Homework Help

What sounds and sights indicate the start of a new day in the play Our Town?

user profile pic

studentxx | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 28, 2010 at 4:54 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What sounds and sights indicate the start of a new day in the play Our Town?

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:10 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

Thornton Wilder's Our Town uses an abundance of weather and birth imagery to reveal the themes of ritual, eternity, and cycle of life:

In Act I, examples are:

  • "The time is just before dawn."
  • "The sky is beginning to show streaks of light..."
  • "The morning star gets wonderful bright..."
  • "Mrs. Webb's garden..."
  • "...a lot of sunflowers..."
  • "Polish mother's just had twins..."
  • "...there've been lights on for some time, what with milkin's and so on...
  • Joe Crowell delivering the Sentinel (morning paper)
  • Bessie's cow bell

These elements will be repeated in Act III to show the cycle of life and give continuity to the play.  Wilder begins with life (the twins) and ends with death (Emily's), but in the end, life goes on, and the people of Grover's Corners continue the same morning routines.

user profile pic

copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:14 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 2 like

At the very beginning of Act II or Our Town, it is very early on the morning of July 7, 1904, the day George and Emily are married. To indicate the early morning, we see the lights slowly being raised as though the sun was rising. We hear the rooster crow. We hear and see Mrs. Webb preparing breakfast for her family in the kitchen of their home as the family comes downstairs for the start of a busy day. All of these elements and the innovative staging that creates them help to contribute to one of the primary reasons Our Town is such an important play.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes