Honors Theses

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Jaime Harker

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

On the surface, L. Frank Baum's Oz series would appear to merely be fourteen books of inventive children's fantasy, but in truth Baum communicates several personal progressive beliefs to his youthful audience through the use of his fantastical world upon closer examination. For my research, I reread every book in Baum's original Oz series and made note of any potentially relevant allegorical or metaphorical themes. Once I started to notice a trend of themes regarding technology, labor, politics, and gender, I settled on these themes to be the overall focus of my thesis's discussion. I read as many academic essays and articles on the Oz series as I could find, observing previous readings and arguments to better inform my own work. Finally, I read a comprehensive biography on Baum's life to contextualize his perspectives based on when, where, and how he grew up and lived. Overall, I found the Oz series to hold a host of interesting ideas and opinions that paint Baum as quite a colorful individual, one interested in the potential for America to change how it operated during his time and hoping to do so by encouraging children to challenge the society of their parents.

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