TALE OF A PARABLE
by Michael Gessel
Originally published in The Baum Bugle, vol. 36, no. 1 (Spring 1992)
Chicago 17th ed.:
Gessel, Michael. “Tale of a Parable.” Baum Bugle 36, no. 1 (1992): 19–23.
MLA 9th ed.:
Gessel, Michael. “Tale of a Parable.” The Baum Bugle, vol. 36, no. 1, 1992, pp. 19–23.
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written solely to pleasure children of today,” L. Frank Baum wrote in the preface of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900. For sixty-four years, that explanation went without serious challenge.
However, in 1964, Henry M. Littlefield, then a teacher at Mount Vernon High School in New York, published an article in The American Quarterly, “The Wizard of Oz: A Parable on Populism.” Littlefield argued that The Wizard of Oz was not just a “warm, cleverly written fairy tale.” Rather, the book concealed “an unsuspected depth” and contained allegorical references to people and events connected with American politics of the mid-1890s.