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The play Our Town focuses on the day to day life of the American family referring to the intimacy in the personal lives of individuals. It starts with the life's daily routine and practices that are a necessity. Stage Manager, who happens to be Our Town narrator, goes into each distinct detail outlining the themes, plot and the use of symbols and motifs to put in more emphasis on the idea behind the play. The representation of the deepest aspects of life is further echoed through George Gibbs and Emily Webb as their wedding is being celebrated in Act 2. Our Town makes an attempt to analyse the life in the England New town in the twentieth century, and effects of change in the town's life through industrialization and immigration as show in the mention of 'Polish Town', in relation to the present life.
In wilder's conquest to explore the theme of Transience of human life from the day to day perspective, he analyses the stability of the effects of traditions and the steadfast reassurance of our natural environment (James 76). The lives of individuals are taking a transience course in Our Town. This is greatly influenced by how first time passes. It is noted that time seems to pass extremely first for the characters in the play without their realization.
Human beings are brought out in the light of being powerless in possessing the ability to control the advancement in time. It is more difficult to understand the nature of human beings in the quest of appreciating how precious transience of life is paramount. In act 1, mainly referred to as 'Daily Life' by the Stage Manager, gives more evidence of the importance and value of the daily routine activities in the life of the people. Wilder gives more important significance to simple acts, which are taken with less attentiveness by the characters as paramount time frame activities. These everyday activities include having breakfast and feeding the chicken. These bring in the effectiveness of the scene in Gibb's and Webb's home set up. Both families are entailed with the responsibility to prepare their children to go to school. Howie Newsome, the local milk man is seen to make appearance in the morning scene throughout the play. This is a direct attribution to everyone's daily life, then and at present. This echoes the aspect outlining continuity of life in the Grover's Corner and in relation to general experiences of human being.
The congregational seen in the church during a choir practise session, results into a discussion between Mrs Gibbs, Mrs Webb, Mrs Soames about Simon Stimson who happens to be the renown church organist, with a character of alcoholism. His perceived non conformity nature has made him the subject of gossips in the town. Emily and George come back from school in the evening. George is obligated to seat down and concentrate in the large work load in his schoolwork. On the other hand Emily is elevated as the best student, through her recent performance in her class. The two youths make an arrangement for Emily to provide assistance to George in his academic work.
This begins in the afternoon when the school breaks off. George Gibbs and Emily Webb's meet outside Emily's house gate. The first insight of a romantic affair between the two youths can be clearly seen. Subsequent conversations between Emily and her mother put more emphasis in this aspect of affection in her relationship with George. The singing of the choir at the orchestra pit, during the choir practise session, seems to allude to the conversation going on between George and Emily at the open windows. When George returns home, he sits at the window with his Sister Rebecca looking outside. Rebecca has a mental confusion about the Grover's Corner position in relation to the universe and its vastness. She shares her idea with George; out lining her believe that all these are contained in the powers of a supreme God.
When night falls Mrs Gibbs fall into a discussion with her husband. She tells her husband that the drinking behaviour of the organist is the worst to be ever witnessed in the town. The commonplaces and activities dwelled on in act 1 puts more emphasis on the rebirth, dawn and commencement of youthful love between Emily and George, and are presumed to end up into marriage. The major significance and clarity of the minor aspects in the inclusive scenes of Act one, are mainly depicted from the predictable and trivial activities that follow each other. Wilder says that, the majority of people tend to live through the first part of their lives without considering, the priceless value of their consequent encounters in their everyday actions. This could be greeting people they meet, pursuing an education, and having breakfast with other members of the family. This first scene demonstrates the connection among people through humanity. Daily life being the important subject that has been addressed, stereotypes the character of an average family in America.
Act two, is focused on George and Emily wedding. This happens after three years. In an attempt to see her fiancé at their home, he is denied the chance by Emily's parents saying that it is a taboo and bad lack to see the bride to be before the material wedding day. Mrs Webb then goes upstairs to ensure that Emily does not come down to meet George. George remains with his future father in-law Mr Webb. They hold a seemingly awkward discussion about marriage, and the qualities that make up a husband who will be virtuous. Mr Webb tells George of the advice that he was given by his father concerning marriage. Webb's father had told him to treat his wife as his own property, and never to allow himself to oblige or respect the needs of his wife. Webb says, he resolved to doing exactly the opposite of that advice and for sure he has lived happily ever since. In conclusion Mr Webb tells George not to follow the advice from anybody but formulate his own ways of living with his wife amicably.
The importance of companionship is another theme that has been emphasised by Wilder. He suggests that, love is meant to be the highest level of creativity for human beings to gain their desired achievements, in relation to the advancement in time factor. As a matter of fact, birth and death are inevitable in an individual's life. However the middle stage joining birth and death is of most importance. This is the desire for friendship, love and consequently, companionship. Human beings have been given the potential to control this aspect of a person's life. The inhabitants of the Grover's Corner take adequate time from their other activities, to ensure that they build connections with one another. This could be either through the ideal chat, shown by the milkman and the small conversations among the neighbours. The most out spoken relationship is that between George and Emily involving romance, followed by courtship that resulted into marriage. This is established as the second stage in the cycle of everyday life in the town. It is where people grow up and develops, then marries one another. This second act is dominated by love and resultant marriage, which is a phenomenon that is natural and move the human race forward.
The flow of events is interrupted by being taken back to the end of the junior year In Emily and George's education. Emily decides to take up against George's pride. This brings in a heated discussion on their future and the love they share with each other. From school Emily tells George that, the popular status that he is having in the school's society at the moment, is making him feel conceited and more stuck up. This is due to the fact that, George has been appointed the class president, and on the other hand, Emily has been chosen the class secretary and consequently the treasurer. In addition to George's position, he has also become a famous local star in the baseball arena. George is hurt by these remarks but appreciates for Emily's honesty. The two turn down the argument and catch up on ice-cream and sodas. Over these drinks, George decides to change his previous plan to attend an agriculture school and resolve to stay at Grover's corner with the love of his life, Emily.
The wedding day is filled controversies and stress. This is shown by George going to see his fiancé at their home on the wedding day. George being engrossed in nervousness discloses to his mother that, he is not ready to go into marriage. Emily on the other hand, confronts a similar turmoil. She opens up to her father about her anxiety on the marriage, and wishes she could be dead instead of getting married. Nevertheless, they both overcome their fears and gain composure. They proceed to the aisle for the wedding ceremony. Mrs Soames is evidently happy with this wedding saying it is the best ever to be witnessed. The Stage Manager assumes the duties of the clergyman and weds the two.
Although" Our Town" has enormous and prominent instances of romance, this is just but a mere case in the wide range of bonds relating to human being interactions. Several different relationships have been depicted by Wilder in the quest of establishing clear lines between human interrelations in the community. From Act 1, The Stage Manager is out to establish a relationship with the audience. This creates a strong bond between the characters onstage and the offstage audience. The chatting of the milkman and the paperboy establishes a stronger relationship with the members of the Webb's and Gibb's family. Moreover children prefer walking in pairs or groups from school as it helps them to chat and make play games. An aspect of interrelationship is seen in Mrs Gibbs and Mrs Webb, who are next door neighbours and meet time and again in their yards to gossip on issues affecting them or general talk of the town. Collective pronouns in the play also give an attribute to the desire for human beings to be in a community like form. All these aspects attest the significance of companionship in the community.
In Act III, Wilder takes as to a cemetery setting at the Grover's Corner. This reflects on the finality of the three main life stages, these are birth, marriage and death. Eternity is emphasised through the action of survival of Emily's second child, while the mother dies in the process of giving birth. This takes place nine years after the marriage ceremony. She leaves her husband and a four year old son in the land of the living as she proceeds to the land of the dead. This brings in the idea that death exists and it is inevitable. This puts more emphasis on the beauty of life, normal life's rituals and grieving ceremony, immortality and the consequent eternity. It is clear that each and every person must finally die, however to soften this terror of rites of passage, the inner most quality of eternal life must be conceptualized.
The coffin containing Emily's body is brought to the cemetery and descended into the grave then buried. Wilder raises her from those mourning, as a spirit to join her other relatives and folks in the land of the dead. These include her mother in-law, Mrs Gibbs, Simon Stimson, and Mrs Soames. Emily envies the life she has left behind on the earth. She realizes the importance and value of life and should be lived to the fullest each and every minute. This nostalgic appreciation of life is not shared by the living characters; this is actually shown by her husband who lies beside her grave (Haberman 106).
It is paramount to note that the events unfolding in Our Town directly interrelates with the present day life. This brings in the significance of people appreciating their present life and living it to the fullest.