Dominic Esposito Box #627 10/14/12 Professor Hodge Draft/Final Paper Two/Two

The Lullaby of Ozzzzzzzzzz MGM’s 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz predominantly lends itself to an interpretation of Auntie Em as Dorothy’s maternal figure, specifically, Dorothy’s subservient mother who puts her daughter’s interests ahead of her own. The lay critic arrives at these assumptions naturally, viewing the movie in its entirety. Yet, who could blame the viewer? To the lay critic, the last scene—the most remembered scene—is a sentimental moment between Dorothy and Auntie Em in which Dorothy exclaims “I love you all” (Fleming). Dorothy’s final exclamation makes the lay critic believe that Auntie Em acts with Dorothy’s best interest in mind. But for a second, consider the opposite. Consider that Auntie Em has her own best interest in mind. If Auntie Em acts with her own best interest in mind, then her actions parallel her desires. So then the question remains, what does Auntie Em desire? Auntie Em desires Dorothy’s unconditional love. However, Auntie Em’s desires are now unfulfilled; Dorothy is no longer a “child,” she is “an adolescent on the brink of a personal and sexual awakening role” (Cvetkovic 66). But Auntie Em wants Dorothy to be a “child” forever; she will do anything—anything—to keep Dorothy dependent of her. When Dorothy awakes from the nightmare of Oz, she shouts, “I'm not going to leave here ever, ever again,” fulfilling Auntie Em’s Desires (Fleming). It is clear then that Dorothy’s nightmare forces her to retrocede into the dependent “child” that Auntie Em desires. If Dorothy’s adventure through the Land of Oz makes her retrocede into a dependent child, then would it not make sense that Auntie Em wants Dorothy to dream of the Land of Oz? Perhaps

Cvetkoic identifies that “Auntie Em is . but with her own desires. she is excited to be back home.” rather. Daughters. Auntie Em will do anything to make Dorothy dream of the land of Oz and is in fact not most concerned with Dorothy’s desires. He concludes that when parents make their kids watch The Wizard of OZ they achieve this empowerment. Auntie Em desires to keep Dorothy unconditionally dependent of her forever. so Auntie Em’s neglects Dorothy in the hope that she will be scared of life outside Kansas. Zornado. Zornado explains that children’s literature of the nineteenth century.” Dorothy’s expression that “she is not upset because she has left the Technicolor fantasy Land of Oz. Similarly. buried. was not written to appeal to children. every child should stay home with their mother (Zornado 109). and Domestic Spaces in 20th Century American Film. Zornado argues that this empowerment is the modern replacement of physical abuse in order to “begin molding the child” (106). but rather “to teach them about [parental] ideas of pleasure…exploring not what is alive in us but rather dead. Undeniably sending children the message that although there is a difference between Oz and Kansas.2 then. in her “black and white world” (Zornado 109).” (105) empowering the parent. and consequently film based on children’s literature of the nineteenth century. in his "Swaddling the Child in Children's Literature” argues that these children are not watching a fairytale. He concludes that this kind of storytelling makes the child go into a “withdrawal of the parent’s love and attention.” In this essay concerning maternal roles. but rather a nightmare that “inflicts emotional and physical trauma upon the child” (105). Parental empowerment is also a byproduct of “there’s no place like home. Zornado argues that every parent achieves this desire of complete dependence when they turn on The Wizard of Oz and press play. Vibiana Bowman Cvetkoic takes this idea of “there’s no place like home” and analyses maternal roles in her “There’s No Place Like Home:” Mothers. and forgotten” (105).

attention. Dorothy. she too. is on a “search for identity” (Cvetkoic 66) and therefore. However. would she? If she could. needs protection. this process. But just before the twister. So. like all mothers. feeling her compassion and devotion every day? If this is Auntie Em’s desire. knows that her child will eventually not unconditionally love her like she once did. accepts “the limitations of home and hearth” (Cvetkoic 67) because she’s scared of the Land of Oz. could be the creator of the . when Dorothy ran away abandoning Auntie Em and her family. Dorothy did not seem so scared of “unfamiliar territory. while on her search. for a second. because Dorothy realizes that she is “willing to accept the limitations of home and hearth for the security that they provide” (67). like nineteenth-century children who are read bed time stories in Zornado’s opinion. At this stage in her life. even stop. But Auntie Em must know that with age comes “female adulthood” and that as people grow up they become less reliant on those who were once closest to them.” Dorothy was ready to leave Kansas and “go with [Professor Marvel] and see all the Crowned Heads of Europe” (Fleming). Dorothy is in limbo between “teenage girlhood” and “female adulthood. would Auntie Em try to keep Dorothy unconditionally attached to her forever. As Cvetkoic points out. Auntie Em is so commonly seen as the mother of Dorothy. and it is possible. Dorothy. but perhaps.3 the distracted mother” who “fails to protect Dorothy” (Cvetkoic 67). it seems that Dorothy chooses the “blue bobby socks” with Cvetkoic’s conclusion that Dorothy’s search for identity ends at home. Dorothy is scared of unfamiliar territory. Consider now if Auntie Em could prolong. Auntie Em lacks all three and thus. this is the part of Dorothy searching for “female adulthood”—the part of Dorothy that Auntie Em never wants to come to fruition. Ultimately. as Cvetkoic suggests.” This state of uncertainty is modeled by her “blue bobby socks” and “red high heels” respectively. then it would be hard to argue that she would not pursue it. and direction. consider that Auntie Em.

]” Auntie Em stands up for Dorothy when Dorothy has left the room. demands an escape to a fantasy world—the Land of Oz. Then Auntie Em determines his fate exclaiming “Put [Toto] in the basket. clutches her fist.” and Auntie Em.” Dorothy looks at Auntie Em as to say “please. Perhaps Dorothy’s imagination. They wouldn't even miss me” when she is talking to Professor Marvel about running away with him (Fleming). as a mother who loves her child and couldn’t live without her. “Nobody cares about me at home. It seems like Auntie Em wants Dorothy to make the statement. hurt by Auntie Em’s neglect. but would it not have been more effective for Auntie Em to stand up to Miss Gulch in Dorothy’s presence? Would it not make her seem more loving. help” but Auntie Em.” never once trying to defend Dorothy. does Auntie Em wait until Dorothy leaves the room to show this loving side? It is hard not to think that Auntie Em wants Dorothy to feel alone. refuses to say a word. “I’m afraid poor Toto will have to go. as in Cvetkoic’s words. and all of a sudden. Dorothy runs out of the scene. in privacy. as the distracted mother in public. the once distracted mother. After Toto bites Miss Gulch when Dorothy brings him over to her garden. Henry. But then. a “distracted mother.4 Land of Oz.” While Dorothy is in the room. If Auntie Em wants . This fantasy world produces a scene in which Miss Gultch tries to take Toto from Dorthy creating a dichotomy between Auntie Em in the presence of Dorothy. stands up. and caring to take Dorothy’s side in her presence? So why then. changes her passive tone to an aggressive tone. and exclaims that Miss Gulch does not have “the power to run the rest of [them]” and that she has “been dying to tell [Miss Gulch] what [she] thought of [her. that Toto is “a menace to the community” and that she is “taking him to the sheriff to make sure he’s destroyed. Miss Gulch forcefully states. in the presence of Auntie Em and Dorothy together. Auntie Em replies in a passive tone.

if Auntie Em wants Dorothy to feel so abandoned that she tries to run-away then she must have good reason. the flying monkeys. damages. it is evident. and steals Dorothy’s youthful heart. Dorothy is not in complete control and that unlike Auntie Em’s unintentional neglect. If Auntie Em truly wants Dorothy to stay unconditionally devoted to her forever. who is forced to dream of a fantasy land because of Auntie Em’s neglect. that Auntie Em has a plan. If Auntie Em. then would it not make sense that Auntie Em has intentionally told Dorothy of this dream before . the detail is so significant that it seems almost impossible to believe that this is the first time Dorothy had this dream—or at least impossible to believe that this is the first time she has heard of this dream. forces Dorothy to dream of a fantasy land. include in her dream the evils and torture of the Wicked Witch of the West. by neglecting Dorothy in public. The minor instances of this “fairytale” when Glinda. then why does Dorothy dream of the Land of Oz? As a dream. it seems that. like all dreams.5 Dorothy to make this statement. who Cvetkovic describes as the “idealized mother. there is an intentional force at play. the Land of Oz is not the exact fairytale that would satisfy Dorothy’s youthful heart. who Cvetkovic describes as the “devouring mother” (67) taints. But why would Dorothy. an incarcerator. From these questions. that Auntie Em is not just the stereotypical maternal figure. but more than not. The child who held onto her mother because she was naturally scared of anything foreign that entered into her world. Auntie Em is trying to satisfy her desire.” (67) pleases Dorothy’s youthful heart are overpowered by the major instances when the Wicked Witch of the West. and the like? More questions appear when considering the extent of detail in the dream as well. in the comparison between Auntie Em’s public and private affection for Dorothy. Auntie Em realizes that now—when Dorothy is starting to explore the world and ask questions—is the perfect time to scare her back into the unconditionally loving child she once was. So then.

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” she tells us of “a land that I [Dorothy] heard of once in a lullaby” (emphasis added) (Garland). Because if Dorothy’s dreams are controlled by Auntie Em and “the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. ever again. Yet. in the literal sense. Then. in the opinion of Zornado. A lullaby of the Land of Oz sang by Auntie Em. and place the dream in her unconscious.” (Garland) then it is Auntie Em’s dreams coming true for Dorothy not Dorothy’s dreams coming true for Dorothy. then. that Auntie Em.” then Auntie Em’s intentional and unintentional acts have succeeded in her mission to incarcerate her loved daughter. If Dorothy is true to her statement that she is not going to leave here [Kansas] ever. but what about a lullaby? Is a lullaby not just a story with a melody? When Dorothy sings the most famous number in the film. If Auntie Em is controlling Dorothy’s dream. Dorothy would suffer from “emotional and physical trauma” (105). . like all parents who “incarcerate” their children.6 in the hopes that one day she would dream it herself and be scared of life outside of Kansas? Imagine that Auntie Em could tell Dorothy the story of the Land of Oz when she is asleep at night. then it seems too. Auntie Em—like all parents that try to instill their dreams inside their children by living vicariously through them—inhibits and forever limits the child’s ability to find and discover their own “somewhere over the rainbow” (Garland). there is no evidence that Auntie Em told Dorothy a story of the Land of Oz. is controlling Dorothy’s dreams (goals) in the metaphorical sense as well.

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