Notes on Our Town

Essay by m_iria_m August 2004

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In a brief sum up, Our Town is a play based only on imagination. If you don't have an imagination, you'll be staring at a bare stage because there are few props on stage. It is a play based on life; its shown as how the author sees it, relates to it and lives in it. He shows us that we take our lives for granted as we watch two families in the 1900's. The author is Thornton Wilder. It was written in 1934-1938, United States and publishes in 1938 by Coward-McCann, Inc.

Wilder's play defies most conventional theatrical genres. It is neither a comedy nor a tragedy, neither a romance nor a farce. It is a contemplative work concerning the human experience. It is split into three acts. Act I takes place on May 7, 1901; Act II takes place on July 7, 1904, with a flashback to approximately one year earlier; Act III takes place in the summer of 1913, with a flashback to February 11, 1899.

Each scene takes place in Grover's Corners, New Hampshire.

Its theme is based around the transience of human life; the importance of companionship; the artificiality of the theater, and holds a major climax, everyone is dead, yet after dying in childbirth and joining the dead souls in the cemetery, Emily returns to relive a day from her earthly life, which makes her realize how little she appreciated the value of life. Thus showing us that she took her life for granted too.

There are many characters in Our Town, yet there is one that takes the role of many different people; the Stage Manager. The play does not contain the sort of narrator that a novel might, but the Stage Manager does act as a narrator figure, guiding us through...