Our Town

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What is the purpose of life? Is it to obtain wealth, fortune, or become famous? Or do the trivial things in life, occurring everyday, make life grand and give life its purpose? Thornton Wilder attempted to answer this very intricate question, a question which plays with each of our minds once in a while, through his play, Our Town. In Our Town, he exemplified his view of life and what it truly means by not only reflecting upon life, but also, death. Through death, we learn what life really is, and what life has to offer us. It is not the grand and fine things in life, but the minor everyday things in life that truly make life worth living. When speaking of Our Town he said, “It is an attempt to find value above all price, for the smallest events in our daily life.”

Life is the period between one’s birth and death. Most of us have a view of life in which it is more or less the same for everyone. A person is born. A person participates in the daily routine of school, family life and friends. A person finds love, gets married, grows old, and finally dies. Our Town follows this cycle of life.

However, through this cycle, Thornton Wilder helps us to realize that life is not what we think or hope it’s going to be. We might not grow old. We may never find true love or happiness, and we may never achieve any of the goals we set for ourselves. Wilder illustrates this through death. In the last act, we do not see a “grave yard” filled with only the elderly who died of natural causes. We see a group of people of all different ages, with all different goals, and with all different deaths. We see Wally Webb, who died as a boy from an appendicitis attack. We see dear Mrs. Gibbs, never being able to fulfill her dream of going to Paris, and, Mr.Stimson, who died by killing himself. Then we find that lovely Emily will be uniting with them as well.

Death comes unexpectedly, and Wilder helps us to realize that we’re not going to know when it’s our time to go. However, when...
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