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Dorothy Essay, Research Paper

The Development of Dorothy

The movie ?The Wizard of Oz? opens on a farm in Kansas. The lead character is a twelve-year-old girl named Dorothy. Dorothy exists in a world limited by aged beliefs and fears, which make up a great part of her reality. In Kansas, Dorothy is a twelve-year-old girl, with twelve-year-old needs and emotions. I feel that the movie is a device by which we can analyze Dorothy in all states of mind, her conscious, pre-conscious, and unconscious. I believe that Sigmund Freud?s principles on the structure of personality and dreaming will aid in understanding Dorothy?s growth, wants, and needs.

Dorothy in her conscious state struggles to be heard and understood. She is distressed and unable to impart her feelings of upset and fright to an open ear. Her id manifests itself with the desire for immediate gratification, stimulated by her fear that the character Ms. Gulch will destroy Toto. Just as Dorothy is able to explain herself to her nurturing Aunt and Uncle, the Gulch character enters. Gulch takes Toto from Dorothy, with no remorse, stuffs the dog in a basket, and leaves. Dorothy runs to her room to weep and curls up into a fetal position. The fetal position is her unconscious desire for soothing and belonging. Her weeping is cut short by the return of her dog Toto, who was able to outwit Gulch. Immediately Dorothy begins brewing ideas of running away so as to protect her beloved Toto from danger. Still motivated by id like intuition, Dorothy runs off with Toto. I believe that her id is strong, but is also being checked by ego. Running away is id like, but protecting Toto is ego?s ability to keep id in check.

A wandering professor interrupts Dorothy?s exodus from her farm. Professor Marvel produces feelings of wonder and comfort in Dorothy. She hopes he will be able to save her and Toto from the evil clutches of Ms. Gulch. Marvel sits Dorothy down and attempts to read her fortune in his crystal ball. He brings Dorothy to the realization that running away was not correct, and in doing so she hurt her Auntie. I believe that because she is so young, Dorothy is in need of an external superego to provide her with a proportionate amount of guilt for what she is doing. She realizes that she was wrong and runs home.

Dorothy?s return home is followed by a storm carrying a tornado. The tornado may signify a residual turmoil in Dorothy?s unconscious mind, but dually acts as a conveyance for Dorothy. She returns to her home to find everyone has disappeared into the storm cellar. Frightened by the storm, she returns to her room and cowers on her bed. Dorothy is knocked unconscious by the window shutter as it flies open and hits her in the head. She is launched into a cognitive unconscious state. The tornado spins many familiar faces and things past her window until finally she witnesses Ms. Gulch?s transformation from spinster, to the wicked witch of the west. Suddenly all is quiet and back to normal, or so it seems. Dorothy gingerly walks to the front door and opens it to find the paradise that is Oz. The door opening signifies her complete transition from conscious to unconscious. The twister was the force that awakened her unconsciousness and immersed her in dreamland –Oz.

Dorothy emerges from her house to be told, by the good witch of the north Glinda, that the wicked witch of the east has been squashed by the Kansas abode. We are constantly creating and transforming our reality, as a dreamscape and I believe that the death of the evil witch is Dorothy?s way of coping with her previous fear of Gulch. The creative potential within the dream actively transforms conflicting material and unresolved feelings, into comforting or understandable images.

Dorothy is now confronted with a desire to return home. Before she can relax she is once again introduced to yet another symbol of evil, the Wicked Witch of the west. After threats from the wicked witch, Dorothy is advised by the good witch to ask for the help of the Wizard of Oz. She is told by the locals to follow a yellow brick road to the Emerald City where the Wizard resides. Her journey down the road signifies her need for direction and a penultimate goal-her home in Kansas. During her trip down the road, Dorothy is introduced to three of her sub-conscious friends. The scarecrow without a brain, the tin man without a heart, and the cowardly lion. These characters represent Dorothy?s under developed cognitive abilities. She has reached the age where her hormones begin to encroach on her emotional stability, puberty. She picks up friends on her journey down the road, in the hope that the wizard might help them too. They traverse the world of Oz, avoiding traps and deceits planted by the Witch, to arrive safely at the gates of the Emerald City.

Upon meeting with the wizard, Dorothy is presented with a challenge. Dispatch the evil witch and return with the broomstick. Only then will they be granted their needs. A brain, a heart, courage, and a way home. I think this test is her unconscious strengthening her conscious resolve. The friends travel to the witch?s castle, and are ambushed on the way. Dorothy is separated from her friends. I think that this is the pivotal point in her emotional growth. Her friends forget all of their hang-ups and proceed to mount a daring rescue. After the rescue, they meet the witch on their way out. The witch threatens the scarecrow and lights him on fire. In an effort to put out the fire, Dorothy inadvertently throws water on the witch. The witch melts away to nothingness.

Dorothy returns to the Wizard to retrieve the prizes for her triumph. At this point the Wizard is unveiled and it is revealed to the adventurers that he is merely a mortal man. The significance of this is that the three Oz men realize they?ve always had what they sought elsewhere, right within themselves. Having resolved this, Dorothy?s unconscious is finally sound. Her only difficulty now is that she must rely on the Wizard to get her home. The method of transport is a balloon, which inadvertently escapes without Dorothy, because once again she runs to save her dog Toto. The flight of the balloon signifies Dorothy?s breaking with her last emotional crutch. She is now able to stand on her own two feet. The good witch returns, to remind Dorothy that all she needed to do was think of home, and that?s where she?d be.

Dorothy says goodbye to all her new/old friends, and thinks of Kansas. She awakens to find her whole family and everyone at the farm there for her.

Dorothy?s transformation through dreaming and the creativity through which her emotions are released i.e. melting the Wicked Witch, proves that she always had the ability to vanquish her fears without any ones help. She was able to claim back the stability within her soul, and perform magic and miracles in her life.

Psychologist Sigmund Freud popularized the theory that dreams contain symbols, which reveal a person’s unconscious. “[Freud thought] dreams were wishes for fulfillment or anti-fulfillment, and represent what you want or don’t want”.

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