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

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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.

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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.

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