The Skin of Our Teeth

by Thornton Wilder
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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 246

Compare and contrast The Skin of Our Teeth with James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake (1939). Wilder acknowledged that Joyce's novel was an important influence and source for his play. What similarities in content and structure do you see between the two works? What significant thematic differences distinguish Wilder's world view from Joyce's?

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Research the political and cultural climate of post-World War II Germany. What issues and ideas confronting the German people during this time would account for their positive response to Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth?

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Latest answer posted February 19, 2015, 6:11 am (UTC)

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Look up psychologist Carl Jung's definition of "archetype." What archetypal images and figures appear in The Skin of Our Teeth? How does recognizing them as such influence viewer interpretation of the play?

Compare and contrast The Skin of Our Teeth with a traditionally naturalistic play such as Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House (1879) or Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night (1956). What staging techniques characterize each work? What theatrical conventions does Wilder's play break down?

Read a book or view a film that portrays a post-apocalyptic world, for example, a novel such as, Angela Carter's Heroes and Villains (1981) or Richard Matheson's short novel / am Legend (1954), or a movie-like The Road Warrior (1982) or The Day After (1983). Then compare your chosen work's setting and characters to those of The Skin of Our Teeth. To what extent does this work share Wilder's cyclic vision and message about humanity's fortitude, adaptability, and duality? Do the two works present similar or contrasting views of the human condition?

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