wizard dissembles, and Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal a mere human behind all the smoke and holograms — at which point they learn that all the brains, courage, heart, and home they sought from the Wizard had always been right in their own hands.

It’s really not much of a stretch to see the whole thing as a direct debunk of religion and a celebration of humanistic self-reliance. And as a bonus, Connor actually granted me the point.

http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/?p=8363

3 replies, 541 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
Reply Being Toto (Original post)
cleanhippie Dec 2012 OP
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #1
dballance Dec 2012 #2
AlbertCat Dec 2012 #3

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:00 PM

1. Are you familiar

with "Web of Debt" by Ellen Hodgson Brown? There are many commentators who believe that the Wizard of Oz was written as a monetary allegory.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:00 PM

2. There was a link here the other day to an NPR documentary

on Yip Harburg. Did you get to see it? It had his son in it and his son detailed what each of the characters in the Wizard of Oz symbolized. It was a good documentary.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 01:58 PM

3. The Wizard of Oz isn’t just a story about a girl and her weird dream.

No it isn't.

Because in the book(s) ...

It's NOT a dream. That's just in the film.

The film's clear message is: There's no place like home...America!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread