Family Life in "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder

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Our Town, written by Thornton Wilder in 1938, is known as one of his best works. It is usually referred as beautiful and remarkable, one of the sagest, warmest and deeply human his scripts. One of the themes captured in the play is the one of family relations. We can trace this particular theme though the whole play. In the 1st act we are introduced to 2 families of the Gibbses & the Webbs. Charles and Myrtle Webb and Frank and Julia Gibbs give us a possibility to have a look at the day-to-day life of an average American family at the beginning of the 20th century. Charles is the editor of the local paper, The Sentinel. He is a forthright, intelligent man and a leading citizen of Grover's Corners. He also functions as a speaker of homespun philosophy and bits of wry humor. Myrtle and Julia represent the typical mother and housewife. Involved in motherhood roles of getting their children fed and off to school, they relax, share the chore of stringing beans, and discuss Mrs. Gibbs' desire to sell her highboy for a trip to Paris. Doctor Frank Gibbs apart from being a very professional and devoted physician is also a master of child psychology in his handling of George's laxness at home. By doubling the boy's allowance, he puts the burden on George to earn his fifty cents per week by being more helpful to his mother. Here we also get to know Emily Webb and George Gibbs. Emily, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Charles and Myrtle Webb is in the process of entering young womanhood. George, the sixteen-year-old son of Frank and Julia Gibbs, is the typical American boy. In the first scenes, he is scolded for throwing soap at his sister. Even though he doesn't deserve it, he wangles a raise in his allowance. Later, he uses his boyish charms to convince Emily to help him with his algebra. The lives of these 2 families are shown to be based on simple every day rituals of having breakfasts together, discussing the town news and children misbehaviour. The main values the...
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