Our Town Characters
by Thornton Wilder

Start Your Free Trial

Download Our Town Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The stage manager

The stage manager, who acts as a chorus in explaining and commenting on the action and the characters as the play unfolds.

Emily Webb

Emily Webb, a sweet young woman who grows up in Grover’s Corners, a small American town. She works hard in school, tries to be cheerful, and falls in love with the town’s best baseball player. She dies in childbirth while still young and shyly takes her place among her relatives and friends in the little graveyard. She tries to relive her twelfth birthday, only to discover that to relive is no joy and that the dead can only pity the living who know not what joy they have in life.

George Gibbs

George Gibbs, a typical young American boy who loves baseball. He gives up going to college to marry Emily, whom he dearly loves. When his wife dies, he is filled with grief and goes to sob at her grave, not realizing that she pities him for not valuing the life he still enjoys.

Dr. Gibbs

Dr. Gibbs, the local physician and George’s father. He is shocked to find that his son wants to marry and become a farmer but finally realizes that the youth is really no longer a child, any more than the doctor was when he married. Dr. Gibbs is a hardworking man whose hobby is the American Civil War; his idea of a vacation is an excursion to some battlefield of that conflict.

Mrs. Gibbs

Mrs. Gibbs, George’s mother, a hardworking woman who loves her family, even though she does not always understand them. She has found joy in her marriage and hopes her son will find joy in his.

Rebecca Gibbs

Rebecca Gibbs, George’s sister.

Wally Webb

Wally Webb, Emily’s brother.

Mr. Webb

Mr. Webb, Emily’s father, the editor and publisher of the local newspaper. He writes editorials every day, yet he cannot bring himself to advise his son-in-law on marriage, though he tries.

Mrs. Webb

Mrs. Webb, Emily’s mother, a good-hearted woman. On Emily’s wedding day, she finds herself unable to give her daughter advice on marriage, though she had meant to do so.

Simon Stimson

Simon Stimson, the local choir director. He has become an alcoholic because he cannot find happiness in the small town. Even in death, after committing suicide, he believes life is ignorance and folly.

Joe Crowell

Joe Crowell, a newspaper boy.

Howie Newsome

Howie Newsome, a milkman.


(Drama for Students)

Constable Warren
There seems to be little in the way of crime in Grover's Corners, so Constable Warren has to watch over the safety of the townspeople. He rescues a man who has fallen drunk into a snowbank and tries to make sure that the young boys, like Wally Webb, don't start smoking. He also ensures, when Simon Stimson is wandering around town at night, drunk, that he gets home safely.

Sam Craig
Like the Crowell brothers and Howie Newsome, Sam Craig and Joe Stoddard bring news, but instead of bringing news of life, they bring news of death. Through them the audience learns of recent deaths and how they have affected the town.

Joe Crowell
Joe Crowell and his brother Si, are the town's newspaper boys. They are up early making their rounds before the town wakens. As the play progresses, the Stage Manager reveals that Joe was bright, but died in France during World War I.

Si Crowell
Si Crowell and his brother Joe are the town's newspaper boys. Neither one has a positive opinion of marriage; Si and his Grover's Corners teammates lose "the best baseball pitcher Grover's Corners ever had" when George Gibbs decides to marry Emily Webb and settle down to farming.

Dr. Frank Gibbs
Frank Gibbs is a loving father and a kind husband. He knows just about everything about everybody in town, and he is perfectly content to live his life in Grover's Corners. Although there are differences that distinguish him from the character of Charles Webb, the two characters share similar roles and functions in the play.

George Gibbs
George Gibbs is the All-American boy, or, more appropriately, what some people think of as the typical boy—nice and polite, but not very good at...

(The entire section is 1,735 words.)