Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Wizard of Oz

From the perspective of a young child, “The Wizard of Oz” is a magical, even scary, movie about being separated from your family, talking characters, witches, munchkins, and flying monkeys. Being prompted of the psychological element that Fleming incorporated into the film, I actively looked for how scenes could be interpreted from a psychoanalytic perspective, changing the meaning of the film into an exploration of the mind. Fleming uses Dorothy and her unconsciousness as a vehicle to explore the mind. The complexity of Dorothy’s character is witnessed immediately from the opening scene. Her lack of independence, self-confidence, and anxiety are evident as she runs from person to person, asking them to fix her dilemma with the neighbor. When she is injured and becomes unconscious, Fleming uses this as an opportunity to explore a person’s consciousness and subconscious, using color to separate the two worlds: reality, or consciousness, is filmed in black and white, while desires and fears, hidden in the sub-conscious, is filmed in color. Using black and white, Fleming conveys the idea that reality and life are often mundane to us: we have regular schedules, we get used to them, and we deal with life as it comes. Using color, Fleming expresses that our sub-consciousness is where our lives become real to us because our deepest desires and fears are met and conquered, bringing excitement and accomplishment to our lives. In our dreams and sub-consciousness, we have freedom and can be whatever we want. In her dream, Dorothy’s fears and desires are released, represented by the different characters she meets and the qualities they possess. Glenda is the guidance she needs as a young girl, the lion is the courage she needs to be independent, the scarecrow is the knowledge, the tin man is the compassion and understanding, and the wicked witch is the challenges she’ll meet. During her dream, Dorothy is able to find her way home, defeat an evil witch, stand up to a great wizard, and use her ruby red shoes to protect her as she follows the yellow brick road home. The wizard of Oz gave the lion a medal, the tin man a heart, the scarecrow a diploma, and Dorothy received the ruby red slippers from Glenda. This connects with the idea that people often need a tangible object to attach their sense of ability to accomplish something. They were all able to accomplish their desires prior to receiving these items, the scarecrow came up with a plan to save Dorothy and the lion led the entrance into the witch’s lair, but receiving these tangible objects gives them the confidence to try. When Dorothy wakes up, once again the film is black and white. She has returned to reality and although she has dreamed everything, she believes it is real, and she can take what she learned from her dream and incorporate it into her reality.

Marissa Verdeflor

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