When I wrote my first paper on the 1939 MGM adaptation of the story, I doubted if I could write 500 words on it, let alone 7-8 pages! Once I started to do my research and watch other versions of the story, I was hooked. Some of the versions are worth watching, some of them (how do I say this politely) aren’t. All of them, however, are chock-full of “heroic”, and “underdog” archetypes, symbolism, and vivid details that make the reading or watching downright epic. The world of Oz is so big, that there were 14 books written. However, even though the story is seemingly straight forward, this paper still needs to be written. Thus, we are presented with a problem. I have questions that I want answered.
In my last paper, I wrote wrote on L. Frank Baum’s personal life and his rise to fame through his book The Wizard of Oz. In the paper, Baum only started writing after failing as a journalist and a businessman. He had only just written two books, which both sold very steadily, when he wrote his masterpiece for Dorothy and her friends. After the tale exploded in sales, Baum kept writing stories and turned The Land of Oz into a franchise, all of which, sold like candy. He had no training as a writer and even failed as a journalist before becoming an extremely successful children’s writer. My question is this. How did a failing writer suddenly require the inspiration behind his children’s stories and what were the contributing elements that made his stories so, darn, addictive for children at that time?
In my first paper, I made a few mistakes which I hope none of you readers will re-read, but who am I kidding, you probably will. My first mistake is breaking down only one adaptation as if it were the same as all of the adaptations. My second mistake was that, instead of talking about what I thought about the story, I tried to (not so gracefully) build a theory for the story, through its symbolism. Even though I really want to forget about the paper, ironically, this the very basis on my second question. Why is it so fun to interpret Dorothy’s story in many different ways, even though the original story is so unchangeable?
If you made it this far without reading this post simply for the “peer-editing” requirement, congratulations! In order to answer these questions, I’m going to be watching as many adaptations of the story that I can, to see if there is any symbolism or themes that all of them share. I’m also going to be getting very intimate with L. Frank Baum’s personal life, to try find why his childhood or other factors of his life may have contributed towards his raw, natural, talent for writing children’s books. I’ll try my best to make it interesting enough for you, picky readers.