Our Town Analysis

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Our Town is a play that takes place near the turn of the century in the small rural town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. The playwright, Thornton Wilder is trying to convey the importance of the little, often unnoticed things in life. Throughout the first two acts he builds a scenario, which allows the third act to show that we as humans often run through life oblivious to what is actually happening. Wilder attempts to show life as something that we take for granted. We do not realize the true value of living until we are dead and gone. The through-line of the action seems to be attention to the details of life. Wilder builds up a plot that pays attention to great details of living. In the first act when Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb are stringing beans and passing the time, the reader continues on, not thinking that importance lies in the scene. As the play comes to an end, the reason for that scene becomes evident: the most trivial occurrence can be the most meaningful moment. We as humans, however, do not realize the greatness of these little points until it is too late. Near the end of the story, the deceased townspeople are stationed on chairs downstage, to imitate graves. They are still able to talk, yet only in a lackadaisical tone. They provide the audience, at the end, with a sense of guilt or loss. The fact that the people of Grover’s Corners did not realize the importance of life until it was gone, makes the audience feel as if they should be getting more out of their lives. Wilder so precisely portrays the idea, that the audience is left wondering if they too, like the people of Grover’s Corners, are not living life to the fullest. The play makes you think, whether for a split moment or a long time, about the idea of being aware while going about even the most menial of tasks. While at the funeral, the living members of the cast all have umbrellas above their heads. The dead members sit in chairs imitating...
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