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Analysis

Literary Devices in Our Town

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The play is an allegory of life structured over three days. Wilder begins the play at the crack of dawn, when the town is waking up, and concludes the play with the dead in the cemetery. The repeti...

Setting

Our Town is set in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire (population: 2,642). Key scenes take place at the Gibbs and Webb houses, a drugstore counter, and the town cemetery. B...

Narrator Point of View

The Stage Manager functions as the narrator of the play and our tour guide throughout Grover’s Corners, selecting what the audience members (and readers) get to see. The Stage Manager uses hi...

Genre

The whole dead person wandering among the living thing? That’s not reality! It must be magical realism! Also, the Stage Manager manages (pun!) to step into scenes and as an old woman, a drugs...

Tone

From the beginning of the play, the Stage Manager introduces the characters only to give their death dates. It’s like he’s making us read a book backwards – we already know what h...

Writing Style

Our Town takes place in a rural setting, in a time far removed from texts and tweets. As a result, the style will strike most modern readers as, well, old-timey. Now, when we say old-timey, we're t...

What’s Up With the Title?

Our Town, Our Town… Yes, this play is about your town. It could be anyone's town. Grover’s Corners, the town in which Our Town is set, might be out in the boonies of New Hampshire and t...

Plot Analysis

We witness an ordinary day in the Webb and Gibbs households.We become acquainted with Grover’s Corners: its layout, its prominent people, and its daily routines. They play focuses on two fami...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

George flirts with Emily, effectively hitting her with Cupid’s arrow Emily is growing up and becoming aware of boys – not just any boy, but the boy next door: George Gibbs. She asks her...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Daily Life: The Webb family and the Gibbs family eat breakfast and go to work/school and the women gossip.Love and Marriage: Emily Webb and George Gibbs get hitched.Death: Emily’s ghost wande...

Trivia

Our Town is a play, right? So why didn’t it win a Tony? Well, the Tonys weren’t established until nine years after Our Town was produced. Rest assured, Thornton Wilder received the high...

Steaminess Rating

Let’s just say that Emily and George weren’t raised watching MTV. The closest mention of sex we get is a tiny hint, a little whiff of the idea. At the wedding, Mrs. Webb realizes that s...

Allusions

Shakespeare (I.246)Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe (I.189)The Bible (I.189, I.246)U.S. Constitution (I.246)The New York Times (I.245)
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