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EL 266 The Wizard of Oz--- Queer and Gay words

After reading The Wizard of Oz, it was difficult not to compare it to the movie, but looking at the wording closely I have many questions that arose.
The use of the words "gay"(..."and as they walked along he sang 'Tol-de-ri-de-oh!' at every step, he felt so gay") and "queer"(..."as she twisted her long neck and looked sharply at the queer party.") in the novel are not what 21st Century readers define as happy and peculiar. I associate those terms as a homosexual preference. Both derogatory in manner. It is strange how words a few centuries ago meant something completely different from what we, 21st Century society, are accustomed to now.
What I got from the text was, and maybe I'm looking at it too closely, that there were meaning to the different lands that Dorothy entered--Kansas was purgatory, the woods were--Hell, and the land of OZ was Heaven. It sort of made sense to me because I racked my brain trying to figure out what any of the text could have meant. Then I came up with my theory on it. I was sold on my theory with the use of colors used in the text (Kansas was associated with gray. Purgatory is an in-between dimension.) (the woods dark. I would think black. Hell is recognized as being dark with black and red.) (Oz was very bright green. Heaven is known as being very bright.)
"Toto only wagged hi tail; for, strange to say, he could not speak." (Baum)
This question was sort of obvious, but what about Toto? A Scarecrow could speak, the Tin Man spoke, and so did the Lion. Why not the dog?
Last thing I wanted to mention. The poppy field. Is this a reference to the drug culture that was dominant in the early 20TH Century of opium? I know seeds from the poppy plant are extracted from the flowers in order to make opium. "Now it is well known that when there are many of these flowers together their odor is so powerful that anyone who breathes it falls asleep"
The Wizard of Oz, I would have to say, is the strangest read I have encountered this far. I thought that it would be more like the movie.

Comments

I like where you are going wtih the Heaven/Hell/Purgatory theme. That makes a lot of sense to me with the use of colors. Also, when Dorothy walks out of Oz, she is wearing a white dress. White symbolizing clean, pure, angelic.

In addition, te woods had all kinds of monsters and traps.

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