Critique of the Novel Our Town Essay

Critique of the Novel Our Town Essay

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Thornton Wilder was born on April 17, 1897, and died on December 7, 1975. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin to Amos Wilder, an American diplomat, and Isabella Wilder. Thornton Wilder started writing plays in The Thacher School in Ojai, California, and graduated from Berkeley High School in 1915. He served in the Coast Guard in World War II. After the war he attended Oberlin College, then Yale University where he earned his B.A. in 1920. His writing was honed at Yale where he was a part of the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity which is a literary society. In 1926, he earned his M.A. in French from Princeton University. Wilder won Pulitzer Prizes for The Bridge of San Luis Rey in 1928, Our Town in 1938, and The Skin of Our Teeth in 1942. He also won the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1957, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, and the National Book Award in 1967 for his novel The Eighth Day.
Form, Structure, and Plot
The novel is organized into three acts, each one representing a different period of time. There are only two flashbacks in the book. The first takes place in act two, after George and Mr. Webb have a conversation. They both leave the stage and the Stage Manager introduces the flashback of when Emily and George had their first date at Mr. Morgan’s drugstore. The second flashback is not so much a flashback as it is time travel. It occurs in act three after Emily Webb joins the rest of the dead. She, as well as the Stage Manager, goes back in time to revisit her twelfth birthday. The first act is of George Gibbs and Emily Webb as teens, the second act is of their marriage, and the third act is of Emily Webb’s funeral. In the play a total of twelve years is covered. Throughout the play, the tone becomes more and m...

... middle of paper ...

...out that Emily is dead.
Additional Comments
I was not thrilled with this book, but I did not hate it. The book’s strengths are that it has good, applicable themes that are easy to understand. Another strength that the book has is that it is not written in formal diction, so it is easy to read and understand. One of its weaknesses is that it is sometimes hard to follow the plot because of the lack of narration. The reader can get confused because of sudden scene or time changes. The book does leave one lingering question: What happens to George Gibbs? Although this is not my favorite book, it will have lasting effects on me. The transience of human life is a universal theme that can be observed by anyone.


Thornton (Niven) Wilder (1897-1975). .
Our Town. Wikipedia. .

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