The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – September

For whatever reason, I got caught up in the Wizard of Oz this fall. Carla picked up “The Annotated Wizard of Oz” at Powells for me. I don’t have the book with me so don’t have the editor, publisher, number of pages or all that.

It was fun to read; the characters from the movie are all there, but there are additional adventures. One of the interesting differences is the winged monkeys. The only reason the Wicked Witch of the West has power over them is she has a magic hat that allows her to command them to do her bidding three times. In the book, Dorothy gets the hat and has the monkeys help her and her pals.

I also think the book is better than the movie in how the ending holds together. The movie never made sense to me; Dorothy is running away to protect Toto from being destroyed. But when Dorothy comes back it seems her reason for leaving was different. And what was going to happen to Toto; wasn’t the witch lady going to come back for him?

One interesting bit I read in the annotations was about seeing the adventure as a mythic hero journey as described by Joseph Campbell. Here is the short version of the hero myth as taken from page 30 of his Hero With a Thousand Faces.

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from the mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow men.
Dorothy does all that. She leaves Kansas in a tornado and ends up in Oz, definitely a land of supernatural wonder. She has a decisive victory over two witches and the Wizard of Oz. Her companions become leaders in Oz and then she returns home.
So, that led me to read some Joseph Campbell. More on that in the next post.

Rating: ★★★★ 4 out of 5 stars.

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