Study Guide

Our Town Act Two

By Thornton Wilder

Act Two

  • The Stage Manager informs us that three years have passed. He tells us what can happen in three years: babies start to talk, parents grow old, etc.
  • He tells us that almost everyone in the world gets married.
  • He gives us some handy tools for literary analysis: the first act is apparently called "Daily Life." The second act is called "Love and Marriage."
  • Let’s delve in.
  • Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb prepare breakfast.
  • Howie Newsome delivers milk to Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb.
  • Si Crowell, Joe Crowell’s brother, delivers newspapers. Howie and Si discuss what a pity it is that George is quitting baseball.
  • Dr. Gibbs comes down for breakfast. He and his wife reminisce about their own wedding day jitters.
  • George comes downstairs. He’s going next door to see Emily. His mom warns him about the rain, so he comes back to put on some overshoes.
  • Mrs. Webb almost bars George from entering the house, arguing that the groom mustn’t see the bride before the wedding. Emily isn’t even awake yet.
  • Mrs. Webb invites George to stay and have coffee with Mr. Webb. Mrs. Webb goes upstairs to prevent Emily from seeing George by accident.
  • Mr. Webb and George engage in some man-talk, meaning that Mr. Webb helps George through the wedding day nervousness.
  • Mr. Webb then asks George about chickens.
  • Mrs. Webb comes back downstairs. Emily wants George to leave so she can eat breakfast.
  • The Stage Manager uses his time travel trick and takes us back to the day that George realizes Emily should be his wife.
  • And vice versa.
  • The Stage Manager takes us to the last day of school.
  • George is carrying Emily’s books for her. He confronts her about her strange behavior: she’s been acting differently around him.
  • After some flustered hemming and hawing, Emily tells George that he’s become self-absorbed, not even stopping to talk to people anymore. Worried that she’s upset him but determined to say the truth, Emily tears up.
  • George takes Emily to Morgan’s drugstore, where the Stage Manager adopts the role of Mr. Morgan.
  • George orders two strawberry ice-cream sodas. He asks Emily to write to him if he goes away to State Agriculture College the next year. She agrees.
  • George decides that he won’t go away to college. He wants to stay with Emily. He confesses that he’s been noticing her a while.
  • The two reveal their mutual attraction.
  • George doesn’t have any money on him. Oops. He asks Mr. Morgan if he can return with the money.
  • Mr. Morgan says he’ll trust him ten years.
  • The Stage Manager returns us to the day of the wedding. He now plays the role of the minister.
  • Mrs. Webb cries and walks into place. George’s baseball friends come and embarrass him.
  • Nervous, George tells his mom that he doesn’t want to grow old. Then he comes to his senses. He insists that he and Emily will go to his mom’s for dinner every week.
  • Emily runs down and has her freak-out moment of not wanting to grow up. Mr. Webb leads Emily and George to the altar.
  • The ceremony starts. Mrs. Soames is a particularly vocal wedding spectator.
  • After the couple kisses, all the characters freeze. The Stage Manager is all blasé and says that weddings are never interesting.
  • The happy newlyweds run down the aisle. The Stage Manager calls for an intermission.