Inside the Unconscious Mind of an Author By: Marissa Tafollaand Jennifer Chang
Key Words • Sigmund Freud: trained as a neurologist; his experience led him to develop a theory of mind that influenced future psychologist. • Unconscious Mind: houses all the memories, urges, and conflicts that are beyond awareness. • Psychoanalysis: Freud’s Method of treatment that attempts to bring hidden impulses and memories which are locked in the unconscious, to the surface of awareness.
Baum’s parents constantly discouraged his imaginative side as a child, believing that he should engage in more serious endeavors, such as becoming an entrepreneur. Could Baum have used The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to unconsciously explain how his parent’s restrictions as a child led him to his failures in his careers?
The Unconscious Mind • He believed that the contents of the unconscious mind exert powerful and long-lasting influences on behavior. • Our childhood memories are stored in our unconscious mind. • Traumatic experiences that you encounter as a child are anxiety provoking and are therefore difficult for the young mind to deal with, so they are buried in the unconscious.
L. Frank Baum’s Childhood • L. Frank Baum was raised by his mother and father. • His mother was a direct descendant of Thomas Stanton, one of the four founders of Stonington, Connecticut. • His Father Benjamin Baum was a wealthy businessman who got his wealth from the oil fields of Pennsylvania.
Parent impact • Societal expectations • Ignore his creative mind and pursue a job from which he could become wealthy. • They sent him to study at Peekskill Military Academy at age 12 • Baum claimed to have suffered a heart attack or nervous breakdown • Dropped out after two years • He believed in always respecting his parents
Failed businesses • Opera house in Richburg, New York • In 1880, Baum’s father built him a theater in Richburg, New York • Burnt down during a production of “Matches” destroying scripts and costumes • Department store • In July 1888, Baum and his wife moved to Aberdeen, Dakota Territory,where he opened a store, "Baum's Bazaar“ • Filed bankruptcy • Editing the newspaper, Saturday Pioneer • Failed in 1891
In comparison to Dorothy • Dorothy was whisked away to the Land of Oz, but all she wants is to return to Kansas. • This can be interpreted that Baum was forced into the business industry by his parents. He felt like he had no control of where he was going. However, all he wanted was to return to what he really wanted to do, which was to take advantage of his creativity and write children’s stories.
“From Wonderland to Wasteland: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Great Gatsby, and the New American Fairy Tale” by Laura Barrett • Other authors in addition to Baum, have created stories as “a source of consolation to many people who felt like they needed magical solutions to their real life problems and struggles” (Barrett, 2006).
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz • “I am anxious to get back to my aunt Em and Uncle, for I am sure they will worry about me. Can you help me find my way?” (To witch of the North). (pg.47 from Annotated Wizard of Oz) • Towards the end of the story, she is saying her last good-byes to her friends and she finds her self heart broken.
Grey and Gloomy VS. Bright and Colorful • Kansas VS. Emerald City • Creativity and Imagination VS. Parent’s Expectations • Dorothy helped all her friends in some point of the story • Dorothy symbolizes the mother figure that Baum felt he missed out on in his life
What started out as an innocent story was eventually taken over by Baum’s unconscious mind. This leads us to believe that he used the Wonderful Wizard of Oz to expose his repressed unconscious issues.
Work Cited • Barrett, L. (2006). From Wonderland to Wasteland: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Great Gatsby, and the New American Fairy Tale. Papers On Language & Literature, 42(2), 150-180. • McGovern, Linda. "L Frank Baum – The Man Behind The Curtain." Literary Traveler. 1 Mar. 1999. Web. 07 May 2013 • Myers, David G., and David G. Myers. Exploring Psychology in Modules. New York, NY:Worth, 2008. Print. • Nairne, James S. Psychology. Fifth ed. Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2009. Print.