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The Relgion of Oz: Religious Theory in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"

Final Thoughts and Reflections

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So, is "The Wizard of Oz" just a Children's story?

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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 different religions.

 

 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.

 

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