26 April 2013
Grover’s Corner and Chinquapin: The Importance of Companionship “No man is an island, entire of itself; everyman is a piece of the continent” (John Dunne). Dunne’s words are obviously saying that no man can live on his own; everyone needs neighbors and partners to depend upon. To the common observer, the play Our Town, by Thornton Wilder is exceedingly different from the movie production entitled Steel Magnolias, based on the stage play by Robert Harling. Due to differences in setting, characters, and mood, it can be difficult to see some of the more simplistic parallels. The popular saying by John Dunne reminds people that in small-town life, citizens need to live in harmony with their neighbors. This couplet of dramas is akin to the relationship of love and marriage, as well as ordinary life. Disregarding the seventy year gap between the settings of these two works, both of these fictional pieces highlight the importance of companionship in small-town life. Because birth and death seem inevitable, the most important stage of life is the middle one: the quest for companionship, friendship, and love. Though they may not be fully aware of their doing so, the residents of Grover’s Corner in Wilder’s play Our Town constantly take time out of their days to connect with each other, whether through idle chat with the milkman, like Dr. Gibbs and Howie Newsome in act 1, or small talk with a neighbor, like Mrs. Webb and Mrs. Gibbs having an afternoon discussion about Paris and far off places in their gardens. The most prominent interpersonal relationship in the play is a romance—the courtship and marriage of George and Emily—and Wilder suggests that love epitomizes human creativity and achievement in the face of the inevitable advance of time. George did not want to continue to a higher education. He wanted to stay with Emily. George felt that it was more important to be with the person you love...
Cited: Steel Magnolias. Dir. Herbert Ross. TriStar Pictures. 1989. DVD.
Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. New York: Harpers and Row, 1938. Print.
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