Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » December 2005 » Off Hiking in Allegory Land...

[« When in doubt, use the Swiss Army knife.....] [From the Files of 'What Haven't They Thought of Before'... »]

12/12/2005: Off Hiking in Allegory Land...

"...But a brief foray into Criticism 101 shows that the wardrobe is big enough for everyone. Symbolism, for example, is when one thing stands for another but is not the thing itself. Psychoanalysts, for instance, have interpreted "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" as Dorothy's quest for a penis - that is, retrieving the witch's broomstick. Does that symbolism - if you buy it - make Dorothy a pervert? No, because it's hidden. That's the point. Overt and covert meaning can exist independently.

Those with a fiduciary, rather than phallic bent, might prefer the theory that L. Frank Baum's Oz stories are a Populist manifesto, with the yellow brick road as the gold standard, the Tin Man as alienated labor, Scarecrow as oppressed farmers, and so on. (And surely some Jungian theory about the collective unconscious explains why both Oz and Narnia are populated by four heroic characters fighting an evil witch.)

Yes, it's allegory land, a place that strings symbols together to create levels of meaning, which a determined scholar has actually quantified as ranging from two to seven layers. (No word on why not eight.)..."

-- NY Times.

Well, I nevah heard that Dorothy was on a mission for a substitute penis, must have misssed that turn-off in Allegory Land.


But I already recommended Narnia.

I think this film version is the best at translating the book to the Big Screen. Works wonders for me - allegories not-with-standing. :-)

Karen on 12.12.05 @ 06:45 AM CST

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