Our Town, Thornton Wilder
Our Town Thornton Wilder
The following entry presents criticism of Wilder's play Our Town (1938).
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1938, Our Town may be the most popular American play ever written. It explores traditional American values of religion, community, family, and the simple pleasures of life, while employing innovative elements such as minimalist stage sets, a Stage Manager who narrates and controls the action, and a character who speaks from the grave. Although the setting, characters, and events are commonplace, Our Town addresses such universal themes as mortality, the human condition, and the value of everyday life. In his preface to Three Plays Wilder wrote, “Our Town is not offered as a picture of life in a New Hampshire village; or as a speculation about the conditions of life after death. … It is an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily life.” Our Town may be the most frequently staged American play of the twentieth century. It is continually in production at regional, community, and college theaters, was filmed with most of the original Broadway cast, and has been televised more than once.
Plot and Major Characters
In Our Town, the central role belongs to the omniscient Stage Manager, who narrates the action, jokes with the audience, and, through his philosophizing, explicitly connects the people of the small New Hampshire town of Grover's Corners with the universe as a whole. The play features minimal props and scenery, while the characters function as symbols rather than fully developed individuals. In the first two acts, entitled “Daily Life” and “Love and Marriage,” the Stage Manager traces the quotidian existence of the Webbs and the Gibbses, two families who are united by the marriage of their children, George and Emily. “Daily Life” follows the families from morning to evening on an ordinary day in May 1901. The mothers cook breakfast and supper; the fathers go to work and come home; the children go to school and return. Family members interact; the milk and newspaper are delivered; the weather is discussed; the town drunk is pitied. “Love and Marriage” takes place on George and Emily's wedding day three years later, with a flashback to their encounter at the drugstore soda fountain when they first acknowledged their feelings for each other. The third act, “Death,” takes place nine years later. Emily Webb, who has died giving birth, arrives at the town cemetery, where other deceased members the community sit quietly in chairs. Unlike the others, who have grown detached from earthly concerns, Emily longs to return to Grover's Corners, and so obtains the permission of the Stage Manager to relive her twelfth birthday. However, the experience becomes too painful when, knowing the future, she attempts to savor each trivial moment with her family but cannot because between “it goes so fast. We barely have time to look at one another.” Returning to the dead, Emily bids farewell to “new-ironed dresses and hot baths” before expressing the central moral of the play that human beings must “realize life while they live it.”
Our Town is often placed in the tradition of American folk literature that focuses on small-town life. Grover's Corners is a typical American small town and its inhabitants are average, ordinary people who lead prosaic lives. The spare sets reinforce the unexceptional quality of the setting, plot, and characters. This minimalism renders the characters allegorical rather than individualized and the setting commonplace rather than specific. In this way the ordinary and mundane are invested with a timeless quality, and the events of the plot are transformed into universal experiences. The primary theme of Our Town is humanity's failure to appreciate every precious moment of life. This is stated most clearly by Emily as she returns to her grave, asking the Stage Manager, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?” Emily's early death and nostalgia for her childhood further express themes of the precarious nature of life and the inevitability of death. Our Town thus addresses age-old questions of the human condition and the meaning of life. The play is ultimately life-affirming in its urging the audience to appreciate ordinary, everyday life in the face of mortality.
Initially, Our Town was not well received. Wilder then altered the staging of the play to a bare-bones set and minimal props in order to emphasize the allegorical nature of the play, and it soon garnered favorable reviews and audience popularity. It ultimately ran for 336 performances in its debut production. Wilder was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for drama for Our Town, thus earning him recognition as a major American playwright. Champions of Our Town celebrate the play's focus on universal themes through allegorical theatrical techniques depicting archetypical characters and events. Detractors of the play criticize its bland sentimentality, underdeveloped characters, and failure to challenge the audience's received values. These two different perspectives on Our Town are partly a function of the degree to which a particular production or critic emphasizes its darker concerns with mortality and the fleeting nature of life, or its lighter, life-affirming elements. Recent critics have discussed the question of whether or not Our Town addresses themes still relevant to modern life.
The Trumpet Shall Sound 1926
The Angel That Troubled the Waters, and Other Plays 1928
The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden 1931
The Long Christmas Dinner, and Other Plays in One Act 1931
The Merchant of Yonkers: A Farce in Four Acts 1938; revised as The Matchmaker, 1955
Our Town 1938
The Skin of Our Teeth 1942
A Life in the Sun [also produced as The Alcestiad] 1955
The Wreck of the 5:25 1957
Plays for Bleecker Street 1962
Pullman Car Hiawatha 1964
The Cabala (novel) 1926
The Bridge of San Luis Rey (novel) 1927
The Woman of Andros (novel) 1930
We Live Again [with Maxwell Anderson, Leonard Praskins, and Preston Sturges] (screenplay) 1934
Heaven's My Destination (novel) 1935
Our Town [with Frank Craven and Harry Chandlee] (screenplay) 1940
Shadow of a Doubt [with Sally Benson and Alma Reville] (screenplay) 1943
The Ides of March (novel) 1948
The Eighth Day (novel) 1967
Theophilus North (novel) 1973...
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Criticism: Author Commentary
SOURCE: Wilder, Thornton, and John Franchey. “Mr. Wilder Has an Idea.” In Conversations with Thornton Wilder, edited by Jackson R. Bryer, pp. 31-3. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1992.
[In the following interview, originally published in the New York Times on 13 August 1939, Wilder discusses the initial reception of Our Town by rural audiences, as well as his own experiences performing the role of the Stage Manager.]
Perhaps what the dons label in their seminars “pleasurable recognition” is only a phrase, after all, or at best a mere vanity. Playwright Thornton Wilder, who used to find the term good enough currency in his own classrooms at Chicago University, has a word or two on that very subject.
With a three-week invasion of the Codfish circuit wherein he found himself a playwright-player in Our Town immediately behind him, Professor Wilder admits that none of the eminent success of the tour is due to the denizens of the replicas of Grover's Corners in which the piece was exhibited.
“What I noticed,” Mr. Wilder hastens to explain, “was that the Summer visitors at Cohasset, Dennis and Stockbridge seemed as interested in Our Town as the Broadway audiences. But the village residents trooped away in profound disappointment veiled by a traditional politeness.
“It's not difficult to understand,”...
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Criticism: Our Town (1938)
SOURCE: Erstein, Hap. “Remarkable Our Town Dispenses Its Wisdom.” Washington Times (23 November 1990): E1.
[In the following review of the Washington, D.C., Arena Stage production of Our Town, Erstein praises Wilder's play for its wisdom and humor, and applauds this production for bringing out the darker, bolder elements of the play.]
There are plays so brimming with wisdom, humor and Americana that community-theater groups and high-school drama societies embrace them eagerly. As a result, most professional companies tend to shy away from these oft-seen treasures.
Thornton Wilder's Our Town fits this bill. And yet, fortunately, Arena Stage keeps returning to it. In this, the stage's 40th season, the current production is the company's fourth offering of the play. Arena may have a weakness for this homespun look at life and death in Grover's Corners, N.H. (pop. 2,642), but the presentation that opened Wednesday evening is a tower of strengths.
Chances are you have seen—or been in—one of those well-meaning amateur productions that encrust Our Town with a patina of sentimental goo. If so, that is all the more reason to see the small-town tale played for all its darker, bolder values as director Douglas C. Wager renders them.
Yes, the first act still seems to spring full-blown from a Norman Rockwell cover for the...
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SOURCE: McCulloh, T. H. “A Striking Production of Our Town.” Los Angeles Times (2 April 1993): F21.
[In the following review of the A Noise Within production of Our Town at the Glendale Masonic Temple in Glendale, California, McCulloh praises it as an enduring American play that expresses timeless and universal ideas. McCulloh further applauds the casting of a woman as the Stage Manager, a role traditionally played by a man.]
Thornton Wilder's Our Town is one of the more enduring American plays, for the very good reason that it doesn't mirror real life but becomes a symbol for reality. The world Wilder creates never existed, in spite of anyone who insists that there ever was such a thing as “the good old days.”
It would be hard to find a better staging of Wilder's classic than this one conceived by A Noise Within at Glendale Masonic Temple. The poetic richness and human wisdom of Wilder's writing reverberate within the simplicity of his chosen form, which introduced American theater to the wonders of what can happen when the “fourth wall” is broken down. The play doesn't date, even though it describes events in a small New Hampshire town just after the turn of the century. Like Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, the ideas in the play are timeless and universal.
“Our Town” is Grover's Corners, seeing its first few automobiles,...
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SOURCE: Johnson, Malcolm. “Acting Lapses Undercut This Our Town Revival.” Hartford Courant (23 July 1994): D8.
[In the following review of the Williamstown Theater Festival production of Our Town at Williams College, Johnson describes Wilder's play as an essential American play that has endured the test of time. He criticizes this production, however, for undermining the strengths of the play through poor acting.]
Even in a less than perfect revival, Thornton Wilder's Our Town remains the essential American play, a sentimental yet thoughtful and philosophical look back to the innocent opposite end of our century.
Peter Hunt, the gifted artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, would seem an ideal choice to stage Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1938 play. Since taking command of the prestigious summer operation on the campus of Williams College, Hunt has successfully brought half-forgotten American theater pieces back to life: John Brown's Body, Inherit the Wind and last season's brilliant Counsellor-at-Law. His background as a lighting designer singularly qualifies him to direct Our Town, which calls for a bare stage to emphasize that this, after all, is a play.
Yet, from the start of Hunt's production, something feels wrong. Although there is no traditional box set, the cloud-lit upstage cyclorama does not...
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SOURCE: McCulloh, T. H. “Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary in Our Town.” Los Angeles Times (9 December 1995): F4.
[In the following review of the Fullerton College production of Our Town at the Bronwyn Dodson Theatre, McCulloh praises Wilder's script as insightful, powerful, affectionate, and poignant.]
Thornton Wilder's Our Town is arguably the greatest American play of the 20th century.
There are reasons for that. Wilder worked in an atmosphere of heightened creativity in the period between the two World Wars. Not only did he write a play about the lives of ordinary people in non-urban, pre-television America, but he did it with insight and immense affection. Wilder also told his tale of growing up and growing old in the small rural town of Grover's Corners, N.H., in what was considered a startling manner when the play opened on Broadway in 1938. It took place on a bare stage, without props or scenery—the point being that it was the text that mattered, not the fancy dressing.
In his staging at Fullerton College's Bronwyn Dodson Theatre, director Robert Jensen has chosen to include some bits of scenery, such as sections of picket fence and a couple of tables for the families to sit at. It doesn't damage the power and poignancy of the script, but it seems a bit odd, since he hasn't included the horse that milkman Howie Newsome (Charles L....
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SOURCE: Ballet, Arthur H. “Our Town as a Classical Tragedy.” In Readings on Our Town, edited by Thomas Siebold, pp. 74-82. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1956, Ballet asserts that Our Town is a “modern American Tragedy,” following a tradition that stretches back to Sophocles' Oedipus Rex.]
In the short history of American literary criticism, there has been a continuous search for “the great American drama.” It is the purpose of this essay to continue this search by exploring the qualifications for this signal honor of Thornton Wilder's Our Town. It is hoped that, since Our Town continues to be widely read and performed in educational and professional theatre, new light may yet be shed. … Either educators, directors, and the general theatre-going public have been deceived by the play, or they must come to terms intelligently with it if they are to continue presenting it in the theatre or the classroom.
As a beginning, it might be observed that literary and moral implications assumed, all important drama in the history of the theatre has had popular appeal. Great theatre is neither closet drama, which is to be read effetely by connoisseurs, nor is it avant-garde drama, which is to be relished by bored or malcontent sophisticates. That drama which through the years has gained in literary...
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SOURCE: Fergusson, Francis. “Three Allegorists: Brecht, Wilder, and Eliot.” In Critical Essays on Thornton Wilder, edited by Martin Blank, pp. 61-71. New York: G. K. Hall & Co., 1996.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1956, Fergusson compares the use of allegory by Thornton Wilder, Bertolt Brecht, and T. S. Eliot, focusing especially on Wilder's Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth.]
A number of contemporary playwrights, of whom Brecht, Wilder and Eliot are among the most accomplished, are now writing some form of allegory. They reject the tradition of modern realism, perhaps because little remains to be done with direct reflections of contemporary life: the pathos of the lost individual or the decaying suburb has been done to death since Chekhov. They do not seek some form of theater-poetry based on folk forms or myths or rituals, or on symbolism on the analogy of the symboliste poets, as so many theater artists did in the twenties. They seek to use the theater in the service of their consciously worked-out moral or philosophical ideas. They do not, however, write thesis plays à la Brieux, in which some scheme of social reform is openly debated and “proved” on the stage; nor do they write Shavian intellectual farces, in which the point is in the game of ideas itself. Their aim is not discussion in any sense, but teaching: they use the...
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SOURCE: Stephens, George D. “Our Town as a Failed Tragedy.” In Readings on Our Town, edited by Thomas Siebold, pp. 83-92. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
[In the following essay, originally published in Modern Drama in February 1959, Stephens argues against characterizing Our Town as a tragedy and concludes that the play's popularity is due to its folksiness and appeal to nostalgia.]
In our longing for an unattainable perfection, perhaps it is to be expected that the attempt to find “the great American novel” and “the great American drama” should continue. But ours is a nation of great size and remarkable variety; it poses a complex problem for the writer who attempts to synthesize and interpret its life for us. Though this is doubtful, considering the nature of art and our subjective reaction to it, in time a work may appear which will by overwhelming weight of opinion be awarded the title of “the greatest.” Meanwhile, this search sometimes leads to extravagant claims.
Such a claim, which seems unwarranted in view of the limits of the play set by the author, has been made for Thornton Wilder's Our Town. Professor Arthur H. Ballet, writing in The English Journal of May, 1956, finds in Our Town “the great American drama.” This judgment seems to have been encouraged by the continuing popularity of the play as evidenced in...
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SOURCE: Papajewski, Helmut. “Our Town.” In Thornton Wilder, translated by John Conway, pp. 91-108. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1968.
[In the following excerpt from a work originally published in German in 1961, Papajewski examines Our Town in the context of an American literary tradition focused on small-town life. Papajewski explores Wilder's adaptation of this literary archetype to theatrical production in Our Town.]
Wilder's first major play appeared in 1938. He had occupied himself with the drama before that, but the results at most were tentative: one-act pieces that ran to just a few pages in length, and adaptations of foreign plays such as André Obey's Le Viol de Lucrèce.
Wilder's earlier attempts at drama had prompted in him reflections on literary theory. The plays of Obey offered many stimuli. The theatrical group to which Obey belonged, the Compagnie de Quinze, staged experimental plays in the years 1930 to 1936, and some of its members were also associated with the Théâtre du Vieux Colombier, which Wilder often visited. Obey was what Wilder very much aspired to be, an actor-manager. He had experimented with a variety of dramatic styles, and had employed themes not remote from Wilder's own. His Lucrèce was written in the style of Greek tragedy, with copious use of chorus and commentators, and his play Noé treated the theme of the...
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SOURCE: Scott, Winfield Townley. “The Charm of Our Town.” In Readings on Our Town, edited by Thomas Siebold, pp. 148-54. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1961, Scott asserts that the tone of understatement in Our Town contributes to its universal appeal.]
As Our Town literally begins, Wilder sets in motion the little wheel of daily doings. This is the only wheel there is in most plays and fictions; it turns upon the events presented. So here, it spins with normal activities, the comings and goings and the conversations, weaving a special era and place and a particular people (though by the way I think Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb should not be stringing beans in early May in New Hampshire); and on through a gentle afternoon to the great moonlighted night of that May 7 and the ladies strolling chattering home from choir practice.
This is the realism of the play and, superficially at least, it is very good. That is, these folk may not be deeply imagined but they are typically imagined; it is as types of Americana that they and their Grover's Corners interest us and touch us. They and the town are unremarkable: we are told so and we see that it is so; and this of course is the point. The youngsters with their twenty-five cents spending money and love of strawberry phosphates and their school-day affairs, the fathers...
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SOURCE: Goldstein, Malcolm. “Universality in Our Town.” In Readings on Our Town, edited by Thomas Siebold, pp. 101-08. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1965, Goldstein asserts that the universal appeal of Our Town may be attributed in part to the common, everyday settings, characters, and events depicted in the play.]
Wilder was no stranger to the New York theater before the opening of Our Town. His prior record had included three productions: the off-Broadway presentation of his The Trumpet Shall Sound in 1926, the unsuccessful Broadway showing of André Obey's Lucrece in 1932 in his translation, and Jed Harris's highly praised staging of his translation of Ibsen's A Doll's House in 1937, also on Broadway. The list is not extensive, but together the three experiences offered a hint of what was to come with a major Broadway production of a piece entirely his own.
For the second time he worked with Harris, a thoroughly trained man of the theater whose abundant charm often gave way before an iron determination to secure the production values which would insure a run. As was typical of him, he drove and quarreled with Wilder during rehearsals, but, after a difficult tryout period, proved the soundness of his judgment with a successful production. A few preliminary performances given in...
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SOURCE: Haberman, Donald. “Our Town as Allegory.” In Readings on Our Town, edited by Thomas Siebold, pp. 60-65. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1967, Haberman analyzes Our Town as an allegorical work in the manner of the medieval morality play Everyman.]
Characterization and narration, in Thornton Wilder's theater, are inextricably bound. The two are related not merely as a matter of being consistent to a single style; their unity and Wilder's use of it determine the style, for his practice is to give over psychological characterization in favor of an arbitrary and artificial arrangement of events.
In “Some Thoughts on Playwriting” Wilder defined his goals in characterization.
Imaginative narration—the invention of souls and destinies—is to a philosopher an all but indefensible activity.
Its justification lies in the fact that the communication of ideas from one mind to another inevitably reaches the point where exposition passes into illustration, into parable, metaphor, allegory, and myth.
Characters, therefore, are created to convey ideas, and they will naturally make their appearance as symbols.
Gertrude Stein in Narration, for which Wilder wrote the...
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SOURCE: Austell, Jan. “Characters in Our Town.” In Readings on Our Town, edited by Thomas Siebold, pp. 94-100. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1968, Austell examines Wilder's creation of ordinary, typical characters in Our Town as a means of expressing universal experiences and values and exploring fundamental truths about human life.]
Before we discuss the individual characters in Our Town to determine what each actor should try to accomplish in his role, let us consider the extent to which Wilder has developed them. Each one, with the possible exception of Mrs. Gibbs, has essentially the same personality, demeanor, or nature at the end of the play that he had at the beginning. None of them changes from good to bad, from gentle and kind to hard-bitten and selfish, or even from shy to brash. To be sure, some of the characters learn certain things during the play—George learns that some people think he is stuck-up and his mother, Mrs. Gibbs, acquires in death the knowledge that most people waste the precious minutes of their lives. Emily learns the same lesson from her. Also, during the play, the stage manager seems to become increasingly thoughtful and knowing, but the characters themselves do not change in their essential behavior. Throughout the play they keep the same personality traits that they display on making...
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SOURCE: D'Ambrosio, Michael A. “Is Our Town Really Our Town?” English Record 22, no. 1 (October 1971): 20-22.
[In the following essay, D'Ambrosio explores the timeless, universal theme of “man's failure to appreciate life” as expressed in Our Town. D'Ambrosio concludes that this “prophetic” play continues to be relevant to today's youth and is important for teachers to introduce to their students.]
Thornton Wilder's search for a value “for the smallest events of our daily life” was crystallized with the writing of Our Town, considered a paean to everyday living and its potentialities. One doesn't read or view or teach the play for its plot, nor for its scenery, characterization or linguistic excellence; and if one were to accept the Stage Manager's geographical plottings in the first scene of the play as fact, one would not find himself in Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, but somewhere off the coast of Massachusetts. However, instead of being a technical flaw, the error serves to reinforce Wilder's thesis. Thus, in spite of what might have been considered shortcomings, the play has not only survived, but has now achieved designation as a classic. Nevertheless, the question imposed in the title remains—can the play still be meaningful enough to students today to merit our teaching it?
Students will immediately object to Our Town on the...
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SOURCE: Hagopian, John V., and Arvin R. Wells. “Deficiencies in Our Town.” In Readings on Our Town, edited by Thomas Siebold, pp. 155-63. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1971, the authors interpret Our Town as a sentimental comedy, loosely constructed, superficially philosophical, and deficient in its characterization.]
Our Town is not in any traditional sense a drama at all; it has neither plot nor conflict, neither complication nor climax. By its abandonment of setting and by its use of the Stage Manager as intermediary between the play and its audience, it gives the appearance of belonging to the experimental theater movement; yet, within the experimental theater it is a completely anomalous production. For all its show of technical virtuosity, it aims at a familiar dramatic effect, that of sentimental comedy which is characterized by its attempt to play upon a muted but varied scale of emotions, mingling pathos, nostalgia and humor in a pleasantly innocuous cordial. The popularity of Wilder's play is not difficult to understand when one considers that sentimental comedy continues to dominate the Broadway theater in America and that, from its inception in the 18th century, sentimental comedy has always been popular with a large middle-class audience. Its popularity derives from the fact that it has, at bottom, the effect of...
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SOURCE: Haberman, Donald. “‘Preparing the Way for Them’: Wilder and the Next Generations.” In Critical Essays on Thornton Wilder, edited by Martin Blank, pp. 129-37. New York: G. K. Hall & Co., 1996.
[In the following essay, Haberman examines the legacy of Our Town to modern theater.]
I should be very happy if, in the future, some author should feel … indebted to any work of mine.1
Thornton Wilder probably speaks for every writer when he hopes some work of his might prove useful to a writer who comes after. One of the signs of vitality of writing is its appearance in some new shape or with a new meaning in subsequent writing. Certainly, though, every writer wishes first for his work a continuing life of its own, and in the case of plays the life is obviously in performance.
But if Wilder speaks the wish of all writers, he continues with a modesty and an expression of disappointment with himself, whatever truth might be concealed therein, that are especially characteristic of him:
I hope I have played a part in preparing the way for them [future writers]. … I am not an innovator, but a rediscoverer of forgotten goods.
Wilder's view of his role in the continuing history of the stage was as a kind...
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SOURCE: Cardullo, Bert. “Whose Town Is It, Anyway? A Reconsideration of Thornton Wilder's Our Town.” CLA Journal 42, no. 1 (September 1998): 71-86.
[In the following essay, Cardullo asserts that, despite its outward display of experimental theatrical technique, Our Town fails to question or challenge traditional values regarding family, nation, and religion.]
It has long seemed to me that Thornton Wilder's Our Town (1938) has two flaws at its center that have never been adequately addressed by critics, if addressed at all. The first has to do with the play's implicit argument that the cause of man's unhappiness is not his failure to achieve or sustain greatness or wealth, but rather his failure “to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily life,” his inability to delight in the beauty of ordinary, “undramatic” existence. The quoted words are Wilder's own, from the preface to his Three Plays,1 and over the years several critics have taken his word as gospel in their own discussions of Our Town.2 In the play itself Emily Webb acts as the spokesman for the playwright's view when, after her death, she returns to life to simultaneously observe and relive her twelfth birthday. Here is what she concludes:
[Life] goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't...
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Burbank, Rex. “Our Town.” In Thornton Wilder, pp. 88-97. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1961.
Discusses Our Town in terms of Wilder's view of the human condition.
Pace, David. “For New Hampshire Players, Our Town Is Family Album.” Los Angeles Times (6 August 1993): F22.
Review of the Peterborough Players staging of Our Town that emphasizes the elements of the production that focus on family and small-town community. Pace further praises this production for bringing out the darker elements of Wilder's play while preserving its intrinsic optimism.
Porter, Thomas E. “A Green Corner of the Universe: Our Town.” In Myth and Modern American Drama, pp. 200-24. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1969.
Examines Our Town as a mythic presentation of archetypal American life.
Simon, Linda. “Chapter 12.” In Thornton Wilder: His World, pp. 135-46. New York: Doubleday, 1979.
Examines the significance of the staging of Our Town. to the way it is perceived by audiences. Simon further recounts the circumstances and reception of the first performance of Our Town.
Additional coverage of Wilder's life and career is contained in the following sources published by Thomson Gale:...
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