Study Guide

Our Town Plot Analysis

By Thornton Wilder

Plot Analysis

Initial Situation

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 families in particular, and the romance developing between two of the children. This is the initial situation because at the same time that the ordinary is established, potential drama is established in the growing attraction between Emily Webb and George Gibbs.


George is acting conceited and Emily tells him so.

Though Emily and George used to get along great, with Emily helping out George on his homework, George now acts a bit full of himself. Emily tells him so, and they make up.


On Emily and George's wedding day, both get cold feet.

Both George and Emily experience a moment of anxiety to the tune of "I don't wanna grow up."


George and Emily marry.

Their marriage is the culmination of childhood flirtations.


Emily dies and joins her various relatives and friends at their gravesite. Despite their warnings, she wants to return to her previous life.

What will Emily do now that she has died? Her fellow dead offer crystal-clear warnings against returning to the living world, but Emily remains obstinate. What will happen to Emily after she decides to return to the living?


Emily realizes that her fellow dead were correct; remaining among the living is not a good idea.

Emily begs to be taken back to her gravesite after she realizes that being among the living is rather depressing.


Emily returns to her gravesite. The dead welcome her.

Emily admits to her compatriots that they were correct. Returning to the living was a bad idea. Meanwhile, George cries over her grave.