Our Town Questions and Answers
by Thornton Wilder

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How does the quote in Our Town, "You've got to love life to have life, and you've got to have life to love life," emphasize Wilder's theme?

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Mervin Ridley eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Act 3, Emily dies in childbirth and joins the dead at the cemetery. There, she discovers what the others who have passed before her already know: you can't go back into your old life again and expect it to be the same. She also discovers that the living are "shut up in little boxes," that is, they have a narrow perspective compared to the omniscient view held by the dead characters.

"You've got to love life to have life" is a quote that encapsulates this lesson learned by Emily and others -- appreciate life while you have it; otherwise you die with regrets.

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