*UPDATE!- I’ll be hosting the #HLBBOOKCLUB meet up to see the new movie Oz on Thursday, March 14th! We will be attending the movie in Union Square at Regal Cinemas. I’m planning on the 7:10 p.m. showing. EVERYONE is invited-bloggers, non-bloggers, those who read the book and those who didn’t! Join me for a fun night out!
Hey all, today’s post is a little bit of a divergence from our normal chats about fitness, healthy living and finding balance through some indulgences. I mentioned before that Healthy Living Blogs, a blogging community of which I am apart, has started a book club. I was super excited to join up and get involved with other bloggers because 1.) I love to read and 2.) I love to talk and write about what I read. So today I’m going to be sharing with you some of my thoughts and the themes from our first book. And don’t forget, I will be hosting a meetup to see the new movie Oz by Disney. I’ll be posting and twitting details on the meetup so stay tuned for more information!
For the first installment of the HLB Book Club, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was chosen as our read. Now we are all familiar with the Judy Garland movie and the line, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.” But did you know that the book was written by L. Frank Baum in 1900 and has endured as a classic since then? The text of the book varies slightly from the movie (as most do) but when you look past the text and read the subtext, you realize that the themes in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz say a lot about the complexity of human nature and our own ability to self-evaluate.
We all know that Dorothy lands in the fictional world of Oz and after meeting some munchkins decides she must follow the yellow brick road (a.k.a the road of yellow brick as referred to by Baum) to find the great and powerful Oz so she can ask him to send her back to Kansas. Along the way, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow who doesn’t have a brain, the Woodman who doesn’t have a heart and the Lion who is a coward. All three decide to join Dorothy in her quest to find Oz so they too can ask Oz to grant them the things they want the most in life: a brain, a heart and courage. So the fearless foursome set off to follow the yellow brick road and find the great and powerful Oz. Along the way, the group runs into some issues and as we see them each react to each situation it becomes apparent that the things each individual wants the most are already within them. This is confirmed when they finally reach Oz and we realize that Oz is not the great and powerful that we originally believed him to be.
I think what Baum is saying here is that if we really want something or to be perceived in a certain way, we shouldn’t look to the outside world to grant us those traits but we should look deep within ourselves because what we want is already there, it is up to bring it out. You wouldn’t think a book from 1900 could be so applicable today but as it happens, Baum’s message could not be more applicable to the complex issues we humans face in a modern world.
I, for one, struggled a lot as a litigator being told that I wasn’t aggressive enough or I didn’t have the right personality to be a good lawyer. So I would curse myself for not being the type of person who would be nasty to opposing counsel on the phone just to prove that I was tough or I wouldn’t yell to be the loudest one in the room, even if I didn’t really have a point to make. But, if I take what Baum is saying here, perhaps I do have these qualities in me, its just that I choose not to display them because I don’t want to. If I really wanted to be aggressive, I could, but I just don’t.
On the flip side, other characteristics that I often think I need to adopt or cultivate are similarly already there and because I do want to enhance these characteristics in myself, it is up to me to bring them out. For instance, I want to be a good wife and think of other people’s needs before my own. I have the ability to do these things, it is about making a conscience effort to actually put these thoughts into practice.
Finally, what is interesting about the Wizard of Oz is that Baum is encouraging us to self-reflect, something that maybe we don’t do enough of. He tells Dorothy and crew that they don’t need him but they need to look to themselves. Subliminly he is also telling us, his readers, that you don’t need to look to other people, you need to have the ability to do your own self-assessment and reflect on what characteristics you possess, what characteristics you want to cultivate and how you do this. It’s not something we think about on a daily basis but just think about everytime you said “I wish I was” or “I wish I could”. Stop yourself and think 1.) what do I want and 2.) do I already possess the qualities or tools to do or be that person. Interesting concept, huh?
Well, I know you probably didn’t think you could get all that from the Wizard of Oz, I mean this is just a cool movie with Judy Garland right? Well, as with most movies aimed at children, its all about teaching the lesson. But, if you just remember the fun of the yellow brick road, no worries, meet me to see the movie Oz and we can just relax and enjoy some Franco and Disney fun! 😉 Stay tuned for an update on the time and place!!
Readers, did you read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? Do you have any thoughts on the book or its themes?