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Our Town Essay, Research Paper

Thornton Wilder was one of the America s greatest writers of all time. Thought of as a star of the first magnitude unusually versatile, original, and clever. (Phelps 2881). He brought small town life in America to theatres with his play Our Town. Wilder expressed many values in his work such as Christian morality, community, the family, and appreciation of everyday pleasures. They are all traditional but his methods in theatre were highly unorthodox. He linked the lives of the characters to general themes like morality and the existence of god. Wilder liked to write about small town American life because he had never lived in a certain place long enough to get attached.

Wilder never lived in one place long enough but when he went to Berkeley High School was when he began writing his plays. Where he eventually wrote Our Town and won his second Pulitzer Prize. Originally Wilder wrote Our Village in 1937 then later he retitled it Our Town. It was met with much eagerness when it first opened in New York in 1938. Wilder s play ran for 336 performances and that is what instituted his reputation as an important dramatist.

Our Town by Thornton Wilder is such a play, and it is important not only for itself but because it is the progenitor of many other works. (Miller 3974)

Our Town is a play that represents typical American small town life in the 1900 s. The play has little or no scenery on stage. There is a stage manager who stays on stage though out the whole play and helps explain much of the action. Our Town s type of plot is domestic romance and symbolism. The plot takes place between 1901 and 1913 in Grover s Corner, New Hampshire. Our Town is set in three acts, the first act is Daily Life , the second is Love and Marriage , and the third act is Death.

Daily Life (Act I) basically shows the typical day in Grover s Corner. Dr. Gibbs returns home from work after delivering twin babies, Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb sends their children off to school. Later that day George and Emily walk home from school together and Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb go to choir practice together. Act I is when George and Emily meet and get to know one and other.

Love and Marriage (Act II) happens three years later on George and Emily s wedding day. They have a flash back to the ice cream shop when George and Emily first dating and liking each other. Later they go back to their wedding day and they get married with their parents there comforting their nerves.

Death (Act III) begins nine years later at the cemitary for Emily s funeral. Emily died while she was delevering her baby. You hear the voices of the dead and she has the choice to go and watch any day in her life. Emily decides to relive her twelth birthday and she relizes how much the living take advantage of the little things.

Our Town is not offered as a picture of life in a New Hampshire village It is an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily life. I have made the claim as preposterous as possible, for I have set the village against the largest dimensions of time and place. The recurrent words in this play are hundreds, thousands, and millions. (Wilder 368)

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