If you’ve ever read the book “The Wizard of Oz.” You might remember that there’s a small but important bit that they cut out of the movie.
It takes place when the foursome first comes to the Emerald city and the gatekeeper gives them all green glasses, telling them it I just the custom or something along that line. They all oblige since what’s the harm in wearing glasses? They go inside and find that everything in the city is emerald-green, it is lovely; even the people are green. They go to Oz, and leave again, much like in the movie, but they are surprised when after they leave, their clothes that they got in the city are no longer green. When, at last, they return to Oz and discover the Wizard is a fraud, he tells Dorothy that the city is (gasp) not really emerald, but he solved this dilemma with the green glasses. “If people wear green glasses,” he says, “everything will seem green to them.” It is left at that, but the reader is thinking “That was so obvious. I could have told them the city wasn’t really green from the beginning.” (I know I am not the only one who reads books this way.)
Something I never asked myself when I read these books as a kid was why on earth the people wore the glasses? Surely they could have realized the truth, they could have seen out of the corner of their eye that the city was really colorful. Why stay deluded?
I guess there is a novelty in a city all one color, I think it would be boring, but maybe there are some who would put up with it. After all, all of Oz is already color themed (fun fact not in the movie) so they must be used to it, but it still wasn’t true. Did no one ever question it? Dorothy didn’t even, and she was from Kansas.
But then, Kansas was all grey. There is a persistent theme in the book that every place is its own color because of how interesting it is. Or the trades of the people in it. I do not think this was intended to be a race or class stereotype, but a mindset. To Dorothy, everything after Kansas would be a relief from the greyness. Yet she wants to go back and tells the scarecrow, (when he asks why, when it is so grey and drab,) that it’s home.
The thing is, I read most of the books in the series (it was a kick) and I notice that every adventure centers on leaving your home and seeing new places. All the people in Oz are born in one section with one color, they have to leave it, Dorothy has to leave Kansas, or else nothing happens ever, except that things steadily get worse.
I am aware that some people will still think these books are racist because of the color themes, but trust me, that’s not it. I read them okay? I’m telling you, it’s the way of thinking that is the color.
To prove my point, let’s go back to the glasses question. I finally concluded that the obvious answer was that the people wanted to believe in the Emerald city. That’s all there is to it.
I could leave it here and let you figure out the rest, but my point may not be totally clear yet.
My sister asked me if there actually was the horse of another color in the book, (it’s in the movie,) I told her no, there never was. I think the reason is, the horse that changes color would be of no use in the Emerald city, everyone there would see green. And in the other countries, the horse wouldn’t fit. And it wouldn’t fit because the whole phrase “a horse of another color” means “a different matter”, and it means you have to change your answer, and thus your perspective. Which is exactly what nobody in Oz wants to do.
I loved the series, but it was to my disappointment that not one of the characters really changes or grows through the course of a dozen books. There are a few surface changes, but none of real substance. The movie shows Dorothy change, but in the book she really doesn’t, she only finds out that there’s a better place than Kansas, eventually she returns to Oz, and brings her family with her. (Sorry for the spoilers. But that actually was my only incentive for reading the rest of the series and I was put off for one book as it was.)
They go to many different places, in the series, and find many different points of view; but it lacks the fundamental element of change. In Girl Meets World, the code of the show is “People change people.” I agree with that in part, and it is closer to the truth than saying “People never change.”
This may be only me, but I find series and shows in which the characters never change to be both boring and unrealistic, we are meant to change. Our ideas are meant to broaden and expand.
You could pull any amount of lessons from the metaphor of the green glasses; but I ‘m pulling this one: Take the blinders off, change your perspective, it’s okay.
There is the argument that if the city looks green, then it is green to whoever sees it that way. The Wizard seems to hold this belief. But may I remind everyone that the Wizard’s whole career was spent deceiving people. Surely, his perception of truth has to be flawed.
There city really is colorful. That is the truth. Whether you see it that way or not, that part is your choice.
That’s my thought on the subject. Until next time–Natasha.