Thursday, July 06, 2006

Things We Notice Once We Become Parents: Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz

Things We Notice Once We Become Parents: Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz


Recently, my daughter has discovered Mary Poppins (‘pop’ as she calls it) and The Wizard of Oz.

It has, very literally, been years since I’ve seen either one. They were both iconic to my childhood. I was very nearly rabid about both of these classics, demanding to watch them over and over and over, driving my mother mad, no doubt; just adding two more entire movies to the soundtrack in her head. She could probably recite the two movies without any prompting these days for as much as I watched them.

In watching these standards with my daughter,-yes, we see a lot of movies, but we don’t have TV/cable, so it doesn’t seem as evil. Is that bad?- I am seeing things anew in both movies: the little details, dialogue becoming quite clear to my adult ear, rather than rushing through my child ear, picking out the rhythms to the songs, and random words like Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious (did I spell that right?). Having realizations such as ‘So that’s what they were saying all this time…’ and nodding my head in thoughtful comprehension. As well as the old question: So what is Mary Poppins? Is she a witch? And-what exactly is Mary and Bert’s relationship? How did they meet?!

There is one particular scene in The Wizard of Oz that really irked me this time around. Towards the end, when she is about to go home, Glinda the Good Witch asks Dorothy what she has learned. She replies with: "…If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

Okay. I understand ‘home is where the heart is’, and I do believe in family ties, keeping close to one’s family. Still, I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed at these last lines Dorothy speaks. I also understand that this was filmed in 1939 and the first book in the series was written in 1900. Women had acquired the right to vote barely 20 years when the movie was made. They (We) were still expected to be docile creatures and stay at home, tending the kids and hearth. God forbid if you should have an adventure outside of the home. Yeah- can’t have nice girls going on awesome, dream-like adventures (drug-induced, perhaps? Come on-Snow??? Poppies??? Who could forget the 'crazy coincidence' of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon following the course of the movie? Hopefully, you figured this one out before you were intitiated into the world of parental bliss...). Oh nooo, can’t have that: Be a good girl and stay home, after all, there’s no place like it.


Despite all of this, I find it hard to dislike either movie. These are things I have noticed since becoming a mother. It won’t make me stop watching. Besides, what child doesn’t like Mary Poppins or The Wizard of Oz? I’d be hard pressed to find one such child.

Check out the original Movie Script

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