Why the Gold Road and Silver Slippers?

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When reading the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, many readers probably only thought about the silver slippers and how they were supposed to be ruby if they had seen the movie. With my background in business and economics I saw it a little differently. At the time of the story the U.S. was making important decision in accepting the gold standard to place a value on the U.S. currency. Prior to the U.S. involvement many other countries had already decided on gold rather than silver. This decision, like many others, came with political disagreement. The Republican party supporting the adoption of the gold standard and the Democratic Party supporting silver. As silver coinage kept circulating the term "Free Silver" came into play. At the time silver was facing a shortage in other areas in the world and losing it's value, where as gold was still being mined and increasing in value. The ratio was recorded to be 16:1, initially 15:1 but increased after gold was increased, the ratio was passed by Congress at the suggestion of Alexander Hamilton. This ratio was thought to be represented in the "Yellow Brick Road" the strength and larger value of the Gold Standard, the silver shoes represented the weaker, smaller value of Silver. The silver being used to make coins to aide us in comfortable travel if you will, and the gold to provide backing and support.

I hope this opens your eyes to another look on why Baum could have made the brick road yellow and the slippers silver. There are many different resources that can be used to get more information on the theory, the best of which is an article in "The Economist," however it can only be accessed in print. If you have some time and it interests you head to the library and check out the 1968 fall edition.

Booker T. Washington

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Washington was able throughout the final 25 years of his life to maintain his standing as the black leader because of the sponsorship of powerful whites, substantial support within the black community, his ability to raise educational funds from both groups, and his skillful accommodation to the social realities of the age of segregation.[1]"

Washington was one of the first to African Americans to not be afraid to stand up and voice his opinion. With the white sponsorship as well as the black support he was able to influence the important issues while living in an age of harsh social  stresses.

John Henry

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"John Henry is an American folk hero, famous for having raced against a steam powered hammer and won, only to die in victory with his hammer in his hand" (wikipedia)

Why are other tales in the American folk lore lost? It seems that there were many more folk heroes that we all have looked to for inspiration. John Henry was a great legend for everyone not only the African Americans, to be determined to work hard to the end. I think we all could use a reminder of the American folk lore that the country was built upon, to remember where we came from and how this melting pot developed into the country we are today.

She had silver shoes?

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"The Witch of the East was proud of those silver shoes, " said on of the Munchkins, "and there is some charm connected with them; but what it is we never knew." (ch. 2)

I guess I knew that the shoes were ruby because of the color looking better on the big screen but how does it really change anything? Would the movie have been as popular had they kept the shoes silver? I think story is still the same old story with a few minor changes, but I also am having trouble liking the reading simply because I have loved the movie since I was a little girl.


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"My main suggestion, though, is to read things you like. You're not stuck with my list. Go to your bookstore or library and find novels, poems, plays..."(p. 28)

Okay so Foster doesn't know everything about literature but he has opened my eyes to look at each book I pick up a little differently than I normally would. I think I might go to barnes and noble a little more often and try to reread some of the books I've read in previous classes and take a second look with a little different point of view.

Tom Almighty

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"... and Jim and me laid into that grindstone and walked her along like nothing; and Tom superindended. He could out-superintend any boy I ever see. He knowed how to do everything." (p. 294)

This is just another example of how Huck looks up to Tom and puts him on a pedestal. It seems that his age and his ability to read and reenact the stories, makes Tom the smartest, best friend that Huck could ever ask for. I just wish Huck gave himself a little more credit, he was the one who wrote his own story, that should count for something in his mind.

Just and illness

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"There is "no hope" for him this time, we're told. Already your reader's radar should be on full alert. A priest with no hope? Not hard to recognize in such a statement a host of possibilities are realized throughout the story." (p. 213)

Every story has someone who has no hope or is deathly ill. Sometimes that character is a good person and it is sad that they are in a bad situation, and others are evil characters that you feel they deserve the bad things that are happening to them. I find this a little boring, and almost frustrating because sometimes the story seems it needs that illness to make the story. In the end it's very unoriginal.

All they had to look up too

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"By the 1880's the dime novel had evolved to include urban as well as western settings, detective heroes as well as cowboys. In the westerns still being written, "blood and thunder" increased dramatically, while the detective fictions presented descriptions of crime quite disturbing to parents of boy readers." (p.43)

It was these novels that gave the young boys the ideas to pretend and play. Of course for Tom and Huck their story was about using these dime novels for ideas on how to be highway robbers and  steal treasure from the middle eastern pirates.


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"You gwyne to marry de po'one fust en de rich one by en by. You wants to keep 'way fum de water as much as much as you kin, en don't run no risk, 'kase it's down de bills dat you's gwyne to git hung."

Initially reading this I had no clue what was being said. It took a couple of readings some aloud to get an idea. Did anyone else have this problem? I know the whole book revolves around the language that was used and it gives the story more character and interest but if it weren't for the podcast of "Jim" reading the story I would still be lost.

Intro of Huck Finn

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"A book so clearly great, yet with such evident defects, poses a difficult critical problem. There is little profit in making a checklist of faults and beauties." (p. 323)

There were so many critics of the book and so much controversy. It makes me smile that so many of those critics tried to give poor reviews and work to have it ban, to have the book become a best seller. I wonder what the outcome would have been had the critics given it better reviews, if it would have been less appealing.

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