Whether or not L. Frank Baum intended to express religious views within “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” may
now never be known; however, it is clear that many people, scholars and readers alike, have found religion in the story. The
theories of Buddhism, Christianity and Atheism and Oz that I have zeroed in on all draw on textual evidence to support their
claims making it difficult to dismiss the idea that Baum developed his story and characters utilizing various components of
My personal opinion is that Dorothy’s
Adventure in “The Wizard of Oz” is most definitely a spiritual one, but not necessarily allegorical to any one
religion. As it is generally a spiritual story all religions can look at the story and see it as relating to their own religion
on some level. Also, most religions are characterized by stories of great quests riddled with obstacles and great final triumphs
and so it should be no surprise that so many religions see their belief systems echoing throughout the story of Oz.
I think Baum did intend for this to be a children’s story, meant to entertain and project a positive message
to young audiences but it is very likely that he also knew that he could comment on many levels of society, including religion
and politics, in a non-threatening way under the mask of children’s literature. Thus, it may considered accurate to
view “The Wizard of Oz” as a fantasy children’s tale but also as an expression of the opinions and social
critiques of an adult writer.
For me, “The Wizard of Oz” is just a wonderful childhood story that I still watch today and that I want
my own kids to know someday. I could, if I really wanted to, find deeper, more mature meanings in it, but I choose to just
let it be a story that I love simply for its fantasy, imagination and charm.