“There’s no place like home” because home is not a place

One of the earliest conclusions I made about Home this past year was while re-watching the classic motion picture, The Wizard of Oz.

In the final scenes of the motion picture, Dorothy Gale of Kansas is told to close her eyes, tap the heels of her ruby slippers together and repeat after herself, “There’s no place like home.  There’s no place like home.”

That sequence of events leading to Dorothy’s return is one of the most disingenuous sequences in Hollywood film history (in my opinion), because it slyly problematises the concept of “home,” even while attempting to appeal to the popular notion of home as something static and stable, singular and locatable.

“There’s no place like home,” Dorothy duly repeats after herself.  But where or what exactly is this place called home?  Is it Kansas?  Is it the backyard of Uncle Henry and Auntie Em’s farm?  Or is it perhaps Oz?  Is it a place at all?

As the end credits roll in, Dorothy is seen again repeating the words “There’s no place like home” almost desperately.  She seems confused, uncertain, disoriented.  (Or maybe it was the meds that Judy Garland purportedly had to take to get through the grueling shoots.)

I got to thinking that perhaps “there’s no place like home” for young mobile persons because home is not a place. It is a whole mixed bag of other things – people, objects, routines, feelings, memories, technologies; everything loosely associated to a place, just not the place itself.

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
This entry was posted in Home, Sociology & Urban Studies, Travel & Mobility and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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