Our Town by Thornton Wilders

Our Town by Thornton Wilders is one of the great classics and favourite literature of the contemporary people. It is one of the most frequently staged plays because of its simple setting and limited props. The writer possibly presented the play in this way to motivate the audience to concentrate on the themes and the character. There is a narrator in the play called the stage manager who supervises the placement of the props, who introduces the play and its setting and who comment from time to time on the action of the characters and their background (Cummings 2003).

The play primarily centers on the families of Dr. Gibbs and Web. It has three acts and the first act focuses on the ordinary pursuits and activities of the town on a month of May in 1901. The second act describes the after high school courtship, love and marriage between Emily Webb and her neighbour next door George Gibbs. The third act presents the funeral of Emily who died of childbirth.

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In this chapter, Emily realized how precious life is and how humans take life for granted.

She returned in town and perceived that at her young age she failed to appreciate even the simple things which make life really worth living. The play manages to depict the early times with simpler values in America. The play appears to showcase the simple setting of day to day life in the small American town. The simplicity of life and environment though relates to the unfulfilled dreams of some characters and the limited nature of human experience.

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The community is used to early marriage. Emily Webb, who is the most significant character, decides to marry after high school graduation.

Her character, as pretty and intelligent, has the potential to be successful outside the restraints of small town. George Gibb, who is Emily’s husband, decided to pursue marriage instead of agriculture school. George and Emily symbolically presents that the human town decide companionship than any other. The author though presented the community positively. Wilder describes that the town’s simple nature exhibit the desire for love and community than individual experience outside the town’s frontier.

Everybody knows everybody. Love and companionship for Wilder is the most important ingredient for life from birth to death. Chats, small talks to the neighbourhood, family dine etc which are simple daily routinely activities are significantly portrayed too as a source of audience’ realization about the importance of appreciating the simpler details in life. Wilder as well successfully send the message to recognize the value of moments as they occur in the present.

The community as a setting plays to influence and relate even the outsiders (non American) that wherever you are in the world either in the past or present, spin on the same situation. People take life and time for granted. Though the community is not perfect because of the imperfections of the characters but imperfection encourage unity and friendship. The small town of 1904 is no difference with the small towns of today. The physical manifestation though of towns today changes a lot because of industrialization and liberation of ideas.

However, the same values must be applied still in the present to attain peace and real happiness. The play’s message is permanent that humans should properly manipulate time, to give importance even in the simplest things, to perceive life as beautiful and to appreciate the subtle and life peculiarities that each day brings. The world’s growth and development physically and materially give people more opportunities. Human experience especially in America is not limited now. Most Americans can now freely explore the boundaries of human experience.

Early marriage is not a community’s norms anymore. People are now focusing to create individuality outside culture and family. Americans have many activity choices to indulge with. Life is becoming more challenging in a way but complicated. However, the need for unity, love and friendship are very significant still. The continuous change influence by communication, multicultural parentage, religion and socio economic factors alter the simple nature of towns from the past. Small townspeople because of liberation of thoughts encourage them to be competitive as well.

The idea of competitiveness makes them not to experience discrimination and inequality. The distribution of information brought by different culture in the world shape the humans’ idea of what life is all about. Involvement to politics, business and the application of education makes people leave the community. The idea that America as the most powerful continent in the world encourages the government and its people to greater development to attain more power and superiority. Townspeople are challenge to explore their potentials which makes them very productive.

Media interpret life outside the restraints of town as something appealing and desirable. As a result, townspeople are motivated to explore, to travel and to desire for more. Growing from birth until death is inevitable but the message of the play about how life should be deal with is the same. The effect of the symbols and themes are transient. And most importantly the deep desire of human attachment is needed. People became more busy and preoccupied because of life’s complexities but Wilder’s story of the play reminds the audience to retrospect on what life is really all about.

Updated: Nov 19, 2022
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Our Town by Thornton Wilders. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/town-thornton-wilders-new-essay

Our Town by Thornton Wilders essay
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