What is the secret of popularity

What is the secret of the popularity of the Land of Oz story?

If we continue the conversation about Baum's story, it should be noted that many of our readers who grew up with Volkov's "cover" are a bit cool about the original source - it seems too easy and too serious for them. However, this is all from the standpoint of an "adult" who did not know the American original in his childhood.

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Yes, in fact, in the "Land of Oz" there are practically no sad tones and dramas inherent in Volkov's version. There is also no Volkov rationality and adequacy of the fairy tale world.

Baum's fairy tale is a fun and carefree holiday, a colorful and inexhaustible fireworks display of the imagination. What characters you won't meet here! Here are the wheels and the invisible bears and the mechanical tik-tok man and the greatly enlarged and educated beetle kuvyrkun and the princess who changes her head every day and the organ man and the two-faced jumpers and Razvalinsy who in Danger is breaking out, and they must be put together like puzzles, and also a cart and a little cart of the most unimaginable and funniest fictions.

The writer purposely saved the land of Oz from suffering and cruelty, believing that it would be completely useless to the child. According to Baum's plan, the "Wizard of Oz" should be "a modernized fairy tale in which wonder and joy remained and heartaches and nightmares were removed". F. L. Baum:
“All these creepy horrors only bring morals to the end of the fairy tale ... Modern schooling is already overwhelmed by morals, and children expect entertainment from the fairy tale and nothing more. And what they disagree with, they are thrown out of a fairy tale. "

Emerald City of Oz:
"The lumberjack has a very kind heart," said the wizard. "He won't offend a fly when it sits on his hand." He will politely ask the fly to look for another place to rest.
- What about a fly? - Aunt was amazed.
"The fly will apologize and fly away."

No wonder Ray Bradbury associated the "Land of Oz" with "uninterrupted sweet buns, honey and summer vacation", in contrast to Carroll's "Alice" which used science fiction to "chilled porridge, arithmetic at six in the morning, pouring compared to ice-cold water and sitting at a desk for a long time ”. This offensive comparison is understandable since Baum was initially referred to as the "American Carroll", which Carroll fans were instantly outraged by - they say where the "Land of Oz" is in the "Wonderland"! Undoubtedly, Carroll's language games and semantic paradoxes are much more elaborate than Baum's, but it's hard to deny the influence of Alice's fairy tales on the style of The Land of Oz.

Emerald City of Oz:
"- Why is your judge's head full of holes?" Dorothy asked loudly, trying to scream out the clatter of dishes.
"A perforated head enables him to separate the truth from the lies," declared the king politely and added in a whisper: "I advise you to be quiet and not add fuel to the fire!"

"Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz":
"He may look ridiculous," said the prince quietly, "but a wizard to be looked for." His only mistake is that he makes mistakes too often. "

Finding sources that influenced Baum's story can and should, of course, but it cannot be denied that the plot of The Country of Oz is completely original and has no direct analogues in fairytale literature.

The heroes of the story, permeated by national colors, are also original. They symbolize not only three human qualities (mind, heart and courage), but also the three worlds of America (agriculture in the face of the scarecrow, lumberjack in the face of the woodcutter, and wildlife in the face of the lion).

We have already met Tin Lumberjack (originally Tin Woodman). As for the scarecrow, in the original it is called more prosaically - scarecrow - that means simply "scarecrow". Baum's biographers mentioned that Frank often had a traditional horror movie-style nightmare as a child, in which he was struck by a garden scarecrow. Perhaps it was despite the children's fear that the writer made his hero so harmless and kind. His other hero was friendly too - Pumpkin Head Jack - another reference to the American tradition of carving all kinds of creepy faces on a Halloween pumpkin. By the way, in the fairy tale Jack had his own graveyard where he ... buried his damaged heads.

As early as 1986, M. Petrovsky noted Baum's strange plot in his wonderful book "Books of Our Childhood" - namely that the characters of "The Wizard of Oz" achieve their goals, mainly because of their inner qualities and not because of wonderful artifacts. In addition, none of the heroes suspects that they already have everything they want from the magician.

The “heartless” lumberjack turned out to be sentimental and pathetic, although she explains this in an original way: “People have hearts and they can always listen to their calls. But I have no heart and so I have to be on constant alert. If the great sage Oz gives me a heart, I can relax a little. “The cowardly Leo can suppress his fear in difficult times in order to save his friends. And Dorothy, who dreams of returning home and has no idea that the wonderful thing that can do that - silver shoes - has been her feet from the start.

And on the contrary, the magician who has to fulfill his wishes turns out to be a charlatan who rules exclusively with the help of deceptions and jokes.

As a result, unaware of their merits, the heroes will have to go through a series of tests to find out in themselves what they originally had. The Yellow Brick Road path is actually proving to be a way of winning yourself. Indeed, it is Dorothy's ignorance of the Bashmachkov's power that enables the witch to push her around. And what the wizard in the end gives the heroes is just a simple formality designed to give confidence.

Incidentally, as mentioned above, Miron Petrovsky believed that the green glasses that Oz uses to deceive others may well be an ironic parody of the founder of the Mormon sect, Joseph Smith. Legend has it that Smith was a prophet to whom Christ gave the holy Book of Mormon printed on bronze tablets. So he read this book with the help of special glasses and hid behind the curtain. Why not the Wizard of Oz?

Some scholars of Baum's fairy tales "read out" an absolutely incredible symbolism. So there is an opinion that the "Land of Oz" reflects the disputes that were being waged in the US at the time over the new currency equivalent. Presumably the fake green emerald city is symbolized by paper money, the yellow brick road that leads there is made of gold, and Dorothy's wonderful shoes are made of silver.

In fact, the first great American fairy tale lacks the main engine of American society - the desire for success and profit. The main characters of Baum belong to the titles either indifferently or ironically (the scarecrow relieves Ozma, Dorothy says proudly to the arrogant princess: "Better blood flows in my veins - I'm from Kansas"), and they look at the money with utter contempt . "Journey to the Land of Oz":
“- I asked you to show me the way to Butterfield so I don't accidentally get there. ... The fact is, there's a man in Butterfield who owes me fifteen cents, and when he meets me he'll surely want to pay the debt back. And I don't want any money, honey.
- Why? - Dorothy surprised.
"Money makes people arrogant and arrogant, and I don't want to be like that at all." I want to be loved. "

"- money! What kind of money is in Oz! - called the woodcutter. - What a ridiculous thought! Do you really think we are so vulgar here to use money? ... If we start buying things for money instead of loving each other, being kind, and bringing joy to others, we will not be any better than the rest of humanity. "

Still, it was the story of Oz that became Baum's main source of income. And her future fate was a foregone conclusion. And more on that in the next article.