Analyzing the Film – Oz the Great and Powerful

Character Analysis: Choose a character in the novel and follow the development he or she undergoes over the course of the novel. How does the character change, what events or interactions affect this change? You can also discuss more than one character. You could examine their relationships, their similarities and differences, and/or compare/contrast their development as characters.

Wicked: Elphaba, G(a)Linda, Nessarose, Madame Morrible, Frex

Symbols: Find an image or symbol that is used repeatedly in the novel. Examine both its intrinsic external significance (in other words, what it means outside of the novel) and the particular way it is deployed in the novel. Make sure you don’t just cite numerous instances of its use in the novel, also make sure you discuss the significance and impact of it on the message and focus of the novel.

Wicked: Green, Magic, Kumbricia, Animals


Fairy Tales: This novel employs the traditional fairy tale, with certain differences. What is the role of the fairy tale in the education of children? What is it that these stories are meant to teach them, and how do they educate? How do they meet or conflict with you expectations of what and how fairy tales are supposed to teach children? Why are these stories so powerful (think in terms of symbolism)?

Social Commentary: Each of these novels describes a world quite different from our own, yet with distinct connections to modern concerns. What contemporary social issues are raised in the novel, and how are these concerns dealt with? What is the author’s message, and why is it more effective to treat it in this symbolic and abstract format?

There are also several themes specific to this text. You can also create your own, but I strongly encourage you to discuss it with me in office hours or by e-mail.


– Context: This novel is a reaction to the classic film, which is in turn based on Baum’s works, and itself inspired a musical. Why is this material so popular? Discuss the connection between this novel and the other works, and analyze why the world of Oz has had such a powerful affect on the imagination of our society. In what way are the ideologies and concerns is this material especially relevant to us?

– Religion: Several different denominations of religions are discussed in the novel. What are the different ideologies of these belief systems, and how do they interact? What is the novel saying about the role of religion in society? Is religion a positive or negative force?

– Magic: The magic in the novel is not the traditional kind we encounter in fairy tales. What is the actual magic of Oz? What role does it play in the novel, and what is its nature?

– Prejudice: Much of the novel’s social commentary revolves around various forms of prejudice and social injustice. How does the novel reflect contemporary concerns and issues related to race, class or gender? In what ways are the different communities of Oz reflections of our own social and ethnic divisions? What message about these relationships is the novel positing?

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