Dorothy arrives in a strange land, a colorful land, a land of danger and a land in which she is about to grow up. The film emphasizes the fact that Dorothy’s journey is merely about gratitude, about realizing that “there’s no place like home.” However, Baum’s book does not reflect this same kind of sentimentality. Dorothy’s journey to the Land of Oz is not about appreciation but about transformation.
By the end of her journey, Dorothy has finished her work in the Land of Oz and is to return home. In the film, Dorothy never really visits Oz: She has simply had a dream. However, in the book, it is not a dream at all. Dorothy’s experience has been real, and by magic, she returns to Kansas a significant time later. She returns to a rebuilt house in Kansas, an improvement over the family’s previous one-room farmhouse. This is noteworthy. When we successfully go through an Oz experience ourselves, inevitably the new home base that we form, personally or interpersonally, is almost always better and improved. This is the hero’s journey, this is how we grow and change.