Feminism In The Wizard Of Oz

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Wicked: The Life and Time of the Wicked Witch of the West possesses feminist ideals represented through the characterization of female characters. Iconic characters such as Dorothy, Wicked Witch of the West (Elphaba), Wicked Witch of the East (Nessarose), and Good Witch of the South (Glinda) portray feminist characters that have developed and showed their strong personality, influencing women in today’s society. This leads to the question – To what extent is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Wicked empowering women through the presentation of women?
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz paved the way for the increase in number of feminist novels. L. Frank Baum’s background plays a role in the presence of feminism in The Wonderful
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Her name has become well-known throughout the years and has become the symbol of feminism. Creating a female protagonist inspires young females to express themselves as well highlight the power of women. Dorothy is introduced as a 6-year-old girl taken away by a tornado from her aunt and uncle. The reader follows her journey as she faces obstacles along the way to return to her home. Dorothy being a vulnerable six years old girl, becomes one of the most powerful being in the land of Oz. The death of the Wicked Witch of the East made her a national hero of the Munchkins. Baum characterizes Dorothy as a strong female character. She displays perseverance and independence in order to reach her goal, to go back to Kansas. Considering her young age, it is expected from her to feel disoriented and vulnerable, however she finds solutions to her problems and carries them through. At the start of the journey she travels alone with no guidance from a ‘strong’ male character, making her only companion her dog Toto. Along the way, she saves the Scarecrow as well as the Tin Woodman from captivity. Baum titled the chapters as ‘How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow’ and ‘The Rescue of the Tin Woodman’ when she crossed paths with these characters. Dorothy’s character contradicts the common representation of females in novels. Baum’s narration of Dorothy conflicts with the stereotype of women needing a man in order to survive. Instead of a ‘knight in shining armor’ archetype rescuing a ‘damsel in distress’, Dorothy appears to save the male characters. She further demonstrates her strength and confidence “when Dorothy, fearing Toto would be killed, and heedless of danger, rushed forward and slapped the Lion upon his nose as hard as she could,” (Baum 43). She has control over an animal that is considered to be the ‘king of the jungle’ and protects her companions. Surprisingly,

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