Our Town Questions and Answers
by Thornton Wilder

Start Your Free Trial

Do you agree with the message in Thornton Wilder's play Our Town that most people don't appreciate the beauty and wonder of life? Why or why not?

Expert Answers info

linda-allen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write2,120 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

I'd be happy to give you my opinion on this question, but I don't think it would help you. Your teacher wants to know your opinion. Do you think people just take life for granted, or do you believe people really notice all that is good and beautiful in life? Try to put yourself in that character's place and think about how you would feel in that situation. I'm sure your teacher will be satisfied with your opinion regardless of what you think, so long as you do express your own feelings.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2005

write3,513 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

I think to a large extent this message is accurate.  It is similar to Whitman's poem, "The World is Too Much With Us."  We are busy, overwhelmed with work and school and family, and we tend to become to familiar with the flowers, the sky, a simple blade of grass.  We tend not to see these wonders of nature after a while since our minds are on the bills, the kids, the sports, and getting dinner on the table.

Wilder gives lots of examples of this in the play where the dead are speaking to one another and even with some of the instances of the speech of the living.  The subject of daily life becomes to some a ritual and one that is not all that interesting...filled with hum-drum routine.  Even Mrs. Soames comments from the grave,  "My, wasn't life awful--and wonderful." 

Emily's comments to the Stage Manager also reiterate this message. Speaking about her twelfth birthday party, she says, "We don't even have time to look at one another." After one last look at Grover's Corners and being alive, Emily tells the Stage Manager she is ready to go back to the graveyard. She asks, "Doesn't anyone ever realize life while they live it? Every, every minute?"


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

helloimhere | Student

this was @linda-allen