One Short Day in the (Not So) Emerald City

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"When you wear green spectacles, why of course everything you see looks green to you...But my people have worn green glasses on their eyes so long that most of them think it really is an Emerald City." (Baum 211)

People wear glasses everyday and don't realize it. If someone tells you something is one way and you believe it, you are constantly stuck thinking it until someone points out the truth. I think that the concept of wearing "green glasses" can be applied to how anyone seeing or interprets anything. You see what you want to see, believe what you want to believe and so on. Often, things can be missed because of such a one track mind. For example, the people of Oz never realized that things were not actually emerald because they never took the time to look around and see the city was as normal as any other city. To add, the people of Oz never caught that the Wonderful Wizard was not so wonderful. They always kept their glasses on and assumed he could do anything.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book. I have been a long time fan of the movie the Wizard of Oz and in recent years have been hooked on Wicked (Both the novel and the musical). What the interesting to me was how Gregory Maguire (the author of Wicked) took the best of both worlds from the book and movie of the Wizard of Oz and reworked everything to create a novel and that again was reworked into a musical. It's amazing how one story can have so many interpretations! I do have to say though that both Baum's book and Maguire's novel seem to have darker tones to them than the movie and the musical Wicked. But the latter two are musicals so I would expect them to be nothing less than happy almost all the time!

3 Comments

Jennifer Prex said:

Your entry made me wonder if the idea of the green glasses was Baum's variation on the cliche of seeing the world through rose colored glasses. You're right. They, just like people in real life, see what they want to see. Just like with the "rose colored glasses" cliche, the Ozians just want to see everything as being wonderful so that's what they see.

Also, in terms of the books versus the musicals, I agree that the books did seem darker than the musicals. It is true that musicals do have a tendency of being lighter, but I wouldn't really consider Wicked as being light, exactly. It's definitely lighter than the book, but it does have its darker tones. Also, there are some pretty dark musicals out there. Les Miserables, Fiddler on the Roof, Jeckyll and Hyde, Sweeney Todd, and Repo!, to name a few. Just as a side note, I don't know much about Repo!, but from what I've heard it's a slasher musical. I don't even know what to say to that . . . . Anyways, I know what you mean about that, but not all musicals are light and happy.

Meagan Gemperlein said:

I was not necessarily saying that Wicked the musical is all happy, so I agree with you. Of all the translations of the Wizard of Oz, I like the musical version of Wicked the best.

Regarding the Wizard though giving the Ozians glasses...in Wicked the musical the wizard says that the folks in Oz wanted something to believe in so I made himself "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". I mean I don't have much evidence from Baum's book for this, but I wonder if the Ozians wanted something to make them standout from all the other "lands" in Oz and the wizard gave them that. Even if it wasn't true, it still made them unique.

Katie Lantz said:

I do agree with Jennifer that not all musicals are happy. The first time I saw (and read) Wicked, I bawled. I think a lot of drama is hidden in funny comments and upbeat songs.

About the green glasses, however, I love the point you made. I thought the same thing while reading the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. To me, the Ozians were so transfixed by the "Wizard of Oz" that they would do anything he told them to. He was the one, figuratively and literally, who put glasses on the people of Oz. Even at his departure, they still thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread! (Or the would have, if they knew what sliced bread was....)

Anyway, In short, I think it was the Wizard's fault that the people of Oz were so blinded by the glasses.

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