Friday, 19 July 2013

there's no place like home

Wishing for something more, coveting the grass over the fence, yearning for the thing you can't quite describe and yet you feel should be yours. Does everyone feel like that? Is it a symptom of a lack of appreciation, or a desire for enlightenment and fulfilment?

Dorothy has a lucky break when the tornado hits Kansas and carries her, her house and her little dog, Toto, away from the bleak, rural prairie life she has grown up in, to Oz, the epitome of all that is exotic and sparkly. By dint of her role as protagonist, Dorothy undergoes a holy grail like coming of age journey to enlightenment. Embracing all that is picaresque, Dorothy meets characters along the way who teach her lessons in life. She learns about self-confidence vs. self-doubt and friendship and deception and the manipulation of power.

Throughout Dorothy's journey, her goal remains to return home. Even although home is a fairly unappealing place. Like any road movie, Dorothy, as the central character, has things to work out. She has a conflicted relationship to her home and origins, and the tension between the desire to leave and the need for stability is a common theme in film and literature.

Dorothy's ruby red shoes, which were silver in the Frank Baum novel, but became red with the need to exploit the new technicolour film stock, are the vehicle through which Dorothy gets a taste for power and self-confidence and provide us with a lesson about home. Because really. We leave our childhood homes and start to make our own lives. And while we might yearn for the simplicity of the back garden and the tree hut in the pear tree, the home-made caramel slice wrapped in waxed paper in school lunches, the Tolkien-encoded letters from the 'tooth fairy' and the fact that decisions were made for us, these things had their place in the past and we are striking out on the road armed with what we have and who we are. There is no place like home. But what is home? It is what we make or what is made for us. Preferably the former. 

Angus and Julia Stone - Yellow Brick Road (live in Paris)

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those that let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning. Lao Tzu

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