Significance of Repetition in Our Town
Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1897 to Amos Parker Wilder and Isabella Wilder. In 1906, Amos Wilder was appointed American Consul General, and his family moved with him to Hong Kong. Thornton Wilder only lived in Hong Kong for 6 months, moved back to the United States with his mother, and then in 1911 rejoined his father in Shanghai for a year. Wilder attended Oberlin College for two years, moved with his family to New Haven, Connecticut, and entered Yale University. He wrote his first full-length play in 1920, which appeared in the Yale Literary Magazine. After receiving his B.A. at Yale, he traveled and taught French. In 1926, he received his M.A. in French Literature from Princeton. Thornton Wilder effectively illustrates the importance of life’s repetition in Our Town through the cycle of life, George and Emily’s love, and the playing of “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds.”
Wilder’s show of the cycle of life in Our Town exemplifies the significance of life’s repetition. In Act I, the beginning of life’s cycle is shown when Dr. Gibbs returns home from delivering twins. In the act of “Love and Marriage,” which follows three years later, the Stage Manager describes children growing up and learning to talk, and people who used to be athletic are finding that they cannot do what they used to do. He goes on by saying that most young people found that they were ready to get married, and start their families. So was true with George Gibbs and Emily Webb. They moved on from being children and were now learning how to be adults. In Act III, which is placed nine years afte...
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...ral sing the song to show the gap between the dead and the living. “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds” facilitates the understanding of the play and life.
Thornton Wilder effectively demonstrates the importance of life’s repetition in Our Town through the cycle of life, George and Emily’s love, and the playing of “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds.” The cycle of life is shown repeating from birth to life to death and back to birth again. George and Emily’s love is repetitious and unending, even after the death of Emily, which demonstrates the importance of life. As “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds” is recurrently heard throughout the play, it serves as a bridge through a void of time or place, which is important in understanding the play. It is no wonder that Wilder achieved a Pulitzer Prize for his in-depth work of life.
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