What are the social values of the wizard of Oz? For example, what it means to be a valuable member of society (i.e you need to be clever, brave, caring -  but society is often organised not to appreciate, recognise and promote these qualities in people

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In society, people often view others from shallow or surface perspectives. If one is beautiful, outwardly attractive, then one is valued and appreciated. Truly, some people focus on the outward man and leave the inward man's important qualities unnoticed.

Likewise, one who is well off financially seems to capture people's respect. Great value is placed on individuals who have wealth or riches. They drive the finest cars and have the most luxurious homes. No doubt, it is extremely difficult to not place emphasis on people who have wealth or riches.

In The Woderful Wizard of Oz, emphasis is paced on inward qualities. The Scarecrow wishes for a brain--intellect. He is off to see the Wizard just to get a brain. Truly, intellect is valued. In fact, Scarecrow feels incomplete in not having a brain. He desires to be important, and he believes a brain will make him become important.

Next, the Cowardly Lion desires courage. He values bravery. As one who feels afraid of life, courage is an important quality to have. The Lion is determined to reach Emerald City. There he will receive a most treasured quality as courage. It takes courage to make it through life.

Another quality that is sought is a heart. The Tin Man desires to have a heart. Having heart is emphasized and is of utmost importance. Having heart can cause one to endure difficult situations. Having heart is a touching quality. It is a worthy quality that will give one strength to make it through the hard times while having compassion on others who are less fortunate.

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, society puts value on intellect. courage, and heart. None of the characters have shallow desires. The characters seek worthy qualities. Even Dorothy does not seek beauty or riches. She desires to go home to see her family.

Lastly. the overall theme is self sufficiency:

The predominant theme of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is self-sufficiency. The Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion all seek external magic to give them qualities they already possess but fail to recognize.

Each of the qualities that each character desires is a quality that each one already possesses. Truly, the characters each possess intellect, courage and a heart. The Wizard just has to convince each character of his or her quality.

No doubt, the social values in this work are inward qualities such as intellect. courage. and a heart. Intellect, courage, and having a heart are admirable triats that are greatly valued by society in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial