Thornton Wilder Research Paper

As Wilder addresses future generations with his character’s words, “This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying” (32).Thereby, he connects the past, the present, and the future into a single indivisible stream of life, when everything seems to be repeated again and again, though each time in its own way.

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Furthermore, along with the past, the future is present in the town as well.

It is no coincidence that the play begins with the birth of twins in one of the families and ends likewise.

It is shown particularly clear, when in the third act, Emily Webb asks Stage Manager to allow her to live a day in her life over again.

This time, not only does Emily live this day, but she also witnesses her life as the audience, empathizes, and criticizes it (Wilder 91-100).

The events in the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder take place in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, on three dates – the 7th of May 1901, three years later in July 1904, and in summer 1913.

The characters are the ordinary Americans and the two families of Gibbses and Webbs.Whatever happens, Stage Manager does not separate himself from the community of actors and always calls the town “our town”.Nevertheless, above all concreteness, there exists the absolute perspective of time, expressed in the mixture of time layers throughout the play.“I’m always uncomfortable when they’re around”, Simon Stimson says to Mrs.Gibbs about the living people (84), as if in confirmation of Stage Manager, who had previously said the following about the dead: “Some of the things they’re going to say maybe’ll hurt your feelings – but that’s the way it is…all those terribly important things kind of grow pale around here” (82).Everything has been firmly rooted both historically and geographically.These images are full of sincere sympathy and love.He seeks to create a panoramic image of time, in which the past, the present, and the future exist simultaneously, to show how illusive one’s notions about segmenting time are.In the play, much attention is paid to the specific features of the town, its location, historical time, and the details of its daily life.One gets a sense of conditionality when highlighting any particular moment as something self-sufficient.The conditionality and relativity of the theatrical present is emphasized by the fact that the present acts as the past for both the audience and the characters, many of whom had died before they appeared on stage.


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