One of the most enduring and famous stories is L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” first published in 1900 and later made into a film classic starring Judy Garland in 1939. Scholar Quentin Taylor concludes, “Oz operates on two levels, one literal and puerile, the other symbolic and political.”
While the story explores weighty themes like bravery, humanity, and evil in an approachable way for children and adults of all ages, it also contains numerous hidden messages and meanings, many of which were not discovered until decades after publication. Its ability to captivate on both surface and deeper levels is a testament to the amazing wit and creativity of its author.
The Democratic Populist Presidential Candidate William Jennings is Portrayed by the Cowardly Lion. Bryan
In “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” the Cowardly Lion is the third and last supporting character that tags along with Dorothy. Though he is an anthropomorphized African lion that can communicate with humans, the Cowardly Lion thinks that his fear makes him a good lion when in reality he should be the brave king. Cowardly Lion doubts himself and acts fearfully in front of others, yet he does heroic things throughout the book to save his pals and is ultimately crowned king by his fellow animals when they help him battle the Giant Spider.
Bryan and Lion not only rhyme, but there are also many similarities between the two that lead many to believe that the Cowardly Lion was inspired by William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic Presidential Candidate in 1896 and 1900.
For starters, the political press of his day compared Bryan to a lion because of his propensity to roar at throngs of supporters. Additionally, Bryan was defeated in both the 1896 and 1900 elections by William McKinley, who received the support of the majority of eastern industrial workers who voted against Bryan.
This loss is portrayed in the novel, as the Cowardly Lion’s claws “could make no imprint” on the Tin Man. Thanks for reading our article Who Was President When The Wizard Of Oz Came Out.