How we cite our quotes:
I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another (III.245).
During her visit back to the living, Emily is overwhelmed by the brief nature of life.
Mrs. Gibbs died first – long time ago, in fact. She went out to visit her daughter, Rebecca, who married an insurance man in Canton, Ohio, and died there – pneumonia – but her body was brought back here. She’s up in the cemetery there now – in with a whole mess of Gibbses and Herseys – she was Julia Hersey ‘fore she married Doc Gibbs in the Congregational Chuch over there. (I.50)
We learn about Mrs. Gibbs’s death before we even meet see her character on stage. Her death is relayed factually, supporting the Stage Manager’s statement about knowing everybody’s relevant facts.
Want to tell you something about that boy Joe Crowell there. Joe was awful bright – graduated from high school here, head of his class. So he got a scholarship to Massachusetts Tech. Graduated head of his class there, too. It was all wrote up in the Boston paper at the time. Goin’ to be a great engineer, Joe was. But the war broke out and he died in France. – All that education for nothing. (I.76)
We meet Joe as an innocent eleven-year-old newspaper boy only to learn about his death moments later, showing us that life is quick and unpredictable.