Home can have a deep literal and figurative meaning. The literal meaning is self-explanatory, but the figurative meaning requires some thought and analysis. Returning home could refer to the idea of returning to what is truly important and disregarding and ignoring all the pointless and irrelevant things that are going on outside of home. This is why Berry says, ““to get [home], he must pass a thousand ways to die” (58). Passing the thousand ways of dying is passing through all the irrelevant conflict and drama occurring in the outside world. The value of the home is returning to the essence or “is-ness” of life – ultimately focusing on what is truly important.
This leads me to think when someone says “Welcome home” – in two situations that I experience them frequently: either at immigration in an airport or on the PA system on a flight – it means much more than the physical location, but all the things attached to it such as culture. When I return to the US or Malaysia or Thailand or India, I feel at home in all of these places. I feel like I fit in with the locals, can speak in their language and slang, and connect with them differently than I would connect with those in a foreign country. The value of home is almost something that cannot be described clearly – it’s almost abstract. Home is where you feel comfortable and are able to be the truest version of yourself, and I think that is ultimately what Berry is suggesting through his works, as well.