5 Reasons 2: To Read between the Lines
Updated: Nov 11, 2019
I have always loved The Wizard of Oz, it’s been one of my favourite movies for many years, even before I realised all of the hidden meanings behind the story and the characters. Made in 1939, and widely regarded as one of the greatest films in cinematic history it was one of the first films ever made in the then revolutionary, Technicolor format. Based on a book written by L. Frank Baum in 1890, called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the movie did not stray far from the books origins.
One point to note, though mostly unrelated to this article, is that Dorothy’s shoes being silver in the book were changed to red in the movie to highlight the magic of Technicolor.
The story is of a young girl, Dorothy that gets caught up in a tornado and carried in her Kansas farm home to a faraway land. Dorothy’s house literally crashes into the magical Land of Oz and falls directly on top of the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her instantly. Having witnessed the flying house and the death of the witch, the local people, known as the Munchkins, welcome Dorothy to Oz as a great sorceress.
Dorothy immediately wants to find a way back to Kansas and the Good Witch Glinda explains to her that she must first follow the Yellow Brick Road and find The Great Wizard of Oz. Along the way Dorothy meets some new friends who all have something they want to ask the Great Wizard.
There have been many conspiracy theories about the hidden meanings behind both the story and the characters of The Wizard of Oz, most of them relating back to the corrupt politics and social injustices of that era. It has been suggested that Dorothy represents the average American of the time, whilst the Scarecrow and Tin Man could be factory and/or agricultural workers, the Yellow Brick Road and the original silver slippers it is said, stand for the political debate over gold and silver standards used as backing for the US dollar. And finally that whilst the Wizard could be the president of the US, the Emerald City is actually Washington, D.C.
My personal interpretation of the story and the characters is much simpler and less political but never the less, in my opinion, still as captivating.
1.Dorothy is YOU!
As the movie opens Dorothy is living her life literally in black and white. She lives in a dull, grey place that has lost its vibrancy and has no meaning. Errrm, sound familiar anyone? Have you ever felt like your life is a little lacklustre and wished for some excitement or drastic change to shake things up and get you out of your funk?!
In Dorothy’s case a tornado whips up a storm and literally plucks her and her house out of Kansas and plants it firmly on the ground in the Land of Oz!
“I’m not in Kansas anymore” says Dorothy.
Careful what you wish for might be the motto here, as this fanciful Land that Dorothy finds herself in does not feel like home at all, she is nervous and frightened of all of the unfamiliar sights and sounds, strange creatures and evil witches.
Another synonym for life maybe? Bored with your current existence you send out messages and vibrations for big changes to the Universe, dreaming of a new job, a better partner, bigger home etc. And then it happens – remember the Universe always conspires to give you what you want! So you lose your job, your partner leaves you or some other life-changing event happens and suddenly things aren’t quite what you had expected. You suddenly feel unsure, scared even, about the future and you think back to before all this happened, when life was simpler, easier, safer and you wish that you were back in that familiar place that you knew before.
“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,” you whisper under your breath.
Well you can’t turn back time I’m afraid and I’m not sure I would suggest you go back to Kansas like Dorothy ultimately does, but what I will say is that the unfamiliar does soon become the familiar and sometimes a quiet and drama-less life can be exactly what you need. So instead of looking backwards and focusing on what you have lost, remember that you asked for this change - that you weren’t happy before and instead focus on what’s in front of you. And if you should ever find yourself back where you started, as long as you have learnt something along the way – it was worth it.
2.The Yellow Brick Road is YOUR Life!
It is a very literal representation of the path or journey of Life, and we all know that life isn’t always going to be easy, that there will be ups and downs and twists and turns.
On the journey, just like in the movie, you make friends along the way. Some good, some not so much, some for a reason, some a season and some for a lifetime, and you make enemies too. It’s amazing how in the story, just like in life, some of the so-called friends aren’t really friends, reminding you to watch your back, and some of our enemies, just like Dorothy ‘s Winged Monkeys, can turn out to be more like friends in the end, far more reliable & dependable than you ever could of imagined.
The moral here is to be careful whom you choose and to not always judge a book by its cover!
As you travel the path, just like on Dorothy’s yellow brick road, you encounter weird and wonderful things that excite you, scare you and ultimately change you. Dorothy and her new friends have some amazing experiences together and at times they are in awe of the spectacular sights they see, like fabulous fields of flowers, beautiful sunsets and incredible cities. This part of the story is reminding us that beauty is everywhere and that we should take the time to appreciate it, to live each day in wonder!
Sometimes Dorothy and her friends feel scared and lonely, and at other times happy and optimistic. Hmmm, sounds like an average day to me! Sometimes they lose their way, either running from or towards something, but eventually they always find their way back to their Yellow Brick Road, to their own path.
With each encounter and experience they have they learn something new, just like we do, about ourselves, our strengths, our panic buttons or life in general. All of these experiences – the good, the bad & the ugly ultimately teach us something that we need to either learn, overcome or face up to, something that will help us at some point in our life. With every step you take you begin to understand yourself more and though the path doesn’t essentially get any easier, you are at least armed with tools that can help.
What seems clear from this analogy is that if you follow your Yellow Brick Road, staying true to yourself and your life path, always looking ahead with a clear goal in your mind you will always get to your destination. You only need put one foot in front of the other!
3.The Lion, the Scarecrow & the Tin Man are our insecurities
Have you ever lacked Courage? The courage to make a change, to take the leap, to do something different? To fight back and stand tall, to Just Fucking Own It? I know I have. And that is what the Cowardly lion represents in the story, the lack of courage, faith and belief we have in ourselves.
The Scarecrow thinks he is lacking a brain, yet in the story he is often coming up with smart ideas and alternative routes to help the group get to the Emerald City. The poor scarecrow is suffering from a very common disorder - Imposter Syndrome. He has a sense of inadequacy that persists despite his evident successes.
Sound familiar? Do you ever question your own competence? Even when you know deep down you have the skills to do whatever it is you want or need to? Do you often feel fraudulent and just waiting to be found out as a fake? Do you often feel like the scarecrow and think
“if I only had a brain?”
Know your power dear friend. Know that you are what you believe. Look at what you have already accomplished. No one can take that away from you and when you focus on how far you’ve come instead of what you have done wrong, when you think about how much you have already learned and achieved you will realise that you do have the power, you are not an imposter, you are right where you ought to be. You got this!
“If I only had a heart.”
Cries the Tin Man, believing that if he had a heart he would be happy, what he doesn’t realise is that when you have a heart it can be broken – which btw it is, at the end of the movie when Dorothy leaves her friends and returns to Kansas. For me this character is teaching us about Love of course - but more importantly Self Love, it is telling us that if you don’t love yourself you cannot possibly love anyone else. Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, and give yourself a break!!
Its also funny to note the bickering that goes on between the Tin Man and the Scarecrow – each proudly stating that their personal quest for what they are lacking is more important than the other. To me this underlying quarrel is the constant inner conversation we have deciding whether to follow our heart or our mind.
My advice here is to heed both as following only one or the other does not usually end well.
4. The Wicked Witch of the West represents our fears
In the movie Dorothy and her companions are terrified of the Witch as she is full of nasty tricks, evil deeds and deception. Dorothy freaks out as the witch curls her decrepit green finger and says
“Come here my pretty”.
Initially they all run away from the Witch and allow her trick them into doing silly things that put them in danger - they all succumb to her bravado and fall prey to their own fears. It is only when Dorothy’s dog Toto is threatened that she becomes angered and has no choice but to face her fear. Have you ever experienced that? When it literally comes to a life of death situation or at least what feels like one, that you are suddenly able to overcome your fears?
We need to carry this knowledge into our every day. That we can always overcome. That fear is in our mind. That everything always feels bigger and scarier than it actually is, and that when we face our fears, when we stand up to them and realise our own strengths those fears diminish.
Throw water at your fears and watch them disappear, just like the Wicked Witch of the West, with my personal favourite quote
“I’m melting, I’m melting!”
5.The Good Witch - Fair Glinda is your Intuition, your higher self.
Glinda is the most powerful sorceress in the Land of Oz. She is the wisest of all of the witches and is never distracted or swayed from her purpose. She is always looking out for you and gives great advice, but sometimes she speaks in riddles that you must listen hard to hear and really think about to understand. She is always there, even when you can’t see her and you only need call on her for her to come to your rescue.
Yep! That’s your intuition for sure. Always on your side, sending messages and warnings. Not always the easiest to read or hear unless you take the time to quiet your mind, but always looking out for you and full of good intentions. Your intuition always has your back and is always there for you, you just have to trust and listen.
Towards the end of the movie, when the group finally reach the Emerald City and meet the Great Oz they realise what a trickster and liar he is and that all along they have been putting their faith in the wrong place, believing in someone else’s power instead of their own. Dorothy realises that she could have gone home to Kansas all along and The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Lion find out that they already had what they thought they were lacking.
And so there it is, the final hidden message - that all of the answers lie within YOU. Only you can help yourself. You already have all of the qualities and skills you need to live the life of your dreams, you only need to walk the path and believe in yourself. Listen to your intuition, follow your heart and use your head - but above all - enjoy the journey.
As with all its trials and tribulations life truly is a beautiful thing!
Love & Sparkles always x