Baumann, Steven. "Wisdom, Compassion, and Courage in The Wizard of Oz: A Humanbecoming Hermeneutic Study" Nursing Science Quarterly, Volume 21 Number 4, October 2008, 322-329, 2008 Sage Publications
This article is a humanbecoming hermeutic study of The Wizard of Oz, which concludes with an application of the story and its lessons to the profession of nursing. The humanbecoming school of thought depends on the notion that humans are indivisible, unpredictable, and ever-changing. The goal is to study lived human experiences captured in works of art. The article argues that the Wizard of Oz captures wisdom, compassion, and courage. The process in which they study the work involves becoming completely engaged in it, from constantly listening to the soundtrack, watching the movie innumerable times, and reading the book several times over. The intense immersion is argued to bring new and deeper meanings to the story. They find that courage, compassion, and wisdom are displayed through Dorothy, as well as the scarecrow, tin man, and lion. While the scarecrow claims not to have a brain, he is able to speak and make intelligent comments. It is not until the Wizard helps him to realize though that he has had a brain all along. Similarly, Dorothy had the ability to go home all along; she just needed to learn how to use it. While the tin-man claims not to have a heart, it is his emotional moaning that leads Dorothy to find him in the first place. Finally, while the lion claims not to have courage, the wizard argues that he has wisdom to stay out of danger. The conclusion for the audience is the discovery that wisdom, courage, and compassion are always a part of the human life.
This article is very on point in discovering or answering the core of my question. Written for nursing students, the goal of the article was to explore ways for nurses to become better people and have better relationships with their patients. In doing so, they helped to answer some questions of why the film the Wizard of Oz is so entertaining still today, over 50 years later. In somewhat of an irony I think, this type of study assumes that humans are always changing, and yet these experiences with courage, compassion, and wisdom seem to be static themes in human lives. Another briefly mentioned theme is the idea of hope and there is always a better place. This study explores how important hope is in human lives and how we can really relate to Dorothy’s experience in Oz. In addition, it is a story of discovery of the meaning of three qualities integral in a person’s life: courage, wisdom, and compassion.