Friday, 26 April 2013
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a beloved American fantasy book written by L. Frank Baum, and first published in 1900. It is best known for its 1939 movie adaptation, a film that is considered one of the most iconic films ever made.
The story begins with a young girl named Dorothy, who is whisked away from Kansas by a raging cyclone (along with her house, and her dog, Toto) and deposited in the land of Oz. Her very arrival puts an end to the reign of the Wicked Witch of the East, who is unfortunately crushed to death by her falling house, thereby freeing the race of little people living there (called the Munchkins) from her tyranny.
Dorothy is welcomed by the Good Witch of the North, who tells her that the Munchkins were prepared to accept her as their new ruler. But when Dorothy expresses her desire to return home, she is told that only the great Oz could grant that desire, a powerful wizard who rules over the land from his castle in the City of Emeralds
In order to reach the Emerald City, Dorothy must journey down the yellow brick road. Along the way, she is joined by an unlikely cast of allies. These include a scarecrow who desires a brain so he could be human; a tin woodman who desires a heart so he could learn to love once again; and a lion who desire courage so he could become the king of all beasts. And they all come to believe that only the great Oz could grant their desires.
Is it just me, or did this classic childrens' book have a disturbing amount of decapitations? It was like one moment they were frolicking through the woods and enjoying the scenery, and the next they were hacking the heads off wolves and other nasties. This was especially surprising since, like most people, I'd seen the 1939 movie before reading the book. And while the entire book could be accused of being formulaic, it is only because it helped introduce that formula, which is still being used till this very day.