I was in third grade when I first saw THE WIZARD OF OZ movie on television. I remember being amazed and somewhat frightened by the Kansas tornado, Dorothy and Toto waking up in a strange world of good witches, bad witches, munchkins, and flying monkeys; a yellow brick road leading to the Emerald City, and three strangers who travel with the girl and become her friends: Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion.
It was years before I actually read L. Frank Baum’s novel and realized the many differences between his book and the movie version. Supposedly, there were over forty, but the surprising one for me as a reader was the difference in Dorothy’s character in Baum’s book. Dorothy was not the movie’s damsel in distress who needed to be rescued. She was a strong, capable young girl who took charge and rescued the situation, herself, and her friends. “If we walk far enough,” Dorothy assures the others in the book, “we shall sometime come to someplace.”
The someplace they reach is Oz, but the guard blocks their way, saying, “Nobody gets in to see the wizard. Not nobody.” That doesn’t stop Dorothy. Even though the Wizard turns out to be “a very good man…just a very bad wizard,” Dorothy doesn’t give up.
There have been countless essays written and theories debated about the characters and symbols in THE WIZARD OF OZ. For instance, what’s more important to pursue, a brain, a heart, or courage? Or, which is the better lesson to learn, how to follow good or how to fight evil?
And finally, once you leave, can you ever really go home again? That’s the question you answered, Mom, by how you’ve lived your life in a spirit of love and acceptance. You saw leaving home as a natural, necessary journey for your children. Things would change and so would we, but of course we could always come home again; a part of our hearts would always be there, and our family would always welcome us back with open arms.
In the book, Dorothy’s slippers are silver; in the movie they are ruby red, but the message matters more than the color. She clicks them and says the magic phrase again and again. She had the magic answer within her all along: “There’s no place like home.”