In what ways can Dorothy be described as a feminist hero? In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum has made sure there is a feminist hero in his book. This is because everyone should see an example of a good feminist hero, especially around the time when this book was written; in 1900, it was very rare to read a book with any sort of feminism in it. Dorothy throughout the book, shows many heroic acts supporting the idea that she is a feminist hero. When L. Frank Baum is talking about Dorothy in the book, she is always leading the rest of the characters.
During the book whenever the characters come across danger Dorothy is usually the one to stand up for them and not just thinking of herself. Dorothy is always helping the characters out instead of waiting for one of the male characters to help them instead. When L. Frank Baum is describing Dorothy and her friends, Dorothy is always described as independent and competent, the reasons why is because she leads and suggests the way to everyone so she doesn’t have to always rely on everyone else.
We are told how Dorothy discovers the tin wood man (p. 34), how Dorothy tells everyone that “we must cross this strange place in order to get to the other side” she says this without worrying and she is taking charge (p. 167) and how Dorothy builds everyone a warm fire (p. 50). In the book leadership plays a strong part of Dorothy’s characteristics as she is not always relying on others for direction. Throughout the story, we are lead to see that Dorothy is a strong, competent and independent character.
These are important qualities for any feminist to have, because if they weren’t strong or they were dependant on others, they wouldn’t be able to achieve anything in their lives and they wouldn’t be able to lead others. Dorothy always tries to help out even in dangerous situations, proving that she is not cowardly. There is evidence of this when Dorothy slaps the lion on the nose, after fearing for Toto’s safety (p. 3), she also speaks to the lion and sternly says ‘Don’t you dare bite Toto! You ought to be ashamed of yourself… ” (p. 43). Dorothy helps her friends to push the raft ashore, this put her life in danger but she still helped them (p. 60). These examples start to create an image of a character that is very brave and not in any way a cowardly or frightened person. By using these examples in the book, L. Frank Baum has created a brave and heroic main character for the story. This an be just of the features of a feminist hero because; if Dorothy is brave it means that she is not afraid to stand up for herself as well as her friends, meaning that Dorothy is mentally strong. Baum has described Dorothy as very kind to everyone and that she likes to help others, instead of waiting for one of the male characters to come and help instead. We can see examples of this when Dorothy asks the tin woodman “what can I do for you? ”, he is a complete stranger but this doesn’t bother her as she can see that he needs help (p. 5), when Dorothy helps free the scarecrow from the pole that he is stuck to and later befriending him (p. 22), when they are trying to cross the hill the lion and the tin woodman get knocked to the ground, ‘Dorothy ran down and helped the scarecrow to his feet. ’ (p. 208). These acts of kindness show that Dorothy is a very kind, caring and helpful girl and is always willing to help someone in need, no matter what. It doesn’t worry her that she is female and traditionally the male characters take charge and rescue everyone.
This is important because, if she didn’t help out and stood back for the male characters to help out then she wouldn’t be thought of as, a feminist because all the male characters would be in charge and in power not her, and if she wasn’t kind to others then no one would want to know her and she would have no one to help, stand up for or be a hero to. L. Frank Baum has made Dorothy an easy character to get along with so that people will want to get to know her and they will have a hero to look up to. Dorothy being helpful and kind is very important for her and is the main reason why everybody likes to be in her company.
In conclusion we can see that L. Frank Baum, throughout the story tells us of many heroic acts that Dorothy has achieved, proving that she is a feminist hero. During the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is always leading the rest of the characters, whenever the characters come across danger Dorothy always stands up for the others and Dorothy is always helping others instead of waiting for one of the male characters to help. Baum uses these examples to create a feminist hero for the story, instead of having the usual dominant male character.