Two Complaints About The Wizard of Oz

Over the past several months, I’ve happened to hear a few different people talking about The Wizard of Oz, and though the general consensus on the film remains love, there have been some complaints that have surfaced repeatedly. Now, I know most of the people mentioning these things love the film, so we’re all really on the same page. I just think these two particular complains have some pretty decent defenses, at least in my head. Uh, spoilers for The Wizard of Oz, I guess.

First Complaint: Glinda is a jerk who sends Dorothy on a wild goose chase when she could go home all along

The argument here is that Dorothy has the red shoes the whole time and, as Glinda says at the end of the film, she always had the power to go home. All Glinda would’ve had to do is tell Dorothy to click her heels together and say “there’s no place like home” and BAM. No need to go see the Wizard, no need to kill the Wicked Witch, etc. In this reading, Glinda merely wants Dorothy to do her dirty work for her to get rid of her rival. I think that’s an interesting story (and Glinda as a not-so-good-witch is the thread taken up by Wicked), but really, I don’t think Dorothy could’ve gone home earlier. Glinda tells her she always had the power to go home, but she didn’t tell her before because she wouldn’t have believed it. But really, in order to go home what she has to believe isn’t that clicking some shoes together and saying a magic phrase will send her home, but that “there’s no place like home.” She had to go through the journey to Oz to really believe that, and without that belief, I don’t think any amount of heel clicking would’ve worked.

Second Complaint: The message of the film is that you should never leave home

I can definitely see this being a valid reading. Dorothy does say she’ll never leave again after she returns, but I don’t know that we need to read this at face value. It’s a pretty natural thing to say right after coming through a traumatic situation and finding yourself safe. In a broader sense, the film could be interpreted as saying that new, outside things are bad – Dorothy also says that everything she wants is right in her own backyard. But I think the message is really one of contentment. It’s fine to be ambitious and want to see new things, but if you can’t manage to find contentment where you are, chances are you won’t find it elsewhere, either. Add in the fact that all the characters in Oz actually already had the qualities they sought from the Wizard, and the journey becomes one of seeking your own inner strengths and the value of those around you, instead of believing you have to go somewhere else and be validated by someone else in order to be happy.


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  1. I saw the title of this piece and I was prepared to come out swinging! Fortunately, what you’ve written is something I can get behind and we can remain pals.

    • Yeah, it’s technically “Two responses to two complaints about The Wizard of Oz,” but that’s long and unwieldy, and also less click-baity. :) Wizard of Oz is in your Top Twenty, too, isn’t it?

      The other thing I’ve heard some people mention is that the Munchkins are scary (these are people who saw it first as adults). I never found the Munchkins scary as a kid. Now, the Oompa Loompas were a different story. Those things are terrifying.

      • My Top Twenty? Pfft. Try my Top Two!

        I can kinda see the Munchkins as scary if you read them as a cult. Seriously, a Lollipop Guild? That’s cute for a chorus in a song, but I imagine living there is frightening: “Nice teeth you got there. Be a shame if you got some…cavities.” They look like ruffians, too.

        The winged monkeys are terrifying, primarily because it’s so rare that monkeys are ever portrayed as anything other than adorable/funny. Plus, when you stop and think about the physical abilities monkeys already have, then you turn them evil and then add wings? That’ll keep you up at night.

  2. inspiredground

    This is interesting. I did think Glinda was very rude of sending her outside. Yes, I also thought about that message to never leave home, but it’s a little out of precise too because not all people are like that. Some need to go outside, some just have to for some phase of their lives, and some just never want to leave their comfort zone.

    • Thanks for the comment! Yeah, I definitely think Dorothy needed to leave home (even in her dreams, heh) at that point to understand its value, which is the real point of the story. Other people don’t need that journey out, and others don’t need the return to learn to value what they have. For this story and this character, I don’t think the message is a bad one.

  3. craig

    Don’t these people have anything better to do than try and contradict a famous highly rated movie? Get a life

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