Our Town

In the play Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, a character by the name of Simon Stimson makes a very insightful statement about people and their lives. Simon is dead and buried, as well as several of the plays other characters, when a newly-dead young woman named Emily joins their ranks and begins to realize the triviality and ignorance of her existence, as well as that of every living person. The dead are discussing this insignificance and unawareness of the living when Simon comments with disgust on how much living persons waste their life, asserting, To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. In this statement, Simon is referring to the degree of which people take their lives for granted. People are often so busy and so consumed by relatively minor matters that they never stopped to realize how truly special everything is. They go about their days following strict schedules and routines, always rushing about to meet their many obligations, and never take the time to simply cherish even the small things. Most people wake-up in the morning, rush about to leave for school or their jobs, work or learn all day, only to come home and have yet more obligations to take care of, never once taking time out to stop and enjoy things for themselves. Simon is referring to the daily routines and events the consume peoples lives as a waste of time, for they do not realize how genuinely short their lives are. Simon is upset with people for never taking time to admire the beauty that surrounds their lives, never cherishing the time they have with others, and even being ignorant of lifes small pleasures, such as fresh clothes and hot baths. People live their lives working towards something they think will always be attainable, setting their eyes on the future, living for the future, rushing for the future, and ignoring the present. With Our Town, Thornton Wilder is attempting to show us these faults and trying to persuade us to live in and for the present and to cherish every day that we live and breathe.

With the people of Grovers Corners representing this daily ignorance and triviality, the lives of the people who surround me are no exception. Take, for instance, my father, who on most days awakes early to leave for his job, works all day and comes home only to drive my siblings and I around, run errands, go to his side jobs, or fix the house, help us with our homework, stay on top of both our social lives, our moral growth, and our educational careers. Some nights my father will sit down and watch some television for maybe an hour or two, while most he simply doing everything but something for himself. On rare occasion is my father allowed to stop and enjoy life, and savor the moment. Honestly, I would really like to know when the last time was that my father found time to simply admire his and my mothers garden without actually having to tend it. And yet another example is my mother, who does not even have to worry about her job most of the time, for she works once to twice a week, and yet I am sure she has never stopped to admire the earth and its beauty or cherished a time she has spent with her children, except if we are on vacation or at Christmas time. Throughout her days, my mother spends her time worrying about the aesthetics of our house, the worlds current events, her social life, as well as just about every other persons, and our familys day-to-day situations. Most of the time I come home from school, I get not a hello from my mother but an immediate question like, Why isnt your room clean? or a reminder that the lawn needs to be cut. My mother rushes about her days and never stops to admire anything or cherish the little time on earth that she may have with the people around her. It is this preoccupation with unimportant and trivial day-to-day matters that Thornton Wilder is highlighting and condemning in Our Town. He is attempting to display, with Simons comment, the apparent frivolity of people when dealing with the time they have each day. People are ignorant of the preciousness of their time, and tend to spend it on things that do not matter. People also tend to live in and for the future. Wilder is also condemning this and attempting to persuade us to live in and for the present, for we do no know when our precious time will expire.

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Our Town

Our Town Our Town, by Thornton Wilder is a play that takes place in a small fictional town of Grover’s Corner, New Hampshire; beginning in 1901 and ending in 1913. The play takes the audience through the cycles of life, with the purpose of getting a universal message stating that life shouldn’t be taken for granted. Emily Webb, one of the most important characters in the play, is Wilder’s character in which he uses to show the audience a universal message that anyone would understand and relate to. Emily is a character that is normal enough so that the audience could relate to her; and yet be different in little ways that makes people love and adore her. For example, Emily went through the most common events in a woman’s life: marriage, childbirth, and death in the play.

These cycles makes her common, thus relatable to the audience. Without going through common events in life, the character would seem distant and likeable to the audience. Similarly, when Emily said that she expects a man to be perfect, it makes her special. Wilder put in that scene because he believed that even though there is a basic image of an average person, to be truly average, the character must have a difference to separate the character from the crowd. If the character doesn’t have any differences, then the character would be faceless; impossible for the character to take a major role in the play.

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Emily is portrayed uniquely in her own way, and yet is still within the boundaries of everyone else. The character Emily plays a crucial scene in the play, the part where Emily went back to her twelfth birthday. At first, Emily wanted to go back and relive the happiest day of her life, but Mrs. Gibbs stopped her and told her to visit a normal day instead. Mrs. Gibbs knew what would happen to Emily if she had relived a joyful day in her life. If Emily had went back to a special occasion, she would’ve been overwhelmed by the all the beauty that she didn’t pay attention to.

Therefore, Emily went to relive her twelfth birthday, but wasn’t as happy as she thought she would have been. Emily couldn’t understand why her own mother wouldn’t even spare the time to look at her on her birthday. She then concluded that the living is ignorant and doesn’t appreciate the small things that are in their lives every day. The character Emily is perfect just the way she is. If Wilder changed Emily, the universal message might not be as effective as it is now.

Meaning that the audience wouldn’t like the idea given from a character that is unlike them.

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