Study Guide

Our Town Technology and Modernization

By Thornton Wilder

Technology and Modernization

You know, Frank, Mrs. Fairchild always locks her front door every night. All those people up that part of town do. (I.408)

Mrs. Gibbs lives in a part of town where no one locks their doors.

Blowing out the lamp.
They’re all getting citified, that’s the trouble with them. They haven’t got nothing fit to burgle and everybody knows it. (I.399-400)

Doc Gibbs thinks that people are unnecessarily adjusting their lifestyles to a new time. The stage direction suggests that Doc Gibbs wishes to extinguish any notion of urbanization.

Millions have folla’d it, George, and you don’t want to be the first to fly in the face of custom. (II.121)

Mr. and Mrs. Webb discourage George from doubting superstitions. George, a representative of the younger generation, doesn’t seem to care about old traditions.

I tell you, you’ve got to look both ways before you cross Main Street these days. Gets worse every year. – What’ll you have? (II.221)

Traffic on Main Street has been increasing, an unmistakable sign of the town’s increasing prosperity.

It certainly seems like being away three years you’d get out of touch with things. Maybe letters from Grover’s Corners wouldn’t be so interesting after a while. Grover’s Corners isn’t a very important place when you think of all New Hampshire; but I think it’s a very nice town (II.241).

Emily believes that if George leaves Grover’s Corners, he will become bored with news from home.

We’ve got a factory in our town too – hear it? Makes blankets. Cartwrights own it and it brung ‘em a fortune. (I.133)

The small town has only one factory operating within its perimeters.

There are a hundred and twenty-five horses in Grover’s Corners this minute I’m talking to you. State Inspector was in here yesterday. And now they’re bringing in these auto-mo-biles, the best thing to do is to just stay home. Why, I can remember when a dog could go to sleep all day in the middle of Main Street and nothing come along to disturb him (II.225)

Mr. Morgan dislikes the introduction of automobiles in Grover’s Corners, believing them to be dangerous to the small town’s lifestyle.

Everybody locks their house doors now at night. Ain’t been any burglars in town yet, but everybody’s heard about ‘em. (III.11)

In the nine years that pass between Act Two and Act Three, everyone in Grover’s Corners has become accustomed to locking their doors.

Yes, I’ve been away over twelve years. I’m in business out in Buffalo now, Joe. But I was in the East when I got news of my cousin’s death, so I thought I’d combine things a little and come and see the old home. (III.39)

Sam Craig is the only person we meet who did not settle in Grover’s Corners but went away to a big city.

Mother Gibbs, we have a Ford, too. Never gives any trouble. I don’t drive, though. (III.125)

George and Emily have changed with the times and bought an automobile.