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The book "The Wizard of Oz" is vastly superior to the movie. In my first year seminar we got to write a paper comparing the two (and yes, for me that was "getting" to write a paper, not "having" to write a paper); it was that assignment that finally convinced me to switch my major from French to English. I'd been waiting to write that paper for years, ever since I was in second or third grade and discovered the Oz series.
It's amazing how some of the books we read as children really stay with us and shape how we think. I can't always remember what was in which book, but Oz sits in the back of my head, always, and throws things to the forefront whenever it can find something to associate with. Sometimes they're things I feel really ought to have been obliterated by now: like I've been hanging out with sci-fi nerds and gamers all my teenage years, and every time I hear the word "gnome" the first thing that jumps into my head is one of the illustrations of an irate Gnome King from whichever book they visit him in. First association, invariably. You'd think this would have gotten lost in the years of twisted gnome jokes (incidentally, why is it always gnomes?), but no. From time to time I am randomly reminded that I really ought to go back and reread the entire series.
The princess with the thirty interchangeable heads has really stuck with me over the years, too. I just find that a very powerful concept somehow. Her personality changes every time she changes heads. I'm not sure I realized how deep that was when I was eight, but I liked it.
Even just the first book has some pretty good Deep Thoughts on intelligence, love, courage, resourcefulness, family, friendship, and feminism. I'm not so much certain any of this has actually helped me become a stronger person, but I've internalized it enough that when I fail in any of the above, my self-reproachful internal monologue is just as likely as not to be framed around, or at least feature, more Oz comparisons than is sane.
Yesterday I chickened out of something. Tomorrow, I'll have to deal with it. Today, I found myself complaining that I wanted either a plate of courage or a more assertive alternate head. I'm not kidding.
Rambles on Neverland and Wonderland/Looking-Glass-Land probably coming pending further homework to procrastinate on, because there are reasons that the books that become children's classics are children's classics.