Discuss what makes the Wizard of Oz a political allegory. Give at least three (3) examples where his imaginary characters and events represent real-life people and events.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Even though Frank L. Baum presented The Wizard of Oz as a children's story meant to entertain, many critics suggested that the story actually was a clever allegory of the Populist movement.

Dorothy's silver slippers-- represent the Populist party's desire for free silver.  They wanted unlimited production of silver coins to help increase inflation, so the nation could pay off its debts.

The Tinman-- represents the Industrialized North.  The fact that he no longer has a heart suggests that the northern factory workers are down-trodden and dehumanized by their long hours of work in factories. 

Scarecrow--represents the simple farmers of the Populist party.  Baum uses the scarecrow to make a point about the farmers he represents; he may not be the most intelligent, but he is loyal and determined. 

Cowardly Lion-- William Jennings Bryan.  In his campaign against Mckinley, he was portrayed as being cowardly by the media opposition because he did not support the Spanish-American War.



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