Friday, August 13, 2010

The Wizard of Oz

You may have noticed recently on the Google search page it was the 71st anniversary of the 1939 film adaption of the “Wizard of Oz”. Though did you know that the book the of the same name, whilst written as a children’s book, was in fact contained adult allegory about Gold, Silver and paper money?

Here are some interesting interruptions of the hidden meanings in the book:

From Wikipedia:
Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz study the influences of the modern fairy tale written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow, first published in 1900. Many scholars have interpreted the book as an allegory or metaphor for the political, economic and social events of America of the 1890s.....Even the title has been interpreted as alluding to a political reality: "oz." is an abbreviation for ounce, a unit familiar to those who fought for a 16 ounce to 1 ounce ratio of silver to gold in the name of bimetallism.

The Wicked Witch had previously controlled the all-powerful silver slippers (which were changed to ruby in the 1939 film). The slippers will in the end liberate Dorothy but first she must walk in them down the golden yellow brick road, i.e. she must take silver down the path of gold, the path of free coinage (free silver). Following the road of gold leads eventually only to the Emerald City, which may symbolize the fraudulent world of greenback paper money that only pretends to have value, or may symbolize the greenback value that is placed on gold.

The oil needed by the Tin Woodman had a political dimension at the time because Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company stood accused of being a monopoly (which was later ruled correct in a lawsuit brought by the federal government, and ultimately affirmed by the US Supreme Court.) In the 1902 stage adaptation the Tin Woodman wonders what he would do if he ran out of oil. "You wouldn't be as badly off as John D. Rockefeller," the Scarecrow responds, "He'd lose six thousand dollars a minute if that happened."