Our Town Thornton Wilder Essay Topics - Since 1995
Our Town, written by Thornton Wilder in 1938, is sometimes known as one of his best works. "Beautiful and remarkable-one of the sagest, warmest and most deeply human scripts to have come out of theatre...A spiritual experience" (Burbank 151). The play deals with at least three themes. The first theme appears in the first act dealing with daily life. A second theme shows up in Act II dealing with love and marriage. The third theme appears in act III having to do with death. Set on May 7, 1901, the play is told by the omniscient stage manager whose purpose is to provide exposition of background facts. In the first act the stage manager introduces two families: the Gibbses and the Webbs.
Essay: Our Town by Thorton Wilder (1897 – 1975) ..
She relives her twelfth birthday and realizes all the little things she misses. Emily, now, doesn't understand why the living take life for granted and don't appreciate the things that need to be appreciated. The setting of Our Town can take place anywhere and it wouldn't make a difference in the themes and ideas. Thus, Our Town takes place in Grover's Corners, New Hampshire on May 7, 1901. Grover's Corners represents the typical American small town. This way, the viewers or readers can imagine any town they have experienced.The Stage Manager plays an important role. As leader and spokesman, the Stage Manager familiarizes the audience with various aspects of Grover's Corners. He speaks the playwright's thoughts and projects his themes directly. "Whatever wisdom Wilder wants to express beyond the dialogue of the play, he puts in the mouth of the Stage Manager" (Burbank 93). Through this invention of the Stage Manager, the viewer discovers the value of the humblest of everyday transactions. Thus, he functions as the most important actor, as well as a structural element of the play, and also as a facilitator of each theme.
Thornton Wilder has written many novels and plays. Many critics have been lead to believe that Our Town is his best piece of work. One critic describes the dualistic nature of Our Town, "the fusion of past and present, natural and supernatural" (Townly 151). Wilder presents a unified whole-human life summed up in three acts, all of which flow along in a perfectly normal pattern. By Wilder's ability to universalize scenes, and by his basic humanism, he offers something with which the viewer can identify. Critics believe the play remains popular because of the humanistic ideas. One of Wilder's purposes is to present events of temporary importance against the perspective of eternity. Overall, Wilder succeeds in re-creating the sublime quality of everyday living. Without moralizing, he imparts to viewers that there is something worthy and noble about their lives. He stresses the simple decency of family relationships. In this way he dignifies homely details that might otherwise be taken for granted. "Ultimately, it concludes - by accident or disease or whatever means brings it to a close - and transforms itself into a transcendent peace, devoid of recrimination or sadness" (Miller 202).