What is the theme of The Wizard of Oz?
This story is a combination of fantasy and Bildungsroman and moral lesson, in that, while the main action takes place in a fantasy world, the dramatic action begins when the child Dorothy is removed from her childhood environment by a storm and “grows up” as she seeks to return home (to Kansas). By personifying the character traits required in an adult world -- courage, intelligence, and "humanity” (a heart) -- the author has Dorothy acquire these traits to “carry on” to her destination. Part of what makes the piece so interesting is that she discovers that there is “good” and “evil” in the world and that the Wizard himself is sort of a fraud (meaning that as an adult she must mentally “look behind the curtain” at what is real and what is illusion in the adult world.) Finally, an adult must “follow the yellow brick road” (the path of life) without knowing where it leads. The theme, then, is “growing from childhood to adulthood, encountering the dangers (real and imagined), the friendly companions, the opportunities, the experiences, and the character traits as one matures."