30 January 2015 Wizard of Oz Reflection The Populist Movement was a political party that sought to represent the interests and views of ordinary people. Populism generally arose following the Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution. As the Industrial Revolution began to take over, it led to the growth of towns and cities as well as the takeover of manufactured goods. In the midst of the industrial growth, countless Americans continued to live in poverty. Among these Americans were farmers and industrial workers that were facing numerous economic difficulties. In efforts to improve their worsening conditions, the farmers attempted to create multiple organizations that would lend a helping hand in fixing their problems. It was after that, that the Populist Party was formed. The Party was founded mostly by farmers, and laborers already in organizations, who wanted to see many things happen, including the reform in railroad regulation and tax reform. The Populist Party was a way for Americans to resolve issues without going
Democrat or Republican, which is why it attracted millions of supporters. Populism arose at the end of the 1800’s due to the worsening conditions of workers, and it was at that time that things were getting bad. They were facing so many problems at that time, and they had do something to regain their influence and to gain prosperity.
The rise of Populism in the late 1800’s allowed for several symbolic representations to be formed in Frank Baum’s
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Many allegorical characters were created as a representation of the real problems going on during the late 1800’s. Specifically, the Scarecrow and the
Tin Man. Throughout the movie, the Scarecrow symbolizes the farmers, especially those in the
Midwest. The farmers were facing many problems at the time, and similarly the Scarecrow faced many problems as well. Supposedly, the Scarecrow was told that he did not have a brain, representing the fact that farmers were apparently stupid. Yet despite the Scarecrow having been told that he didn’t have a brain, he was the most capable of solving problems while also being the most clever and resourceful out of the four travelers.
The Tin Man, another one of the most symbolic characters, was a representation for America’s industrial workers. During the movie, the Tin Man told Dorothy that he had once been a healthy and productive woodsman, but the Wicked Witch of the East had put a curse on him causing him to turn
fully metal. Therefore, leaving him without a heart, which was what he longed for. His rusted condition parallels the condition of labor during the depression of 1890s, and like many workers of that period, the Tin Man was unemployed. Following the Industrial Revolution, and the transition from agriculture to machines, the work the people could do was not being done by machines, and the Tin Man being made from tin would represent that transition. Thus him being dehumanized by