Study Guide

Our Town Life, Consciousness, and Existence

By Thornton Wilder

Life, Consciousness, and Existence

Our Town delivers a message for how we should live our lives: to the fullest. We should appreciate every moment because we never get a second chance. The play jumps from Emily’s wedding day to her funeral in the blink of an eye, emphasizing the idea that our lives are fleeting.

Questions About Life, Consciousness, and Existence

  1. To what extent does Our Town suggest a one-size-fits-all approach to life?
  2. Why doesn't Emily appreciate her life until she has passed away?
  3. What is the effect of this play being centered in a small town with ordinary routines?
  4. What is the effect of beginning the play with an ordinary breakfast scene? How does "an ordinary breakfast scene" change throughout the course of the play?

Chew on This

The prominence of mundane, ordinary occurrences in Our Town reflects the idea that life is not to be cherished only for its big events, but for day-to-day living.