Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town, is appreciated by its audience as a result of its recognition and popularity. Along with the play’s acknowledgment and praise some people have even recognized it as the greatest American tragedy. However, Stephens’ article, “Our Town -Great American Tragedy?”, has challenged this claim. Also, in this article, Stephens makes arguable claims on the effectiveness and the tragic nature of Wilder’s play. Furthermore, Stephens’ argues that there is a weak emotional connection between the play and the audience and minimal depth in the characters. Still, the depth of the characters and cathartic moment in Our Town capture the tragic nature of the play.
The values that were promoted in the works of Thornton Wilder included those of Christian morality, the community, the family, and the "appreciation of everyday pleasures". ("Wilder", Discovering Authors) Wilder was more of a realist than a romantic, though in his writings "emotions run deeper than wild", a romantic quality. (Grebanier, 5) His plays were meant to bring fresh life and meaning to the "terms of the spiritual life". (Burbank, 21) Some other themes include faith, love, humility, sacrafice, and the role and responsibility of the artist in society. (Burbank, 22)
Our Town is a play that takes place near the turn of the century in the small rural town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. The playwright, Thornton Wilder is trying to convey the importance of the little, often unnoticed things in life. Throughout the first two acts he builds a scenario, which allows the third act to show that we as humans often run through life oblivious to what is actually happening. Wilder attempts to show life as something that we take for granted. We do not realize the true value of living until we are dead and gone. The through-line of the action seems to be attention to the details of life. Wilder builds up a plot that pays attention to great details of living.
Our Town, by Thornton Wilder is a play that takes place in a small fictional town of Grover's Corner, New Hampshire; beginning in 1901 and ending in 1913. The play takes the audience through the cycles of life, with the purpose of getting a message across stating that life shouldn't be taken for granted. Emily Webb, one of the most important characters in the play, is Wilder's character in which he uses to show the audience a message that anyone would understand and relate to.
In the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder there are three overriding themes; the Humanity of Human life, the importance of companionship and the Artificiality of the Theatre. The people (characters) in ‘Our town’ by Thornton Wilder are examples of the Humanity of Human life because they are influenced by time. An example of this is , For example at one point, having not looked at his watch for a while, the Stage Manager misjudges the time, which demonstrates that sometimes even the timekeeper himself falls victim to the passage of time. The second part of this theme is that Wilder ponders whether human beings treasure and appreciate life. The whole of Act 1 is an example of this secondary part of the theme. Even the name of the first act is “Daily life”. The name gives the scene an emphasis on the importance of routine and mundane activity. Daily activities in this town, like feeding the chickens or gardening become sources of dramatic entertainment, for the town’s people. This demonstrates the significance that Wilder sees in such events. Wilder then pairs the idea of the characters obliviousness to the details of their lives, with this. The Gibbs and Webb families rush through breakfast, and the children rush off to school, without much attention to one another. They, like most human beings, maintain the faulty assumption that they have an indefinite amount of time on Earth. Mrs. Gibbs refrains from insisting that her husband take her to Paris because she thinks there will always be time to convince him later. Wilder uses the grave yard scene in act three to accentuate the theme. The souls disapprove of and chastise the living for their ignorance. For example, the dead even view George’s grief and prostr...
When Mark Twain writes about the earthquake that occurred in San Francisco, he recalls the comedy and the silliness that it caused. Throughout the essay Twain looks
Our Town, a play authored by Thornton Wilder, revolves around the daily lives of the Gibbs and Webb families residing in the small town of Grover’s Corners. The work begins with an average day, progress to the marriage of Emily and George, and concludes with the eventual death of Emily. Thornton Wilder claims that “the play is an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily lives”. The play is able to successfully portray these ideas to the reader throughout the lives of two families living their daily lives in Grover’s Corners.
Life consists of moments—such moments are significant. For instance, in Wilder’s play Our Town, readers learn that Thornton Wilder is informing readers that the living does not appreciate life and what it offers. Human beings tend to question life and why one faces certain life challenges—that are difficult to overcome. Questioning certain aspects of life is normal; however, human beings must realize that life is a mystery itself—that should be appreciated. Throughout the course of this analysis, readers will get the chance to learn that Our Town is a vivid and moving play that teaches human beings to be thankful for life and its significant moments. For instance, in the following quotation, readers learn that they should be attentive to life
In 1897 a pivotal writer was born a twinless twin Thornton Wilder. In the book Thornton Wilder, Penelope Niven outlines how Wilder felt haunted by the death of his brother and felt a bit of guilt. Thornton then wrote a play called Our Town that outlines the simplicity of life and death. Over the years of Thornton writing books and plays, he won three Pulitzer Prizes, one of them is Our Town. Our Town was the second Pulitzer Prize won by Wilder and also the most play presented in the twentieth century (Niven).This play was presented avoiding props, sets, and scenery, letting the audience see the play through the view of their own life and imagination. Wilder expresses Our Town as a response to his own critics, exposing the oppression lurking
On Wednesday, October 28, my class and I attended a play called “Our Town” written by Thornton Wilder. It was shown at the Northern Stage in White River Junction, VT. I think the main message of this play is that everything changes gradually. Throughout the play, we are reminded that nothing is permanent. At the beginning of each act, the stage manager reveals the subtle changes that take place over time. The population of Grover’s Corner grows. Cars become commonplace while horses are used less and less. The adolescent characters in Act One are married during Act Two. During Act Three, when Emily Webb is laid to rest, Thornton Wilder reminds us that our lives on Earth are temporary. The Stage Manager says that there is “something eternal,” and that something is related to human beings. However, even in death, the characters change as their spirits slowly let go of their memories and identities.