Our Town

Essay by ShakeltonHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2004

download word file, 5 pages 4.6

Thornton Wilder's play, Our Town, has a bad reputation of being a long, uneventful tragedy. Its easy to see why a lot of people miss the purpose and message behind the play, taking it for its face value as opposed to looking into the soul of it. The lack of any scenery and the unusual structure tend to cause a widespread distaste for Our Town, especially with high school students. It intentionally contains little action, in order to support the theme; nothing exciting or suspenseful happens in any of the three acts, just as nothing exciting happens in Grover's Corners. However Thornton Wilder uses this dry, nostalgic old fashion town as the backdrop for his message of great importance. Wilder wrote Our Town to serve as a reminder of how precious life is.

Our Town is presented in three acts. each act has a separate message and purpose from the other two.

Act one, entitled "Daily life", shows the audience what the town looks like. As the stage manager lays the town out on the stage Grovers Corners begins to develop substance. The stage manager slips in stories from the past, involving significant events in the town. As the characters are introduced to the audience life carries on as it always does, at a steady even pace, and we begin to see their daily routine. The stage manager acts as both commentator and participant in the story. This helps him bridge the gap between the seats and the stage, if you will. Part of the reasoning for Grovers Corners' demeanor is its population. The cast of the play seem to lack that emotional or spiritual spark. As the play begins to take form it focuses in on two families, the Gibbs and the Webbs. Both households live their...