English Paper on The use of color in the Wizard of Oz

English Paper on The use of color in the Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a fictional book published by L. Frank Baum. The book is basically about a girl named Dorothy who comes from Kansas and is swept away by a tornado to the Land of Oz.

The writing has gorgeous illustrations and graphics created by William Wallace Denslow, a Philadelphia-born artist. In the novel, the primary lands of Munchkins, Winkie, and Quadlings are represented by the primary colors Blue, Yellow and Red respectively (Baum 18). Munchkins is located in the East, Winkie in the West, and Quadlings in the South. This is quite symbolic, as the regions are located similarly to the standard color wheel, where blue is located to the right (east), yellow to the left (west), and red at the bottom (south). The colors were not chosen arbitrarily, since Baum had knowledge of the color theory since he has previously worked as a window dresser. His expertise on colors even led him to publish a book called The Art of Decorating Dry Goods Windows and Interiors in the year 1900. This hence shows that the use and location of the colors to represent the three primary regions was not merely a stylistic technique, but it was based and guided by the awareness of color theory.

Also, in the Novel, the Emerald city is represented by the intersection of blue and yellow (green). The green color represents the color of greenback paper that was used at the time. It was fraudulent since it did not have real value. In addition, the color green being a secondary color, was used to represent Emerald City, since it served as a link between the three regions of Oz. Dorothy’s home in Kansas is represented by the colors black and white. This symbolizes the boredom that Dorothy experienced while living there (Gills 108). It was a total contrast to the Land of Oz, which was vibrant and full of color. This, in turn, illustrates the happiness and excitement that is associated with the Land of Oz. As such, one can conclude that the use colors to represent Emerald City, Oz and Kansas, signifies the emotions associated with each town.

In addition, the character Glenda, who was a witch, is portrayed by the colors of the national flag of the United States. She is described as a woman who possessed rich red hair, blue eyes and wore a pure white dress (Baum 74).

The colors of the national flag signify that she was powerful, and her white dress represents her good nature. This is in contrast to the wicked witch who wore black. Her black clothes symbolized her evil nature. Another illustration of the use of color was when Dorothy was presented with a pair of silver shoes during the passing of the wicked witch of the East. In 1939, when the book was displayed on the large screen on Hollywood, the character Dorothy was presented with Ruby Red slippers, instead of the initial silver shoes. According to Gills, the change was made because the Technicolor red stood out better as compared to the silver against the Yellow Brick Road (16).

In conclusion, it is clear that the use of color is very prominent and important in this book. The use of color captivates the mind and makes the writing to be more interesting. This could be the reason why it still is among the bestsellers up to date.



Works Cited

Baum, L. Frank. “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Oxford University Press, USA, 2000.

Gillis, Bryan. “A Journey down the Yellow Brick Road: What Oz can teach students about literary techniques”. Voices from the Middle, 14.2, 14-21, 2006.