Example of Cognitive Disorder
The film “Wizard of Oz” contains intriguing psychological attributes. Various characters and the plot development portray the willingness of the creators of the movie to convey symbolic allegories that stimulate a psychological analysis of the cast. Psychologists define cognitive dissonance as mental friction, which arises from holding ideologies which are conflicting or contradictory (Halford). Dorothy is a sweet and loving character who somehow dreams of going to a place she will not come back. She exhibits cognitive dissonance in the sense that she is willing to leave behind all the things she cares about, for example, her pet Toto, her Aunt Em, and Uncle Henry. When the film begins, she declares her love for her pet and conveys her fears that a malicious person could be willing to kill Toto. However, as the film develops, it becomes apparent that she is willing to sacrifice what seemingly makes her happy for some strange land. The yearning to go to a distant land of Oz is central to the development of the plot in the film.
Dorothy is naturally good-natured and caring, but her upbringing makes her yearn for a perfect lifestyle. Her background, therefore, contributes to her psychological desire to leave everything behind and seek happiness elsewhere. While Toto and the other pets have a symbolic meaning in the film representing the weak in the society, Dorothy shows a compulsion to help protect those who are vulnerable. However, when an opportunity to leave the land where she was raised and has grown up all her life presents itself, Dorothy is willing to move in search of a life she has always yearned. It is against her first instinct to protect the meek, but she is willing to take a chance anyway. Hulk also tells Dorothy to use her head, and he ends up hurting himself. When this happens, it symbolizes the dissociation about knowing what to do not to hurt oneself and actually hurting themselves (Casey). Dorothy’s encounter with Hulk shows a classic psychological condition of cognitive dissonance. The pattern of her thoughts manifested through her words and actions portray mental confusion which the character is struggling to endure, albeit subconsciously.
Example of Rationality
The film covers the aspect of rationality through Dorothy’s beloved pet, Toto. The creators of the movie cleverly use the dog and Miss Gulch to represent how the strong in the society will prey on the weak with the intention of harming them. Miss Gulch is incensed at Toto for the intrusion into her garden (Casey). Consequently, she is driven by sinister motives to try to catch Toto. Hulk seems to be aware of this fact and implores upon Dorothy not to go to Miss Gulch’s place when she (Dorothy) finally goes home. Hulk understands the danger Toto is in if Dorothy defies his warning, which is an example of rationality in the film. Hulk tells Dorothy that her head is not made of straw in an effort to let her understand her worth and qualities. The fact that Dorothy is living in psychological denial suggests that her rationality is defeated despite the relentless efforts of Hulk (Casey). Use of allegories and metaphors in the Wizard of Oz is instrumental towards conveying the psychological aspect of rationality on the viewers.
Examples of Self Defense
The film portrays various characters as being willing to use their unique advantages to protect themselves from their enemies. For some of the characters, the sense of bravado eventually proves to be unreal, while the courage to face adversity with bravery is an effective self-defense mechanism for others (Casey). For example, the Wicked Witch of the West is particularly fond of using fear to achieve her sinister objectives. She continually threatens Dorothy and her dog Toto throughout the movie. The inclusion of fear is symbolic, intended to force the timid into submission. The self-defense mechanism used by the witch seems to help her fulfill her unholy agenda towards an innocent dog Toto Dorothy is that of fear (Casey). Although the viewer finally discovers that the witch does not have any real power, the self-defense mechanism seems to help her achieve her objectives. The film shows that the psychological effect of fear is powerful enough to keep victims at bay even though what is feared does not actually exist, it is just an illusion.
Dorothy is determined to get to Oz and therefore is willing to train herself in a bid to overcome any barriers, which may prevent her from reaching to her quest. She is attracted to the danger of walking by the fence. By showing persistence to undertake such a dangerous expedition willingly, she appreciates that the journey will require her to be courageous and skillful (Casey). Embracing the challenge is therefore critical for her to develop the necessary self-defense skills necessary to overcome her difficulties in her journey to Oz. Moreover, perseverance and strong character serve Dorothy well to enable her to withstand the harassment and threats of her adversaries.
Casey, Mark. “It’s Not Really About The Wizard, Is It?” http://www.mikecasey.org/WOZ
Halford, Jacob. “Cognitive Dissonance, Self-deception, and delusions.” https://wheatandtares.org/2012/03/15/cognitive-dissonance-self-deception-and-delusions/
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