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

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Preliminary Bibliography and Works Cited

Annotated Preliminary Bibliography

Websites

 

2007. Wikimedia Foundation Inc., 3 October 2007

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wizard_of_Oz_%281939_movie%29>.

 

Once again this site helps me to understand the history of The Wizard of Oz, in a somewhat more in depth fashion than the previous website. It follows the story’s progression from 1900 to present day highlighting a very complex history and it was helpful to view photographs and artwork that has been produced throughout the years since the story’s release.

 

Cleave.  The Weirdness of the Wonder of Oz. 2002. The Counter Agency. 28 September

2007 <http://www.metaphilm.com/philms/wizardofoz.html>.

 

This website explores several theories about The Wizard of Oz, some of which do not concern religion or religious aspects; however the article does suggest, like the two previous websites that The Wizard of Oz is a story which encourages the decline of mankind depending on a higher power to aid them in life and in turn learning that we can be our own heroes. Another interesting argument in this article is that the Emerald City represents power, money and greed and as it is the nucleus of Oz L. Frank Baum intended it to symbolize the rise of secular society with personal gain as predominant rather than morality and faith in a higher power.

 

Dirks, Tim. The Wizard of Oz (1939). 2007. 1 October 2007

<http://www.filmsite.org/wiza.html>

 

This website is important because it gives a cohesive history of the Story from novel in 1900 and onto major movie success in 1939. It is necessary for me to know the information given on this site because to evaluate the many theories applied to The Wizard of Oz it is primarily necessary to know the story’s history so that I can cultivate my own opinions on just what this famous story was really written to represent.

 

 

 

Gardner, Todd.  The Wizard of Oz: The Yellow Brick Road as Spiritual Journey. 2007. 1

October 2007.<http://www.turnmeondeadman.net/OZ/SpiritualJourney.php>

 

This website provides great information for my webpage project about the role of religion in the Wizard of Oz. Author Todd Gardner stresses that the text and film do not specifically hold symbols that represent any one religion but rather that spirituality in general is expressed in many ways within the consistently popular story. Gardner argues that the famous yellow Brick Road which Dorothy and her Friends travel on is the most important symbol as it highlights the fact that Dorothy’s story is actual one of spiritual journeying, discovery and enlightenment.

 

 

Klabunde, Robert. Reflections: Atheism in the Wizard of Oz. 3 October 2007.

<http://www.helium.com/tm/611518/classic-childrens-wizard-simple>

 

As made clear in the title, this website also deals with the idea of Atheism within The Wizard of Oz. I am planning on making this theory a major point of discussion in my project so it is helpful to have different sources on this same topic. Klabunde writes that the classic story is full of instances that represent a loss of faith in God and a general doubt in religion itself, particularly Christianity. Toto, Dorothy’s beloved pet and confidante is a major focal point in Klabunde’s argument for atheism in the story. He writes that many times Toto is in grave danger and Dorothy pleads to the religious figures in her life, her aunt and uncle for example, to help him and they cannot. She increasingly realizes that it is only her that can help him, once again reiterating the atheist idea that no higher being is helping us in life.

 

Lackey, Mark. The Gospel According to Oz. 2007. 1 October 2007

<http://www.gospelaccordingtooz.com/mission-bio.php>

 

This website will be very helpful because another major section of my project will be to explore The Wizard of Story as symbolic of Christian thinking and Ideals. Author Mark Lackey suggests that as we all have different world views we may all approach the possible meanings in this timeless story from extremely different perspectives. Lackey is a Christian and sees the story as one written according to the ideals of Christianity. This view will be great to contrast the theories of atheism and even Satanism suggested by other writers in regards to what the story is attempting to portray.

 

McCormick, Ryuei Micheal. The Wizard of Oz as a Buddhist Parable. 1996. 10 October

2007 < http://nichirenscoffeehouse.net/Ryuei/Oz.html>.

 

I am very interested in exploring Asian religious theories within The Wizard of Oz and this website provides, through a very straight forward structure, how this story reflects some of aspects of Buddhist parables. One of the author’s five points to support this theory is that the yellow Brick Road mirrors the path to enlightenment which is completed after reaching Nirvana in Buddhist theory, just as Dorothy will supposedly be enlightened by the Wizard when she reaches The Emerald City.

 

St. John, Thomas. Indian-Hating in “The Wizard of Oz” 2004. 1 October 2007

<http://www.counterpunch.org/stjohn06262004.html>.

 

I am not sure how helpful this website will be for my project because it appears to deal more with the author’s opinion that L. Frank Baum was a racist than anything else; however, author Thomas St. John includes in his racist accusations against Baum that certain symbols, such as the poison poppies, attack aspects of Indian spirituality who believed in substances such as opium to clear the mind and alleviate pain. I am doubtful I will get much use out of this particular website, but I do want to explore it further which is why I am including it among my other definite sources.

Teague, Charles. Secrets and Conspiracies: The Wizard of Oz and Esoteric Symbols.

2006. 1 October 2007 <http://farshores.org/ct02.html>.

 

This article was extremely interesting to me, as it argues that the Story of Dorothy and her travels to Oz as reflective of the practices of Occultism. It was not until reading this article that I decided to make another major section of my project occultism in the Wizard of Oz. Charles Teague provides in depth support for his theory, one example being that he believes L. Frank Baum was heavily involved in occultism and that several aspects of the movie mirror cult rituals. For example, the significance of the yellow brick road is in line with the significance attributed to Gold in the IIIuminati cult, in that it is considered to be divine and full of wisdom.

 

 

Turton, Micheal. Should the Wizard of Oz be Considered an Atheist Movie? 2004. 1

October 2007.

<http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.reviews/browse_thread/thread/a302f38e16adb305>

 

            This Website presents a very interesting perception of The Wizard of Oz and it is helpful to be because it is a theory that I wish to explore for my project. Author Micheal Turton devotes his article to proving through many examples that L. Frank Baum, the writer of the novel The Wizard of Oz from which the MGM movie mega hit was inspired, that Atheism is reflected strongly within the story. One of his main examples in support of this is that, The Wizard, the God-like figure which prompts Dorothy’s quest down the yellow Brick road, ends up being a phony. She learns that she has the power within herself to go back to Kansas and does not need to rely on any type of divine being to get her there. According to Turton, this is in line with atheist thinkers who believe there are no divine beings, good or evil, and thus we have the power within ourselves to shape our lives.

 

 

Books

 

Bulkeley, Kelly. Visions of the Night: Dreams, Religion and Psychology. New York:

State University of New York Press, 1999.

 

This book deals with the relationship between dreams and religion. One Chapter is devoted how dreams and religion connect in The Wizard of Oz. In all honesty, this book is difficult to understand, thus at this initial stage of research it is hard to sum up exactly what the author is trying to convey; however, a significant part of The Wizard of Oz deals with Dorothy being in a dream world so I want to concentrate more on this book during my continuing research to understand what religion may have to do with the significance of dreams in The Wizard of Oz.

 

 

 

Lasine, Stuart. Knowing Kings: Knowledge, Power and Narcissism in the Hebrew Bible.

Atlanta: The Society of Biblical Literature, 2001.

 

From the title it would not seem that this book would have anything to do with The Wizard of Oz and I actually saw the title and passed it over several times during my initial source gathering. To my surprise, this book dedicates a whole section to comparing how King Solomon from the Bible and the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz are similar. According to Lasine the major similarity between the two and that they both used invisibility to convey power and control. This is true considering that in the Wizard of Oz, the Wizard hides behind smoke and mirrors, so to speak to hide the fact that he is just a normal person. And, this book points out that King Solomon wouldn’t let common people see him in an attempt to instill in them that he was an all powerful king to be feared. I am not sure how I will incorporate this into my project, but I am certain that I do want to use it.

 

 

 

Nathanson, Paul. Over The Rainbow: The Wizard of Oz as a Secular Myth of America.

New York: State University of New York Press, 1991.

 

This book extensively examines the relationship between secular myth and religion through focusing on the Pop culture phenomena of The Wizard of Oz. Although the book spans nearly 500 pages, it is made clear that the author is attempting to illustrate through countless textual and film selection passages that this story should be viewed as one that is neither fully religious nor fully secular. The main point being that for secular and religious communities to be complete, one must include the other. As for relevancy to my project, there are certain passages that will support my theories while much of the material will not be useable.

 

 

Articles

 

Cochrane, J. Scott. “The Wizard of Oz and Other Mythic Rites of Passage.” Image and

Likeness: Religious Visions in American Film Classics. John R. May. New York:

Paulist Press, 1992. 79-86.

 

This article concentrates on how religion is expressed through visual aspects within American films. The most significant religious vision within The Wizard of Oz according to the author is the yellow brick road representing one’s spiritual quest, a concept explored in some of the above noted sources above. However, what is interesting about this article is that it points out how many different religions have stories and parables of major spiritual quests rather than confining the concept only to Christianity. Many other visual symbols are examined as well.

 

Hansen, Linda. “Experience the World as Home: Reflections of Dorothy’s Quest in the

Wizard of Oz” Soundings 67.1 (1984): 91-102.

This article like many other of my sources explores religion in The Wizard of Oz from a Christian viewpoint. It explores whether or not the world should be considered home, in line with the Christain belief that the world is not our true home. By focusing on Dorothy’s quest in “The Wizard of Oz” and her strong desire to get back home, the author attempts to illustrate the world as home metaphor reveals a lot about how understand and find meaning in life. This article will be useful to me for my project because the Christain world view in “The Wizard of Oz” is one of my major points of discussion.

 

 

Herbert, Steven G. “The Metaphysical Wizard of Oz” Journal of Religion and Psychical

Research  14.1 (1991): 1-10.

 

 

 

Saposnik, Irving. “Jolson, Judy and the Jewish Memory” Judaism 50.4 (2001): 410-425

 

            This article is great because it allows me to expand further on what religions stake theoretical claims in The Wizard of Oz. This particular article examines the major songs of The Wizard of Oz movie as key indicators of the Jewish presence in the story as presented in the movie of 1939.

 

 

Works Cited

 

 

2007. Wikimedia Foundation Inc., 3 October 2007

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wizard_of_Oz_%281939_movie%29>.

 

2007. Wikimedia Foundation Inc., 3 November 2007.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantras>

 

 

Gardner, Todd.  The Wizard of Oz: The Yellow Brick Road as Spiritual Journey. 2007. 1

October 2007. <http://www.turnmeondeadman.net/OZ/SpiritualJourney.php

 

 

Klabunde, Robert. Reflections: Atheism in the Wizard of Oz. 3 October 2007.

<http://www.helium.com/tm/611518/classic-childrens-wizard-simple>

 

Lackey, Mark. The Gospel According to Oz. 2007. 1 October 2007

<http://www.gospelaccordingtooz.com/mission-bio.php>

 

 

 

Lasine, Stuart. Knowing Kings: Knowledge, Power and Narcissism in the Hebrew Bible.

Atlanta: The Society of Biblical Literature, 2001.

 

McCormick, Ryuei Michael. The Wizard of Oz as a Buddhist Parable. 1996. 10 October

2007 < http://nichirenscoffeehouse.net/Ryuei/Oz.html>.

 

 

The UU Troubadours. The Theology of the Wizard of Oz. 12 November 2007.

<http://www.obuuc.org/TheologyOfTheWizardOfOz.pdf>

 

 

Turton, Michael. Should the Wizard of Oz be Considered an Atheist Movie? 2004. 1

October 2007.

<http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.reviews/browse_thread/thread/a302f38e16adb305

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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