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The Wonderful Wizard of the OZ

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Frank Baum is an American author, independent filmmaker and an actor, popularly recognized as a creator and the illustrator. Frank Baum was born in 1856, (lived for 63 years despite his critical heart condition). Frank was born and lived in Chittenango, New York. He worked in Dakota Territory, New York City, and in Chicago. He worked in different fields, such as owning and managing the family's line of opera houses in Pennsylvania and New York, writing and acting plays in New York City, worked as a reporter, operating and managing a newspaper and a general store in Dakota Territory, then  traveling as a salesman in Chicago, and lastly, writing. Starting from Baum's first newspaper, which was published when 15 years old, his first book called The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs and published when he was 30 years old, to his first musical, called The Maid of Arran, Frank Baum was always writing.

He gained a local reputation for telling stories, and his dear wife, Maud started motivating him to write such stories in a book. His “Mother Goose in Prose” an appealing story was published in 1897. This was his collaboration with another artist William W. Denslow; this brought Frank his first bestseller, known as Father Goose, His Book. His first experience in storytelling motivated him to write more. His numerous writing gave him the title “the Royal Historian”. His most lasting and interesting collaboration was the famous The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was published in 1900. This production, like much of Frank Baum's work, started as tales told to his children. Frank Baum wrote and published over a dozen of other Oz books. This made him famous as the "Royal Historian of Oz". After the death of Frank Baum, his publisher employed Ruth Plumly Thompson to act as the presiding "Royal Historian". Many other authors were given the title "Royal Historian" as years went by.

The review focuses on the book by Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of the OZ, which was written around 1900. The book was chiefly targeting children, as the readers with the focus of the author brought to forefront mostly at the introduction of the story. The story was later put in film and acted in most theaters that saw it attract larger attention of members of the public, who are interested in movie. The effect of this movie was rather gripping, making it to stir among the movies that were shown at that particular time of its inception. The film incorporated enthusiastic characters both, old and young, with music played on the background whenever it was shown. The Wonderful Wizard of the OZ has become a classical story, which ever since has remained part of the American culture.

One of the colorful organizations of Frank Baum story, in The Wonderful Wizard of the OZ is richly depicted in sub-story, “The Colors of Money”. This story is related to a land OZ, which is full of gold and silver. The author’s use of gold and silver in regards to the land of OZ in his story is in references to politics that were associated with money that was so common in 1890s. The author chooses to use gold and silver in preference to other metals since they are mostly associated with money and the bimetallic crusades that were advocated by the populists’ politicians in 1890s.

It is hard to refute on how the story is well developed by the author, especially in choosing the characters whereby he depicts witch of the west, who combines her minions with a silver whistle and the golden camp, a notion that the two can only work in combination. The other receiving end of the story shows a Tin Man, who is presented to an ax made of gold and silver with an oil can containing a combination of both metals. The book through the character Dorothy, who pays a short visit in the land of the OZ, is in her shoes that are made up of silver.

In the story, the author uses green that is in compliment to gold and silver. Green, according to author, is a color that is mainly used in the paper money. It, however, appears satirical in the story that color green is used as a name of the party that its followers were populists. The name of the party is the Greenback Party, whose core mandate was to advocate and champion for the expansion of the money supply through ironical increase in circulation of “greenbacks” symbolizing the party members. The choice of the greenback, according to the author, symbolizes nature in the land of OZ, which is used specifically by the populists to show that they parallel the views of the rest of the politicians on the land. Another character named Toto is depicted as wearing a green T-Shirt in the story, which eventually fades to a color that is then referred to that of silver, and finally into gold color.

The land of OZ is a land so much treasured with gold, silver, and green. In one of the cities called Emerald City requires that people wear green glasses and gold bands that show reflection of green color. These multiple combinations of items are mainly meant to create an illusion in the minds of the people with populists demand for the exposure of the paper money. Baum’s use of monetary metaphor is a true depiction of how politicians use their positions to advance their riches and have valuable goods in comparison to gold and silver within their reach.

The story ends with character Wizard being proposed by Scarecrow to become ruler of the Emerald City with Tin Woodman, as the master of the West, and a personification style that shows lion being the king of the forest. Dorothy, who was a sojourner in OZ, goes back to her country, Kansas, by clicking her silver shoes three times. All the support to the positions attained by the characters is portrayed by the author to be achieved by the witch, who comes from the south of the OZ. The book is a true evidence of prominence of populists’ movement in OZ charged with the core mandate of achieving necessary power that is needed; however, this is depicted in a circumstance that it can only be attained through the use of precious things like gold and silver in combination with green. Use of gold, silver, and green by Tin, Lion, and Scarecrow in their campaign was not the major reason for the rise in their popularity and further elevation to political leadership. This is a personality that the characters could have developed within themselves. It is also alleged in the story that populists used wizard powers to achieve the positions they were granted, this is an illusionary vision into the realm of politics that can sometimes be described as a game of numbers or masses. To attain this powers one necessarily need good political will and the numbers, but not the magic. Wearing of silver shoes by Dorothy is a condition that was developed within her through various improvements and not necessarily through magical powers. The populists’ failure is further accentuated when Dorothy’s shoes fall amid aboard in the desert and get lost forever symbolizing major blow to populism.

Frank Baum’s story suffers credibility in the time of populist movement since it does not depict stand of the author, who is alleged to be neither a populist, nor a democrat. There is no iconic connection between populist allegory and assertion of no evidence in the story by Baum. The Wonderful Wizard of the OZ is merely a political symbolism, which is clouded with political background and trickster personality. Baum’s story is, however, purely focused on the entertainment part of it with attempt to amuse and is neither pro-populist, nor anti-populist. His intentions are mainly staged to show representation of the populist movement and politics of the age, which is symbolically wired in children’s story.

The interesting part of Baum's life is that it is an exceptional story behind exceptional The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Majority of the people have watched the movie version of this metaphorical novel, but a considerable number of others alert of what different characters, things, and places reflected in the thoughts of the author’s book. Although, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was scripted more than 100 years ago, its themes will be known to the interested people in golden matters. Similarly, while several people  today regard gold as an instrument of personal and financial freedom, the story by Baum considers it as villain, in other words as the tool of oppression.

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