The Wizard of Oz - Interpretation of the film
What is the meaning of Wizard of Oz
Entertainment films, such as the Wizard of Oz typically are not to have meaning. For many viewers they are not an art form but are made for entertainment. But in reality every film has some type of meaning. There are four levels of meaning that we can refer to – to help us understand meaning in a film.
- Referential meaning. This is basically a very concrete plot summary. How the tangible meaning is understood by the viewer is on their ability to identify specific items within the film. My understanding of the subject matter: In 1930’s Kansas, a young girl is knocked out by a tornado and wakes in a magical land called Oz. She befriends several characters along the way to see the Wizard who will show her the way back home.
- Explicit meaning. What message does the film have? Explicit meaning is defined by its context. In the film, a girl dreams to escape her drab life on the farm, her troubles with her aunt and uncle. Only after she is ‘gone’ does she realize how much her family means to her- hence the line “There’s no place like home.”
- Implicit meaning. Interpretation of the film. Here we are looking for something that goes beyond what is explicitly stated. Interpretation can vary by individual. I think the film give us a relevant lesson in life. The typical problems of adolescence as shown by Dorothy’s rebellion to her aunt and uncle rule and discipline is to run away from home. (I know I’ve ‘ran away’, whether it was just around the side of the house for awhile!) The story has Dorothy following the yellow brick road finding maturity by learning lessons along the way and thus finding her inner self and strength.
- Symptomatic meaning. This explains the ideology and cultural meaning of the film. In the film we are exposed to the social ideology that relates to the values of the 1930’s era and of small town rural America. Family, home and hard work are promoted. This was the depression and the ‘yellow brick’ road symbolized gold and we all know what is found at the end of the rainbow – the pot of gold. The cultural theme is that we must work hard, keep the family together and in the end we will have prosperity. If we hold firmly onto our values, the family will remain strong. This was very important during that period of economic struggle.