Chapter 36

A Proppian Analysis of The Wizard of Oz

The classic film, The Wizard of Oz, is based on the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The movie differs from the book because of creative choices made by the movie writers and directors. These innovations actually give the movie mythical dimensions that are lacking in the book, and students of mythology can find in it many of the characteristics of the traditional fairy tale. Because of this, you can apply the techniques of Proppian analysis to compare the film with the novel or with other stories. For a detailed explanation of Proppian analysis, see Chapter 35.

In this chapter, you will see that the Proppian "functions," "moves," and "spheres of action" are present in The Wizard of Oz, but they may not always occur in the order presented by Propp. At times a single moment in the film may contain more than one Proppian move, whereas at other times a single move may play out over the course of several events. As you study Propp's ideas, compare the analysis of The Wizard of Oz with his explanations in Chapter 35.

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