Our Town Symbolism

Topics: Our Town, Life, Death Pages: 3 (891 words) Published: October 26, 2008
Our Town

In the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder, Wilder uses the experience of young girl to symbolize his themes throughout his play. These themes revolve around the essence of Human Companionship, the representation of life and death through day and night, and the value of life and how it is a special gift. Wilder’s character Emily, who’s experience he uses, is a typical American girl in the early 1900’s who is just living out her life in the typical American Town of Grover’s Corners in New Hampshire. We see through her experiences the way of life and how it ties in with Wilder’s themes of his play.

Throughout the play we see three acts that depict days of the town of Grover’s Corners in different years. In the first act Emily is still in school, she lives out her day like a regular American girl by going to school, coming home, eating dinner with her family, talking with boys, etc. She ends her day looking at the stars before she sleeps. In the second act she has grown into a young woman and is now getting married to the boy next door, she seems to be a typical bride by getting cold feet before the wedding and have emotional thoughts, through the end of the second act she ends up married and running off with her husband to who knows where. Finally in the third act, Emily is being put to rest; she has passed away during childbirth. We see Emily depicted as a spirit hoping to relive her life, but in the end she learns to acknowledge that she is dead and now must wait for her eternal life to begin. Wilder uses Emily lifespan to express his theme of life and death represented like the time of day. He starts off the play in Emily’s young years which begins in the morning and in the end of the play, which is act three, sets off in her funeral where the play ends at night. The way Wilder explains in his play is that everything has an end like life and death, Wilder parallels it with day and night to show his meaning of beginnings and endings.

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