Making Our Town Ours Essay

1063 words - 5 pages

The play Our Town follows the everyday lives of seemingly common characters who evolve individually, as well as demonstrate important concepts, during each of the three acts. By utilizing many literary aspects in Our Town including setting, symbolism, and plot, Thornton Wilder creates an allegory for the universal experience that appeals to human nature as a whole.
In Our Town, much of the setting is created by verbal narration, as opposed to being physically present, constructing an added level of connection between the audience and play. The narrator begins the first act by avidly describing the surroundings of the town Grover’s Corners with many gestures and descriptive words. In this ...view middle of the document...

Many characters constantly have the newspaper around, but it is never used as a main prop or object during any of the three acts. Displaying the newspaper in an unimportant way demonstrates how Wilder feels about humans. He shows with multiple symbols how blind humans are to the beauty of everyday events and this point is symbolized by the Sentinel. The passive attitude towards the newspaper in Grover’s Corners serves to represent how common events are constantly overlooked, even though they are later looked back on in a nostalgic way. The stage manager reinforces this point numerous times. Wilder shows that even though the day-to-day life may not appear extraordinary, it is viewed as an unappreciated relic in the future, just as the stage manager looks back and notices "Babylon once had two million people in it, and all we know about 'em is the names of the kings” (32). Sung in each of the three acts, “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds” is a church hymn which symbolizes many things. In the title of the hymn, emphasis is placed on the tie that connects two things, and how pristine this tie is. By choosing this hymn to be sung in the play, Wilder again reiterates his motif of the importance of human relationships. By consistently having the characters sing this hymn, he shows how significant relationships, or “ties” are to the universal human experience. The song signifies love, family, and emotions, which are key things Wilder includes in Our Town. These two crucial symbols convey important concepts about the universal human experience, but in the play, the plot lines of the characters reflect these ideas as well.
To create a new level of relation between the audience and the characters on stage, simple and common events are employed in the play. By writing about the typical human experience, Wilder shows his beliefs while allowing the audience to incorporate their own. In a similar fashion to the usage of minimal scenery, Wilder employs common human events so the audience can incorporate their own experiences within the framework of his creating. Emotional motifs frequently occur in Our Town, as...

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