In reading the article by Griswold, I was pleased to find that I came to many of the same conclusions about the book and film that he did. I too distinguished between the reality vs. imaginative nature of Dorothy’s trip to Oz and drew parallels between Star Wars. I was also pleased to see that my focus on setting was backed up by Griswold’s assertion that “Oz is certainly one of the most memorable things about the book”. Like Griswold, I also noticed that the movie shifts the plot of the movie to a more straightforward line, combining the good witches and omitting the China village and characters like the Hammer Heads in favor of one major climactic moment. I typically do not think of myself as good at identifying these types of comparisons, but I think it came much more easily in this case since I have always loved the movie so much.
I found it interesting that Baum considered himself to be a fairy tale author and that he accepted the fact that people would retell and adapt his stories. This is very contrary to today’s world where everything is copyrighted and people are sued for even incidental copyright infractions. The openness of Baum is perhaps one of the primary reasons for the lasting success of the books, movies, merchandise, and spinoffs. Rather than dampen these efforts with copyright claims, Baum, by the sounds of it, would have likely encouraged these reinterpretations.
The geography of Oz was another aspect that I did not piece together. With so many mentions of the cardinal directions it seems that Baum was all but drawing a map for his readers. Finding each direction linked to a specific trait of our country makes sense and I feel a bit silly for not noticing it before reading the article. Understanding Baum’s geographic history and its ties to Oz provided a deeper understanding of Baum’s frame of reference when writing the Oz books.
In my comparison the book and film, I unfortunately focused very little on Toto, but after reading Griswold’s article, I feel that perhaps I should have given him more attention. While there is little direct attention given to him in the book and movie, he does shape many of the events that take place. From annoying Ms. Gulch in the movie, to jumping out of the basket, Toto truly was a catalyst for many of the shaping events in both stories.
I also had not, foolishly perhaps, noticed the connections between the witches and Auntie Em. I always thought of Auntie Em as a sweet lady, most likely because I had adopted Dorothy’s view of her as portrayed in the movie. When paying specific attention to Auntie Em at the beginning of the film and through Baum's description of her in the book, Auntie Em really does not seem like a nice person. After paying closer attention, it is easy to see how Auntie Em could share character traits with the Wicked Witch. Unlike the Wicked Witch, Auntie Em does care deeply for Dorothy, a love which is portrayed by the good witches.
I'm Edie - wife, mom, instructional designer,online instructor, home renovator,
and lover of nature, travel, technology, and vintage campers!