The Importance Of Dorothy's Quest In The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

Superior Essays
The quest in L. Frank Baum 's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is designed show that a girl can be a leader, remain independent, and be assertive for values and goals. Baum 's heroine, Dorothy, accepts the challenge of the quest before her and collects companions in order to secure her safety and success in her goals. Throughout her journey through Oz, Dorothy proves to be just as capable as her male counterparts and better than them by possessing traits they do not. Dorothy rejects the character frame of her gender of her time, and proves to be an inspirational figure for girls.
Dorothy possesses an essential element that is almost entirely absent from the male characters in this novel. Dorothy possesses common sense and foresight; these qualities
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She lifts him off the pole and listens to his story and is sympathetic; she tells the scarecrow “If Oz will not give you any brains you will be no worse off than you are now” (16). This statement is another example of her common sense. She is assertive when she invites the scarecrow to join her and further establishes herself as a leader when she says “If you will come with me I’ll ask Oz to do all he can for you” (17). In this statement Dorothy is asserting she has an authoritative power in which she can ask the Great Wizard of Oz to do something and that she will do it on behalf of the scarecrow. The Scarecrow proves to be a problem solver but he lacks the common sense to walk around holes (27). When the Cowardly lion tries to eat Toto she displays complete confidence in her own power “…when Dorothy, fearing that Toto would be killed, and heedless of the danger, rushed forward and slapped the lion on the nose as hard as she could…” and she proceeds to scold him (31). As with the Scarecrow and the Woodman she sympathises with the lion and notes how useful he will be on their journey: “for you will help keep away the other wild beasts. It seems to me they must be more cowardly than you are if they allow you to scare them so easily” (34). Her insight shows how she has grown as a leader as she did not immediately note the usefulness of her earlier companions. Her logical observation about the other beasts falls on deaf ears, …show more content…
She does not command her companions or give orders, or if she gives any orders these words are omitted and only the results are described. This is the case in chapter XIII when Dorothy has melted the Wicked Witch of the West and freed her friend, the cowardly Lion, the text reads: “They went in together to the castle, where Dorothy’s first act was to call all the Winkies together and tell them that they were no longer slaves” (87). This moment is not only significant for Dorothy’s character growth, as she has finally embraced her role in freeing those held in bondage, this is significant for a fictional female character in novels for this time. Dorothy is standing beside a male lion whom, although believes himself to be cowardly, is a powerful symbol of masculinity and nobility. In a patriarchal society it would be expected that the lion would speak to the winkie populace; however, it is the young girl who speaks and the American reader would see the similarities of the situation to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and note the gender role reversal. A young girl has effectively replaced the male President and assumes all his leadership qualities and

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