Our Town by Thornton Wilder

1170 Words5 Pages
Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town, in three short acts encompasses the human experience of living. Each act represents a different stage of life as it follows the developing lives of Emily Webb and George Gibbs and ultimately describes an idyllic version of America in which it exemplifies a longed for simpler and more peaceful time. With this in mind, the setting itself, a congenial and peaceful Grover’s Corners, the characters, such as Emily and George lacking any flaws, and the overall fanciful ideas of life and death prominent in the third act, work together in Our Town to romanticize the average life in America. This notion of romanticizing life and making it appear grander or better than it is in reality contrasts with the realism needed in a tragedy. Realism allows the audience to form a deeper connection with the characters where the characters’ struggles become their own allowing the catharsis to ensue which is needed in order to make it a tragedy. Therefore, the people, the town itself, and the ideas in Our Town lack the realism of actual life by focusing on the nostalgic and romantic version of everything; by doing so it hinders itself from being considered a tragedy. Wilder’s play Our Town ultimately conveys a sentimental romanticism through its portrayal of life rather than focusing on its tragic nature through realism. Grover’s Corners as an entity itself expresses nostalgia for a simpler era as it is an idyllic recollection of America which omits the realistically negative attributes of an actual town. Through Grover’s Corners and its inhabitants, Wilder proposes to demonstrate the nature and lives of average people by framing Grover’s Corners as an archetypal town which can become anyone’s town and seem like everyon... ... middle of paper ... ...rays life through sentimental romanticism and therefore lacks the realism necessary for it to be deemed a tragedy. The setting itself, Grover’s Corners, is merely an idyllic version of an American town playing upon the notion of a simpler time in America. It lacks the sufficient realistic qualities of any negative attributes in order for it to properly exemplify a typical town. The characters also lack the realistic human qualifies of flaws and become mere romantic symbols of youthful innocence. Lastly, romanticism is portraying something better than it actually is, and for Emily being able to be happy and reunited with her family even after death is playing on this very idea. Therefore, Our Town portrays life better than it really is making it a romance rather than a tragedy. Works Cited Our Town by Thornton Wilder Our Town - Great American Tragedy? by Stephens

More about Our Town by Thornton Wilder

Open Document