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Town By Thornton Wilder
1. Thornton Wilder was one of the most cosmopolitan and sophisticated of American
writers. Born in the Midwest on April 17, 1897, he was educated in China, in
Germany language schools, in America, and in Rome. He was thoroughly familiar
with classical literature. In 1938 he wrote Our Town. In this play Wilder gained
admiration for his serious philosophical concerns and use of theatrical
techniques. When reading Our Town it is difficult to find one major conflict.
The ideas imbedded behind the scenes deal with the importance of love, the
continuity of human life, the beauty of life, and the meaning of life. The topic
of love is seen many times throughout the play. All the characters are brought
together by love however, each relationship and each love is different.
Throughout the play it is very easy to notice the different loves. In act one
love is centered on the family, the main characters seem to show unconditional
love for one another. In the second act the word of love changes to romance, as
Emily and George fall in love. In act three love is shown in the most
unconditional way. Unselfish love that expects no return. As the play moved
forward we work constantly reminded that like this one continuous cycle. The
play itself begins with birth and ends in death. The stage manager also
insinuates this idea by comparing generations. The strongest theme in Our Town
is the beauty of life. This theme helps show us the wonderful happenings of
everyday existence that most people will ignore and is only sometimes grasped by
poets and saints. 2. After a short analysation of Our Town the plot reveals
itself very easily. It has been said that Our Town has no plot at all, in that
the stage manager tells a few stories about life in Grover\'s Corners and sends
the audience on their way. The simplicity behind the plot is what brought
excellence to the play. Wilder tries throughout the play to show the importance
of ideas not personalities, and let each individual audience member gain
something different from the play. The play begins while people are still
entering the theater and being seated. A character known only as the stage
manager enters a bare, partly lit stage. He begins rummaging around on stage
acting as a stagehand setting up for the first act. The stage manager begins by
telling you that you are in Grover\'s Corners, New Hampshire, in 1901. The first
action seen on stage is everyday activity between the Webbs and the Gibbses. Dr.
Gibbs comes home from the hospital and the wives catch up on gossip while they
work. The stage manager interrupts with some more information and the children
come home from school. Time passes very quickly. The stage manager tells you
that act two will be love and marriage. George and Emily by the end of the act
will be wed. In the middle of this act they take you back to a scene from George
and Emily\'s courtship. Act three opens in the graveyard; the stage manager tells
you that nine years have passed. Emily has died and her grave is being prepared.
Night comes to Grover\'s corners, and the stage manager wishes the audience a
good night. 3. In Our Town, the actors have plenty of room for their own
influences to fit in, because Wilder depicts types rather than individuals. All
the people in Groverís Corners are individualistic. By doing this Wilder left
room for each audience member to connect with each character in their own way.
Emily Webb is the daughter of the editor of the town paper. She marries George
Gibbs and dies giving birth to their second child. She is the girl who grows up
during the play. Her speeches at the end of the play are very important George
Gibbs, the son of Dr. Gibbs, is the boy next door who marries Emily. Both George
and Emily represent typical American children. He is nice and polite, but not
very bright. Throughout his whole life he was always lagging behind in maturity.
Doctor Frank Gibbs is the loving father and husband every man wants to be. He is
at total peace with his living conditions and life. Mr. Charles Webb is the
editor of the local newspaper and enjoys studying Napoleon. As presented before
the parents of George and Emily are also typical and alike. Julia Hersey Gibbs
is Doc Gibbsís wife and the mother of George and Rebecca.
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