When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side…Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull as everything else. – L. Frank Baum
In The Wizard of Oz, life seems unfair to Dorothy. She decides that running away would solve her problems. Then, she meets a fortune teller who tricks her with a “vision” of her Aunt Em being sick and in need of Dorothy’s help. Dorothy then returns home just in time for a cyclone to carry her and her house away to Oz. After the house lands roughly in Munchkin Land, Dorothy finds herself overwhelmed but amazed by this new, bright, and beautiful place that was nothing like gray, boring Kansas. However, this new land was as not perfect as it appeared—just like everywhere else, this land was not without its problems. Along her dangerous journey, Dorothy learns that there truly is “no place like home”—no matter where you go, nowhere is perfect or without its problems. But you can always return home, wherever that may be, to those who love you and who make those problems that much easier to handle.
When I was young, I really enjoyed the book by L. Frank Baum, but The Wizard of Oz movie was and still is one of my favorites. One thing that I have grown to love about the movie is the stark contrast between Kansas and Oz and how well Dorothy’s journey represents how “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side”. This is beautifully represented by the scenes of the film in Kansas shot in sepia and gray and the scenes in Oz filmed in bright, overwhelming color. Dorothy was so unhappy with her life in Kansas that it appeared dull and gray and when she crash-landed in Oz, this new and strange land appeared overly colorful and beautiful. This idea and the way the movie portrays it is one of my favorite things about the movie and has stuck with me, especially as I got older and was getting ready to leave home for college.
I grew up in a small city in New Hampshire, the fifth smallest state in the United States of America. Our city isn’t so small that everybody knows everybody but it’s small enough that everyone dreams of leaving our dull, drab city for something bigger and better. But almost no one ever does. I never really dreamed of leaving but there were times when I wondered if I was missing out on anything by not experiencing other places. However, in 2008 I went away to college, about 250 miles away from home. Being in this strange new place was overwhelming but very exciting. I was in awe with every new experience…for a short time.
In just the first week alone, I had so many bad experiences and problems that the newness began to dull. Being far away from home and not seeing my friends and family every day made homesickness a daily occurrence. Although I enjoyed school and liked meeting new friends, it was difficult to acclimatize myself to my new surroundings and routines. I eventually began counting down the days until I could go home again. The feeling of wanderlust I had when I first left home became a dull ache of homesickness that never seemed to go away. I became more and more grateful for the home that so many people are so eager to leave. For me, home transformed from something as dull as Kansas to something as wonderful as Oz, and I was so happy to be home again.
As I got older, got married, and moved into my own home, I found that I no longer had many of my childhood books, including The Wizard of Oz. Then one day, during a trip to a local bookstore, I found a beautiful edition. I decided to add it to my collection again. Since then, I have bought a few other different editions and have started a collection. I found that each new cover art reminds me of a different part of the story and each one is unique and beautiful: the yellow brick road is prominent on one cover; Toto, Dorothy’s faithful dog, stands on the yellow brick road on one; and Dorothy is looking out the window of her house as it flies in the cyclone on another cover. Each new edition makes me love the previous ones and the story even more. I hope to add more copies to my small collection that showcase the wonderful story that I have loved all my life.
No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.
– L. Frank Baum
[This guest post has been written by Emily Grace. A resident of New Hampshire, USA, Emily is a bookstagrammer by day and a dispatcher for the local police, fire, and emergency services by night. She has a BFA in photography.]
Image: Emily Grace, @breatheeasybooks.