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Summary and Study Guide

Our Town (1938) is a three-act play written by American playwright Thornton Wilder. Wilder served in both World War I and World War II and wrote honestly about life in America. He wrote several plays but considered Our Town to be his best work. It was performed for the first time in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1938. Wilder received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Our Town , and the play is widely considered to be the quintessential American play. Countless adaptations have been staged or otherwise performed.

Our Town stands out among other plays because it is metatheatrical. It serves as Wilder’s statement on what he believed to be the disappointing direction that theater had taken. Wilder saw an increasing reliance on props and scenery that he believed obscured the raw themes and characters that theater traditionally offered. Audiences were no longer required to use their imaginations. Our Town is centered on the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, a town like any other, between 1901 and 1913. It brings to light themes of the simplicity of American life, appreciation of life while one has it, the importance of love and family , and the cyclical nature of humanity.

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The edition used for this guide is the Harper Perennial Modern Classics Edition paperback reissue from 2003.

Plot Summary

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Act I takes place in 1901 and is titled “Daily Life.” The entire play is set in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, where nothing remarkable seems to happen. All of the play’s characters are presented here as the Stage Manager , who narrates the play, explains their origins, their purpose in the town, and whether or not they have since died. The audience sees the Gibbs and Webb families going about their day, sending their children off to school while the men work and the women tend the house. Each family has two children, they live next door to one another, and the mothers are best friends.

Other town characters, such as the milkman, paperboy, choir ladies, and more, are also introduced. There is a repetitive nature to life in the town and a sense that each day is relatively the same. The town is said to have been inhabited by the same families since the first settlers in the early 1600s, and the Stage Manager describes it as ordinary and unremarkable. Act I provides the exposition , setting , and characters through direct descriptions and scenes acted out by players. The townspeople go about their regular lives, have simple interactions, and conclude their day by appreciating the bright moonlight as it takes them home and into bed for the night.

Act II, titled “Love and Marriage,” sees two teenagers, George Gibbs and Emily Webb, fall in love and marry three years later. The entire act centers on their story of falling in love, their fears and anxieties about marriage, and the societal expectations that push them into it despite these fears. It starts as George wants desperately to see Emily on their wedding day, but when he visits her, he is rebuffed due to superstition and made to sit with her father instead. George asks Mr Webb for marriage advice but is given enigmatic counsel. Instead, he is left to navigate marriage blindly.

The Stage Manager then returns to when George and Emily first realized they were in love. George offers to walk Emily home from school, and the two of them get ice cream sodas together. Emily tells George that she does not appreciate his conceited attitude, and George vows to change while professing his love for her. She admits that she feels the same. The scene cuts back to the wedding day, and everyone is at the church awaiting the ceremony. George and Emily both have moments of panic when they reach the end of the aisle, but their parents quell their concerns, and they are married. Act II ends with one of the town ladies remarking on the importance of happiness in life.

Act III jumps ahead nine years to the year 1913. Several characters have died of various causes common for the period, such as Mrs Gibbs, the Webbs’ son Wally, the church choir leader, and several others. They sit at their graves atop the hill of Grover’s Corners, waiting for whatever may be coming next and slowly growing indifferent toward earthly matters and their previous lives. It is revealed that Emily Webb died giving birth to her second child, and her funeral begins. Emily wanders into the graveyard, confused and with an air of innocence. She realizes immediately where she is but begins thinking about her life and wants to revisit those memories. She begs the Stage Manager to take her back to a special day, despite warnings from the other dead, and he takes her to her twelfth birthday. There, she sees her mother toiling away needlessly instead of spending time with her family and paying attention to what matters. Emily realizes that she wasted her time while alive, just as almost all humans do. She becomes distraught and asks to be returned to the graveyard. George comes up to her tombstone and drops to his knees, sobbing. Emily stares at him indifferently, as if the experience she just had separated her from her life before. The play ends as the Stage Manager remarks that the earth, and everyone on it, works so hard to make something of themselves that they need to rest every night.

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More on Our Town

Introduction see all, summary see all, themes see all.

  • Life, Consciousness, and Existence
  • Visions of America
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Technology and Modernization

Characters See All

  • Stage Manager
  • George Gibbs
  • Simon Stimson

Analysis See All

  • What’s Up With the Title?
  • Writing Style
  • Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
  • Narrator Point of View
  • Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis
  • Plot Analysis
  • Three Act Plot Analysis

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  • For Teachers

Our Town Introduction

Our Town is Thornton Wilder ’s most celebrated play. It opened on Broadway in 1938, received a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and went on to become one of the most frequently performed American plays of the twentieth century. In Wilder’s day, it was fashionable for plays to expose the hypocrisy of American life. With its focus on the precious moments in everyday life, Our Town deliberately departs from this perspective. The play follows the lives of two young neighbors in a small town, Emily and George, who fall in love. Our Town ’s production coincided with political problems in Europe that would eventually become World War II . For audiences, Wilder’s play was an escape from international conflict and a retreat to small town America.

our town essay introduction

What is Our Town About and Why Should I Care?

News flash!! This play is about your town. "What?" you say, "We don’t have Howie Newsome delivering milk every morning. We buy milk at the local [insert name of big conglomerate supermarket here] or, alternatively at [insert name of big conglomerate organic food store here]." Don’t worry. We realize that not everyone lives in a little replica of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire in the early 1900s. But bear with us a moment as we go on a little "what if" journey. What if this play were set today? What if this play were set in your town? What if this play were about your life? George would still be a cute, popular athlete. Emily would still be the brainy girl next door. They would still have painfully awkward conversations. If this were your life, which scenes would the Stage Manager choose to show? While the first two acts would differ from the original, the third act is quite timeless. Hypothetically, your soul could wander back to random days in your life and be upset that you, your family, and friends don’t appreciate every moment of living. Stripped of the Leave it to Beaver patina, Our Town has some pretty fundamental ideas about life’s transience. As Vitamin C once sang, "I keep thinking times will never change/Keep on thinking things will always be the same, etc. etc., And if you got something that you need to say/You better say it right now cause you don't have another day." End message? Grover’s Corners may be a very outdated slice of American life, but the play Our Town will remain relevant so long as people live and die and time marches on. Which we think is forever.

our town essay introduction

Our Town Resources

Movie or tv productions.

1940 Movie The 1940 film version of Our Town that was nominated for 6 Oscars and was directed by Sam Wood.

1959 TV Movie A TV version of Our Town , directed by John Lincoln and José Quintero.

1977 Movie 1977 TV production of Our Town . It was nominated for 8 Emmys, and won the award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Any Area of Creative Technical Crafts.

1989 TV Movie A TV production of Our Town , nominated for 1 Emmy and directed by Kirk Browning.

2003 TV Movie A TV film of Our Town , nominated for an Emmy, a SAG Award, and directed by James Naughton.

Preview For the Play PBS Masterpiece Theatre: Our Town preview.

Scene From the Play A photo from the opening night of the play.

Postage Stamp Stamp of Thornton Wilder Centennial.

Scene From the Play Thornton Wilder performing as the Stage Manager

Production Photo A photo from Staged Opera version of the play.

The Stage Manager Paul Newman in Our Town as the Stage Manager.

Peterborough, New Hampshire Peterborough, NH is the town that the fictional Grover's Corners was modeled after.

Our Town: Opera in Two Acts The website for the Our Town Opera, including production photos.

Thornton Wilder Society An organization all about Wilder. This site has some interesting information on Wilder, including a biography, life timeline, and a newsletter.

UC Berkeley Profile of Wilder Wilder attended Berkeley High School, and this site profiles famous gay Berkeley alumni.

Online Our Town Exhibit Library of Congress provides an online slideshow of Our Town images and documents related to Our Town .

Our Town Introduction Study Group

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Thornton Wilder

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The stage manager arranges some tables and chairs on stage while the audience enters the theater, and then addresses the audience. He tells them that they are about to see a play called “Our Town” about the town of Grover’s Corners. He introduces the audience to Dr. Gibbs and Mrs. Gibbs , as well as their neighbor, Mr. Webb , who edits the local newspaper, The Grover’s Corners Sentinel . The stage manager reveals that Dr. Gibbs died in 1930, and his wife died much earlier. It is early in the morning, and Dr. Gibbs is returning home after helping with the birth of a pair of twins. Mrs. Gibbs begins to make breakfast while in the Webb household Mrs. Webb does the same. Dr. Gibbs runs into Joe Crowell , a young boy who delivers the newspaper. The stage manager informs the audience that Joe graduated at the top of his class from high school and earned a scholarship to MIT. He had a promising career as an engineer, but joined the army in World War I and died in France. Howie Newsome , the local milkman, delivers milk to the Gibbs and Webbs. The two families’ children come down to breakfast: George and Rebecca Gibbs , and Emily and Wally Webb . The kids run off to school, and Mrs. Gibbs talks to Mrs. Webb. She tells Mrs. Webb that someone offered her $350 for an old piece of furniture in her home. She says she would consider selling it if she knew that Dr. Gibbs would spend the money on a vacation, and tells Mrs. Webb that she’s always wanted to see Paris. Dr. Gibbs, however, has no interest in traveling beyond visiting Civil War battle sites every two years.

The stage manager interrupts the women’s conversation and announces that he wants to give the audience more information about Grover’s Corners. He invites Professor Willard , a professor from the local state university, onto the stage to tell the audience about the town. He then invites Mr. Webb forward to give the “political and social report” on Grover’s Corners. Mr. Webb fields questions from three members of the audience, one of whom asks him if there is much culture in the town. Mr. Webb answers that there is not much. The stage manager says it is time to return to the play and announces that it is now the early afternoon. George and Emily return home from school and George asks her to help him with his homework (Emily is very intelligent and does well in school). The stage manager addresses the audience again to tell them about a new development in town. A new bank building is being built and the townspeople are burying various items in a time capsule with the cornerstone of the building. The townspeople are including copies of the New York Times and Grover’s Corners Sentinel , as well as of the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, and the works of Shakespeare. The stage manager decides to include a copy of Our Town , as well.

It is now evening and a church choir is practicing singing “ Blessed Be the Tie That Binds ” for a wedding. At the Gibbs home, Dr. Gibbs speaks with George about doing the chores around the house and asks him what his ambitions are for after high school. George wants to go work on his uncle’s farm and eventually take it over from him. Mrs. Gibbs, Mrs. Webb, and Mrs. Soames return from choir practice and gossip about the alcoholic choir director, Simon Stimson . The women go their separate ways and Mrs. Gibbs returns home. She tries to talk to her husband about him taking a significant break from work at some point, but Dr. Gibbs refuses. They both lament how Grover’s Corners is becoming “citified” because people are starting to lock their doors at night. Upstairs in the Gibbs’ house, Rebecca tells George about a letter her friend received that had the address, “Jane Crofut; The Crofut Farm; Grover’s Corners; Sutton County; New Hampshire; United States of America; Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the Mind of God.” The stage manager announces the end of act one.

The stage manager announces at the beginning of act two that three years have passed. Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb make breakfast in their respective kitchens, and Howie Newsome delivers milk, as before. Joe Cromwell’s younger brother Si now delivers the town newspaper . It is gradually revealed that Emily and George are getting married. In their kitchen, Dr. Gibbs and Mrs. Gibbs recall their own wedding and how nervous they both were. George goes over to the Webb home, but Mrs. Webb tells him he cannot see Emily on their wedding morning. She goes upstairs to keep Emily from coming down, and Mr. Webb and George talk. Mr. Webb shares some marriage advice from his father, about making sure that the husband is the boss in the relationship and orders around the wife. But Mr. Webb says he has done the exact opposite and has had a happy marriage.

The stage manager interrupts the play to flashback to when George and Emily’s romantic relationship started. It is the end of George’s junior year in high school, and after school one day George and Emily are talking. Emily confesses to George that she is not pleased with how he has been acting recently and says that girls at school think he is conceited. George thanks Emily for being honest with him and the two have ice cream sodas at the local drugstore. George discusses his plans for the future, and after admitting that he has feelings for Emily (and learning that she feels similarly), he decides not to go to agricultural college, but rather to stay in Grover’s Corners with Emily.

The stage manager returns to the wedding day, where he performs the ceremony as the minister. Both Emily and George are nervous about the wedding and panic at the last minute, both anxious about leaving behind their childhoods and growing up. The two realize their love for each other, though, and are happily married by the stage manager, who then announces that the second act is over.

As the third act begins, the stage manager announces that nine years have passed since act two. Mrs. Gibbs, Simon Stimson, Mrs. Soames, and Wally Webb are standing in the cemetery, all deceased. Joe Stoddard , the town undertaker, talks with Sam Craig , who grew up in Grover’s Corners and has returned for the funeral of his cousin, who turns out to be Emily Webb, who died in childbirth. George, Dr. Gibbs, and Mr. and Mrs. Webb gather for the funeral, at which “ Blessed Be the Tie That Binds ” is sung. Emily enters and joins the other deceased characters. She asks if she can go back and relive her past life. Mrs. Gibbs tells her she can, but she and the stage manager try to dissuade her from doing so, because it is so painful.

Disregarding their warnings, Emily decides to relive the day of her twelfth birthday, and the stage manager takes her back to that day. She is amazed to see the town as it used to be and to see her parents look so young. But, she is also pained by knowing what will happen in the future (including the premature death of Wally). Ultimately, the pain is too much and Emily asks to be taken back to the cemetery. There, she and the other deceased souls agree that the living don’t “realize life while they live it” and don’t value their everyday lives as much as they should. George walks into the cemetery and kneels before Emily’s grave, grieving. The stage manager tells the audience that most of the citizens of Grover’s Corners are now going to sleep and they should get some rest, too, as the stars do “their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky.” He draws a curtain across the stage, ending the play.

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Themes From Thornton Wilder's Play

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Since its debut in 1938, Thornton Wilder’s " Our Town " has been embraced as an American classic on the stage. The play is simple enough to be studied by middle school students, yet rich enough in meaning to warrant continual productions on Broadway and in community theaters throughout the nation.

If you need to refresh yourself on the storyline, a  plot summary is available .

What Is the Reason for " Our Town 's" Longevity?

"Our Town " represents Americana; the small-town life of the early 1900s, it is a world most of us have never experienced. The fictional village of Grover’s Corners contains quaint activities of yesteryear:

  • A doctor walking through town, making house calls.
  • A milkman, traveling alongside his horse, happy in his work.
  • Folks talking to one another instead of watching television.
  • No one locking their door at night.

During the play, the Stage Manager (the show’s narrator) explains that he is putting a copy of " Our Town " in a time capsule. But of course, Thornton Wilder’s drama is its own time capsule, allowing audiences to glimpse turn-of-the-century New England.

Yet, as nostalgic as " Our Town " appears, the play also delivers four powerful life lessons, relevant to any generation.

Lesson #1: Everything Changes (Gradually)

Throughout the play, we are reminded that nothing is permanent. At the beginning of each act, the stage manager reveals the subtle changes that take place over time.

  • The population of Grover’s Corner grows.
  • Cars become commonplace; horses are used less and less.
  • The adolescent characters in Act One are married during Act Two.

During Act Three, when Emily Webb is laid to rest, Thornton Wilder reminds us that our life is impermanent. The Stage Manager says that there is “something eternal,” and that something is related to human beings.

However, even in death, the characters change as their spirits slowly let go of their memories and identities. Basically, Thornton Wilder’s message is in line with the Buddhist teaching of impermanence.

Lesson #2: Try to Help Others (But Know That Some Things Can’t Be Helped)

During Act One, the Stage Manager invites questions from members of the audience (who are actually part of the cast). One rather frustrated man asks, “Is there no one in town aware of social injustice and industrial inequality?” Mr. Webb, the town’s newspaper editor, responds:

Mr. Webb: Oh, yes, everybody is, -- something terrible. Seems like they spend most of their time talking about who’s rich and who’s poor.​
Man: (Forcefully) Then why don’t they do something about it?
Mr. Webb: (Tolerantly) Well, I dunno. I guess we’re all huntin’ like everybody else for a way the diligent and sensible can rise to the top and the lazy and quarrelsome sink to the bottom. But it ain’t easy to find. Meantime, we do all we can to take care of those who can’t help themselves.

Here, Thornton Wilder demonstrates how we are concerned with the well-being of our fellow man. However, the salvation of others is often out of our hands.

Case in point – Simon Stimson, the church organist and town drunk. We never learn the source of his problems. Supporting characters often mention that he has had a “pack of troubles.” They discuss Simon Stimson’s plight, saying, “I don’t know how that’s going to end.” The townspeople have compassion for Stimson, but they are unable to save him from his self-imposed agony.

Ultimately Stimson hangs himself, the playwright’s way of teaching us that some conflicts do not end with a happy resolution.

Lesson #3: Love Transforms Us

Act Two is dominated by talk of weddings, relationships, and the perplexing institution of marriage. Thornton Wilder takes some good-natured jibes at the monotony of most marriages.

Stage Manager: (To audience) I’ve married two hundred couples in my day. Do I believe in it? I don’t know. I suppose I do. M marries N. Millions of them. The cottage, the go-cart, the Sunday afternoon drives in the Ford—the first rheumatism—the grandchildren—the second rheumatism—the deathbed—the reading of the will—Once in a thousand times it’s interesting.

Yet for the characters involved in the wedding, it is more than interesting, it is nerve-wracking! George Webb, the young groom, is frightened as he prepares to walk to the altar. He believes that marriage means that his youth will be lost. For a moment, he doesn’t want to go through with the wedding because he doesn’t want to grow old.

His bride to be, Emily Webb, has even worse wedding jitters.

Emily: I never felt so alone in my whole life. And George, over there – I hate him – I wish I were dead. Papa! Papa!

For a moment, she begs her father to steal her away so that she can always be “Daddy’s Little Girl.” However, once George and Emily gaze at each other, they calm one another’s fears, and together they are prepared to enter adulthood.

Many romantic comedies portray love as a fun-filled rollercoaster ride. Thornton Wilder views love as a profound emotion that propels us towards maturity.

Lesson #4: Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) 

Emily Webb’s funeral takes place during Act Three. Her spirit joins the other residents of the graveyard. As Emily sits next to the late Mrs. Gibbs, she looks sadly at the living humans nearby, including her grieving husband.

Emily and the other spirits can go back and relive moments from their lives. However, it is an emotionally painful process because the past, present, and future are realized all at once.

When Emily revisits her 12th birthday, everything feels too intensely beautiful and heartbreaking. She returns to the grave where she and the others rest and watch the stars, waiting for something important. The narrator explains:

Stage Manager: Y’know the dead don’t stay interested in us living people for very long. Gradually, gradually, they let go hold of the earth—and the ambitions they had—and the pleasures they had—and the things they suffered—and the people they loved. They get weaned away from the earth {…} They’re waitin’ for something they feel is coming. Something important and great. Aren’t they waitin’ for that eternal part of them to come out -- clear?

As the play concludes, Emily comments upon how the Living do not understand how wonderful yet fleeting life is. So, although the play reveals an afterlife, Thornton Wilder urges us to seize each day and appreciate the wonder of each passing moment.

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our town essay introduction

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  • Literature Notes
  • Play Summary
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  • Summary and Analysis
  • Act I: Part 1
  • Act I: Part 2
  • Act I: Part 3
  • Act II: Part 1
  • Act II: Part 2
  • Act II: Part 3
  • Act II: Part 4
  • Act III: Part 1
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  • Character Analysis
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Act I, which Wilder calls "Daily Life," is a re-creation of the normal daily activities found in a small New Hampshire town. The act opens with the appearance of the Stage Manager, who speaks directly to the audience. He tells where all of the main buildings of the town are located and gives pertinent facts about Grover's Corners. Then he introduces us to the Webbs and the Gibbses, who are two of the town's main families.

After the introduction by the Stage Manager, the milkman and paper boy arrive and signal the official opening of the action of the play. Then the representative families begin to assemble for breakfast. First, the mother in each family tries to get her children up, dressed, fed, and off to school. After the children leave, the two mothers (Mrs. Webb and Mrs. Gibbs) meet for a chat. The Stage Manager returns and states more facts about the town. By this time, the day has passed by. Emily Webb and George Gibbs come home from school. George is struggling with schoolwork; Emily is the best student in her class. The two young people arrange a way so that Emily can assist George.

The Stage Manager returns and tells more about the town. Mrs. Webb and Mrs. Gibbs attend weekly choir rehearsal. Afterward, they discuss the organist's drinking. That night, Mrs. Gibbs tells her husband that the organist's drinking problem is the worst she has ever seen. The constable strolls by on patrol. This passage signals the end of a typical day.

The second act occurs some years later. After more comments by the Stage Manager, Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb return to the stage to prepare for a wedding. Both receive deliveries from the milkman and invite him and his wife to the ceremony.

George Gibbs comes downstairs and tells his mother that he is going across the yard to see Emily, his girl; they are to be married later that day. When he reaches the Webbs' house, Mrs. Webb reminds him that the groom should not see the bride on the day of the wedding. George talks to his future father-in-law until Mrs. Webb reappears and sends George home so that Emily can come downstairs to breakfast.

The Stage Manager then turns back time to the day when George and Emily first discover their love for each other. George stops Emily on their way home from school. He has just been elected president of the senior class; Emily is secretary-treasurer.

He asks her why she is mad at him. Emily admonishes George for immersing himself in baseball and forgetting his friends. He assures Emily that he has not forgotten her. George emphasizes that Emily is special to him and that she remains in his thoughts. Emily feels that she is mistaken about George and returns his affection. They part after having acknowledged their mutual love. The Stage Manager enters and explains that he will serve as minister and makes further comments about weddings. Mrs. Webb expresses fear about losing her daughter. Then George owns up to momentary doubts about getting married. In the meantime, Emily relates her qualms to her father. As soon as George and Emily see each other, they overcome their fears. The ceremony takes place in the background while the audience hears the comments of Mrs. Soames, a wedding guest. Then the Stage Manager returns in his original persona to make closing remarks.

The third act occurs in the cemetery at the burial of Emily Webb Gibbs, who has just died in childbirth and left her husband and four-year-old son. Like any newcomer, she is uneasy among the dead; she wonders how long the feeling will last. After the mourners leave the cemetery, she longs to return to life for a single day. The other spirits try to dissuade her, but she insists. Emily chooses to relive her twelfth birthday, but when she returns to earth, she discovers that people live their lives without appreciating or sharing the moment of living. They overlook the joy found in simple everyday activities. Emotionally unable to endure a full day of her past, Emily returns to the cemetery. There, at night, she watches George come to grieve at her grave. Emily perceives that the living understand little about death and even less about being alive.

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Act Two: "Love and Marriage"

....... The second act begins three years later just after high school commencement on the morning of the day George Gibbs and Emily Webb are to be married, July 7, 1904, A train for Boston rumbles by right on schedule. The stage manager informs the audience about the changes that took place over the three years, then introduces the scene years earlier when George and Emily pledged their love for each other. On the way home from school, George offers to carry Emily’s books. When she gives them to him, he notices that she is peeved about something. When he asks why she is angry, she tells him that he is so caught up in baseball and other activities—he has just been elected president of his class while Emily was elected secretary-treasurer—that he hardly notices his friends anymore. He is stuck-up. George takes the criticism gracefully, saying he will strive to improve his behavior. When Emily tearfully regrets her criticism, George invites her to have an ice-cream soda with him at Morgan’s Drugstore.  ....... In the drugstore, the stage manager—playing Mr. Morgan—fills George's order for strawberry sodas. Then—in a shy, roundabout way—they begin expressing their feelings about each other. George says he no longer desires to go off to college to study agriculture; he’d rather stay home and be with Emily. George says, "I think that once you've found a person you're very fond of . . . I mean a person who's fond of you, too, and likes you enough to be interested in your character . . . Well, I think that's just as important as college is, and even more so." ....... Shortly thereafter, the big moment arrives: ....... GEORGE: Emily, if I do improve and make a big change . . . would you be . . . I mean: could you be . . . ....... EMILY: I . . .  I am now; I have always been. ....... The scene shifts back to the day of the wedding. George and Emily—both nervous and both wondering whether they should go through with the wedding—decide to proceed after each talks with a parent. ....... Wedding marches play at the beginning and end of the ceremony, and George and Emily become husband and wife.

Act Three: "Death"

....... Nine years pass. It is now the summer of 1913. The stage manager says many changes have taken place. For example, farmers now come to town in Ford cars, and people lock their doors at night. He shows the audience the cemetery, located on a peaceful hilltop from which visitors can see for miles around. Off in the distance are Lakes Sunspee and Winnepesaukee. Through a glass, one can even see the White Mountains, Mount Washington, and Mount Monadnock. Tombstones in the cemetery date back to 1660. Among the dead are Civil War veterans who fought to keep the United States of America united. Also among the dead are Doc Gibbs, Stimson, Mrs. Soames, and Wally Webb, who died when his appendix burst while he was on a trip to Crawford Notch. The dead are sitting upright and erect, like tombstones, in rows of chairs on the front of the stage. ....... It is raining. Joe Stoddard, the undertaker, enters to tend to proceedings at a new grave, Emily’s. Sam Craig, her cousin, also enters. He had gone out west to live but returned to Grover’s Corners to attend Emily’s funeral. While they talk, Stoddard tells him Emily died having her second child. The dead then begin to speak with one another. Mrs. Gibbs tells Mrs. Soames that Emily died in childbirth. Mrs. Soames says: ....... “I’d forgotten all about that. My, wasn’t life awful—and wonderful." ....... Mrs. Soames reminisces about Emily’s wedding and about her reading of the class poem at graduation. ....... Mourners arrive at Emily’s grave and sing “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds." When Emily appears wearing white, she greets Mrs. Gibbs. Emily feels uncomfortable, nervous, as the newest among the dead. She tells Mrs. Gibbs about her life. ....... “George and I have made that farm into just the best place you ever saw. We thought of you all the time. We wanted to show you the new barn and a great long ce-ment [as written by Wilder] drinking fountain for the stock. We bought that out of the money you left us." ....... Emily tells her that life for George will never be the same without her, adding, “Live people don’t understand, do they?" ....... Observing the funeral company, she says she never realized in life how troubled many people are. Nevertheless, she expresses a wish to return to life for a little while. Mrs. Gibbs says she can but advises her not to. So does Mrs. Soames. But Emily says she plans to return to a happy day, not a sad one. “Why should that be painful?" ....... The stage manager answers, saying, “You not only live it; you watch yourself living it." He also says she will see the future. Mrs. Gibbs points out another reason Emily should not return: The proper activity of the dead is to forget all about life and to think only of what is coming next and to prepare for it. Emily says she cannot forget—and so she returns to the day of her 12th birthday. First, she sees the routine of life going on as usual—Howie Newsome delivering milk, Constable Warren telling how he rescued a man lying in snowdrifts, Joe Crowell delivering newspapers. Then she sees her mother and father, who are surprisingly youthful to her. They are preparing to give her gifts.  ....... She speaks with her mother, who tells her to eat her breakfast slowly. Mrs. Webb gives her a dress which she had to “send all the way to Boston" to get. Her father and Wally also have gifts, but Emily can’t go on any longer and breaks down, saying she didn’t realize how much the little things of life—things she did not notice before—really matter. Emily returns to the cemetery and addresses Mrs. Gibbs: ....... “They don’t understand, do they?" ....... “No, dear. They don’t understand." ....... The stage manager says almost everyone is now asleep in Grover’s Corners. He winds his watch. Eleven o’clock. He tells the audience to get a good night’s sleep.

Peterborough as Model

....... Peterborough, N.H., may have been the model for Grover's Corners, a conclusion reached by some townspeople after Thornton Wilder wrote Our Town there while he was in residence at the MacDowell Colony, a famous retreat for several hundred composers, writers, and painters. Pianist Marian Nevins MacDowell and her husband, composer Edward Alexander MacDowell, founded the colony in 1907 at Peterborough, located in southern New Hampshire about 15 miles north of the Massachusetts border. .

Why the Play Is Popular . ....... Our Town is a favorite at many playhouses mainly because its setting and characters are so much like ordinary towns around the United States—and the rest of the world. Also, it has the one ingredient necessary for a literary work to become great: universality. Its themes apply to everyone everywhere. In addition, its simple mise-en-scène —a nearly bare stage with only a few props and no backdrops—makes it easy to produce. The absence of scenery also underscores the universal themes, inasmuch as there are no representations of structures or landscapes associated with specific locales. Grover’s Corners could be anywhere. .

Study Questions and Essay Topics

  • In what ways is your hometown like Grover's Corners? In what ways is your town different?
  • If you were to make a movie based on Our Town , would you include elaborate sets or retain the spare sets, with few props? Explain your answer.
  • The stage manager speaks directly to the audience. How effective is this approach?
  • At the end of the play, Emily says, “Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?"  Which are among the "wonderful" things about earth and life that you fail to notice? 
  • The stage manager says young Joe Crowell graduated at the top of his class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yet Crowell never got a chance to put his education to use, for he died in combat during World War I. In commenting on Crowell's death, the stage manager says, " All that education for nothin’." Was his education, in fact, for nothing? Is the stage manager's comment intended to be an antiwar statement? As best you can from details provided in the play, describe Joe Crowell.
  • The stage manager thinks it would be a good idea to place a time capsule in the new bank under construction. In the capsule, he would place a copy of The Sentinel , The New York Times , the U.S. Constitution, the Bible, Shakespeare’s works, and the text of the play he is participating in, Our Town . What is the significance of these items in terms of what they tell you about Grover's Corners?
  • What does Mrs. Soames mean when she says, "My, wasn’t life awful—and wonderful"?

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Humanism in Thornton Wilder’s Play “Our Town” Essay

Introduction, humanism in “our town”, works cited.

Unlike most of the 20 th century plays, “Our Town” is an example of artistic works that violated the traditions of theater, primarily due to its simplicity in terms of themes and plot as well as the absence of complex characters. In particular, the play’s setting is short, with no aspects of suspense, anticipations, or expectations (Lumley 333). Nevertheless, an outstanding aspect of the play is humanism, an approach that has made the piece retain its popularity for decades after publication.

Derived from the Italian art, poetry, science, and literal movement that attempted to deviate from the traditions of religion and atheism, humanism is a system of thought that centers on humans, their values, worth, and capacities by rejecting the traditional religious beliefs (Lumley 333). It is concerned with human needs, welfare, and interest rather than supernatural aspects of human and natural life.

In his play “Our Town”, the renowned 20 th -century American poet Thornton Wilder develops of humanism based on his ideas of the “inherent beauty and goodness of existence” and man’s inability to recognize or appreciate them (Lumley 334). To develop humanism in this play, Wilder structures act to reflect the stages of a person’s life. In this play, Act I, Act II, and Act III describe the human aspects of birth and daily life, love/marriage, and death respectively.

Although Wilder introduces the religious aspects in Grover’s Corner (such as the presence of catholic and protestant churches), it is worth noting that the section pays more attention to human values than their religious life. The ‘beauty of life’ is a humanistic theme reflected through the presence of gardens with beautiful flowers, such as those in the homesteads of the wives of Gibbs and Grover (Wilder 122).

Birth is also cited in the play, where it is portrayed as a humanistic aspect in the first Act. According to the Stage Manager, Dr. Gibbs is involved in providing nursing services to the population, which contributes to the continuation of the generation at Grover’s Corner. Rather than invoking the idea of creation, Wilder seems to describe the role of birth to the continuation of generations and the role that physicians play in conserving human values. In addition, the daily activities of the people in the small town are highlighted, with every person seemingly happy with his or her activities (Lumley 333). For example, Joe Junior, seen in the Crowell House, is happy to get up and deliver morning newspapers while Shorty Hawkins seems happy in his work at the railway station (Wilder 91).

Moreover, Wilder introduces some human activities that undermine humanism or human values. For example, the stage manager says “all that education for nothing” when referring to Joe, a young man who graduated at the top of his class, but died in the First World War before he could make good use of his education (Wilder 128).

In Act II, Wilder emphasizes the issues of love and marriage, reflecting their importance to human life, relations, and values. For example, the first scene in the Act begins when George, the son of Gibbs, marries Emily Webb. In a flashback, the stage manager introduces the audience to George and Emily’s love affair. He describes how the two individuals fell in love with each other before settling in marriage. In this case, Wilder wanted to show the importance of love and marriage. It is a humanistic aspect that shows that every person must pass through this particular stage.

In the last Act Wilder discusses the crucial stage of death and its position in society. Although people are not aware, Emily, the new person among the dead, converses with the other dead soul in the graves. The author wanted to show that death is a compulsory stage through which everybody must pass. It destroys human nature, yet it is a passage to another stage. The dead are able to reflect on their past life, which is not common in religious beliefs.

Lumley, Frederick. New Trends in 20th Century Drama: A Survey since Ibsen and Shaw . New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.

Wilder, Thornton. Our Town: A Play in Three Acts . New York: Coward McCann, 2008. Print.

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Bibliography

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by Thornton Wilder

Our town themes, small town life.

Our Town is clearly a representation - and largely a celebration - of small-town American life. Nearly every character in the play loves Grover's Corners, even as many of them acknowledge its small-mindedness and dullness. Its sleepy simplicity, in fact, is its major point of attraction for many characters. Dr. Gibbs , for instance, who refuses to travel, thus cultivates his ignorance of life outside of Grover's Corners in order to remain content within it; his son, too, decides not to go away to college because everything he could want is available at home.

Of course this staunchly conservative position creates some of the major problems in the play. Mrs. Gibbs and her daughter have much interest in the outside world - Mrs. Gibbs would love to travel, and Rebecca innocently wonders about the moon and the larger world - and this desire to escape the confines of Grover's Corners puts them at odds with the homebodies in the family. Simon Stimson provides a more forceful negative example of the stifling effects of Grover's Corners: he turns to the bottle in order to escape the monotony of everyday life in the small town, while his "good Christian neighbors" turn a blind eye.

Appreciating the Present

A constant theme in the play is the human tendency to miss the simple joys of their lives. Throughout the play, characters learn of opportunities and experiences missed while paying attention to other, less important things. For instance, Emily tells George in the second Act that she was always receptive to the possibility of loving him, but that he was too busy with baseball to notice her; George realizes at that moment that the thing he had always wanted most, Emily's love, was available to him all along. And in the third Act, when Emily returns to her twelfth birthday, it agonizes her to see how rushed life was, how seldom they took stock of their happiness; she begs her mother to pause for a moment and just look at her, look at how happy they were. In the end Emily realizes that living people don't understand how fleeting and precious their lives are.

Routine as Ritual

Each day is very much the same as the last in Grover's Corners. The train whistle marks the start of day, Howie Newsome brings the milk, Constable Warren goes about his rounds, a Crowell boy delivers the newspaper, the mothers come downstairs to fix breakfast. With each new day in the play, these seemingly insignificant events become more and more important as we - along with Emily - learn the value of the smallest details of life. Rather than seeing this routine as boring or empty, we come to understand its richness and importance. A day at Grover's Corners is like a ritual, full of hidden meaning, signifying the health and contentedness of the community.

Ritual as Connectedness within a Community

Related to the idea of "routine as ritual" is the related notion that ritual connects the individual to all of humanity. Just as the citizens of Grover's Corners sit down to dinner each night, so too did the citizens of ancient Greece, and the citizens of the world a thousand years from now. In the mundane, well-rehearsed actions of Grover's Corners, then, lies buried the deepest meaning that any human society can attain - the happiness of a coherent community.

There's No Place Like Home

So much literature is about exploration and adventure, about discovering new worlds and strange societies. Our Town is one of the only works of canonical literature that espouses the opposite extreme: no one goes anywhere in the play, no one has an "adventure." The lesson that we learn is the need to be content with the traditional rhythms of life rather than go searching for something strange and exciting.

Indeed, there is a vein of anti-exploration running through the text, reinforcing the old small-town motto that if you can't find your heart's desire in your own backyard, then it's probably not worth looking for anyway. Much contemporary theater put forth the same basic view, as we can see in looking at Hollywood movies of the day such as The Wizard of Oz , or, especially, It's a Wonderful Life .

Characters who know the good that they have in Grover's Corners tend to cultivate their ignorance of outside societies. For instance, Dr. Gibbs refuses to travel because seeing Europe might make him discontent with Grover's Corners; and George doesn't go away to college because he might lose interest in the people at home.

Life Is Fleeting

Time passes quickly in Our Town . Over the course of a three-hour play, three distinct days are told from beginning to end, along with two other partial days in flashback, giving the impression of a life that is paradoxically both sleepily monotonous and rapidly lived. The irrelevant actions and unimportant conversations that fill these days thus take on an urgency - they are precious moments of community connection, however mundane they seem.

In addition, characters in Our Town often note the passage of time. The Stage Manager constantly refers to his watch and parents in the play regularly bemoan how quickly their children have grown. The deceased Emily, too, despairs over how quickly her relived day flies by, too quickly to experience anything fully.

The Ties that Bind

Throughout the play, Wilder uses the hymn, "Blessed be the tie that binds," to underscore the necessity of interpersonal relationships. The hymn recurs during George and Emily's first nighttime conversation, their wedding, and their funeral, signifying their evolving bond in three stages of their life together. As Mrs. Gibbs says, "'Tain't natural to be lonesome," and the play consistently argues that human meaning can only be expressed through human connections.

The play considers several kinds of human relationships, some conventional - such as the romantic bond of George and Emily - and some less so - such as the connection between the living and the dead. Wilder also dwells on parent-child relationships, neighborly relationships, and the relationship between actors and their audience. Emily discovers at the end how important it is to appreciate the people you love intensely and consciously.

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Our Town Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for Our Town is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

Match these -.-

1) "They'll have a lot of troubles, I suppose, but that's none of our business.

Everybody has a right to their own troubles." Doctor Gibbs

3) George, I was thinking the other night of some advice my father gave me when I got...

What type of behavior does the Stage Manager describe as “layers and layers of nonsense”?

stfu you stupid bean. I can tell your from mexico

What does Bessie’s reluctance to change her route reveal about the daily routine of the residents of Grover’s Corners?

It represents the lack of change in their society: the comfort they find in the familiar and the routine. These routines are part of their identity.

Study Guide for Our Town

Our Town study guide contains a biography of Thornton Wilder, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About Our Town
  • Our Town Summary
  • Character List

Essays for Our Town

Our Town essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Our Town by Thornton Wilder.

  • Hymns and Music as Markers in Time and Part of Rituals
  • An Essential Foundation: The Role Setting Plays in American Theatre
  • The Importance of Our Town's Narrator
  • Medicine in the Early 1900's: Essential Context for Emily's Death
  • A Mundane Story to a Life-Changing Experience: The Act-by-Act Insights of Our Town

Lesson Plan for Our Town

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
  • Common Core Standards
  • Introduction to Our Town
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Bringing in Technology
  • Notes to the Teacher
  • Related Links
  • Our Town Bibliography

Wikipedia Entries for Our Town

  • Introduction
  • Composition

our town essay introduction

Our Town Essay

our town essay introduction

Our Town by Thornton Wilder continues to be a timeless theatrical work performed pervasively throughout the world. This play remains a modern classic due to Wilder’s ingenuity in capturing the quintessential expression of the life cycle. Wilder segmented his play into three acts; each act broadly encompassing a different phase in a person’s life. The play presents the audience with situations parallel to the ones almost everyone faces during their lifetime. This, in conjunction with breaking the

Small Town Living In Our Town

The play Our Town, illustrates the true essence of small town living. When living in a small town, people see a familiar face wherever they go and know the history and character behind these individuals. Life in a small town can lack options for entertainment at times; some may even categorize it as “dull”. Yet, anyone can see that Grover’s Corners, the town written about in Our Town, and Colby, Kansas contain a life full of personality and charm. The citizens of Grover’s Corners live a basic

An Analysis of Our Town

count An analysis of the representation of the daily life in Our Town * Table of Contents 1 Introduction 3 2 Biographical Background 4 3 Our Town 5 3.1 General 5 3.2 Theme 5 3.3 Publication 5 4 Analysis 6 4.1 Act 1 6 4.2 Act 2 7 4.3 Act 3 8 5 Conclusion 10 6 Bibliography 12 6.1 Primary Literature 12 6.2 Secondary Literature 12 6.3 Webliography 12 Introduction Needless to say, Our Town is one of the most popular plays by Thornton Wilder and

Our Town Quotes

human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute? (Emily Webb, Act III)” Our Town presents life as it truly is; as humans, we tend to only remember the big events in our life, and neglect the minute details. Throughout the book, Wilder entertains the notion that humans have learned to seemingly distance themselves from anything that doesn’t have immediate value to their memories. Our Town proves this notion by examining key aspects of the average person’s life in Grover’s Corners-

Essay on Our Town

     In the play “Our Town”, by Thornton Wilder, a character by the name of Simon Stimson makes a very insightful statement about people and their lives. Simon is dead and buried, as well as several of the play’s other characters, when a newly-dead young woman named Emily joins their ranks and begins to realize the triviality and ignorance of her existence, as well as that of every living person. The dead are discussing this insignificance and unawareness of the living when

Monologue In Our Town

of the Pulitzer Prize winner play Our Town. In Our Town, Wilder tells the story of a town in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, and the daily lives of the inhabitants. In the play, the author uses minimal props and scenery as well as including a main character known as the Stage Manager that has the ability to break the fourth wall, allowing him to talk to the audience. This factor of talking to the audience is a major component of making the public a part of the town. Throughout the play, there are

Symbolism In Our Town

representation of the society live in the time that it is played; as a social opinion, but the common thing in all the plays is that they portray an immense amount of ideas and concepts, that in a way, are transmitted into the audience. In the play Our Town, Thornton Wilder uses symbolism, theme, and motif, as a unified concept to express a social observation towards the American life in the 1900’s, which in the beginning of the play is stated as ordinary and common, but as the play continues, it is

Our Town Analysis

4. The title of the play Our Town is not just speaking of the small town in the book, but all other towns as well. Its families and events are universal, and can relate to anyone. For example, in the very beginning of the play the Stage Manager introduces the play and its setting. He states, “This play is called ‘Our Town.’ It was written by Thornton Wilder … The name of the town is Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire … Here’s the grocery store and here’s Mr. Morgan’s drugstore … Public School’s

The Play ' Our Town '

The play Our Town was something so unique and simple, but it somehow found a way to relate with everyone. Its simplicity seemed to be a hit or miss with many audience members. It was one of those plays that you relate so much with it you enjoy its minimalistic nature, or you find it too typical and boring. I happen to be among the group that found this play to be very appealing. I feel that at many times, little to no scenery and props make it hard to visualize the scene of a play. However, with

Paradox In Our Town

Life’s Paradox After reading Our Town often readers will conclude that Wilder criticizes our lack of appreciation for life. On the contrary, Wilder completely obliterates the idea that such admiration is remotely possible, and presents the reader with an ultimatum surrounding life’s appreciation in which neither option is ideal. In Our Town, Thornton Wilder conveys that in order to value life one must acknowledge its finality. However, by accepting its impermanence, one inevitably becomes focused

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Introduction to Earth Science

Journal title, journal issn, volume title.

Introduction to Earth Science is a 530+ page open textbook designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to Earth Science that can be freely accessed online, read offline, printed, or purchased as a print-on-demand book. It is intended for a typical 1000-level university introductory course in the Geosciences, although its contents could be applied to many other related courses.

This text includes various important features designed to enhance the student learning experience in introductory Earth Science courses. These include a multitude of high-quality figures and images within each chapter that help to clarify key concepts and are optimized for viewing online. Self-test assessment questions are embedded in each online chapter that help students focus their learning. QR codes are provided for each assessment to allow students using print or PDF versions to easily access the quiz from an internet-capable device of their choice.

Adapted from openly-licensed works in geoscience, the sequence of the book differs from mainstream commercial texts in that it has been arranged to present elementary or foundational knowledge regarding rocks and minerals prior to discussion of more complex topics in Earth Science. Unlike prominent commercial texts for Earth Science, this book dedicates an individual chapter to each of the three major rock types, the processes of mass wasting, geological time, Earth history, and the origin of the universe and our solar system. Book content has been further customized to match the Pathways General Education Curriculum at Virginia Tech with a focus on Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for Pathways Concept 4, Reasoning in the Natural Sciences.

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Table of Contents

  • Understanding Science
  • Plate Tectonics
  • Igneous Processes and Volcanoes
  • Weathering, Erosion, and Sedimentary Rocks
  • Metamorphic Rocks
  • Geologic Time
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Attribution This work includes content from multiple sources reproduced under the terms of Creative Commons licenses, Public Domain, and Fair Use. Specifically: Chapters 1-16 are adapted from An Introduction to Geology (CC BY NC SA) by Chris Johnson, Matthew D. Affolter, Paul Inkenbrandt, and Cam Mosher. Chapter 17 is adapted from Section 22.1 of Chapter 22 “The Origin of Earth and the Solar System” by Karla Panchuk in Physical Geology , 2nd edition (CC BY) by Steven Earle, with Sections 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4 of Chapter 7 “Other Worlds: An Introduction to the Solar System” from OpenStax Astronomy , 2nd edition (CC BY). And, figures are from a variety of sources; references at the end of each chapter describe the terms of reuse for each figure. Version notes located at the end of the book describe author changes made to these materials by chapter.

About the Author Laura Neser, Ph.D. is an Instructor in the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech. Dr. Neser earned her B.S. in Geosciences at Virginia Tech in the spring of 2008 and completed her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) in 2014. Her doctoral research focused on the structural geology, sedimentology, and stratigraphy of formations that were deposited along the flanks of the Beartooth Mountains as they rose during late Paleocene-Eocene time. Dr. Neser has worked as an athletic tutor and online instructor at The University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC), in temporary positions as an Adjunct Instructor at Chowan University (Murfreesboro, NC) and Full-Time Lecturer at Indiana State University (Terre Haute, IN), and as a Professor at Seminole State College (Sanford, FL) before starting as an Instructor at Virginia Tech in the fall of 2021.

Although she is currently focused on teaching online sections of Introduction to Earth Science, Earth Resources, Society and the Environment, and Climate History, her teaching background is significantly broader and includes Environmental ‬Science, Astronomy, Environmental ‬Ethics, Earth History, Structural Geology, and Field Geology‬.

Suggested Citation Neser, Laura (2023). Introduction to Earth Science. Blacksburg: Virginia Tech Department of Geosciences. https://doi.org/10.21061/introearthscience . Licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0 .

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our town essay introduction

A Great Santa Clara University Essay Example

What’s covered:, santa clara university essay example .

  • Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay

Santa Clara University is a private Jesuit university in California. The acceptance rate is around 50%, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll go over some essays real students have submitted to Santa Clara University and outline their strengths and areas for improvement. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).

Alexandra Johnson , an expert advisor on CollegeVine, provided commentary on this post. Advisors offer one-on-one guidance on everything from essays to test prep to financial aid. If you want help writing your essays or feedback on drafts, book a consultation with Alexandra Johnson or another skilled advisor. 

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our SCU essay breakdown for a comprehensive overview of how to write this year’s supplemental essays.

Prompt: At SCU, we push our students to be creative, be challenged, and be the solution. Think about an ethical dilemma that you care about that our society is currently facing. This can be something happening in your local community or more globally. How can an SCU education help you prepare for and address this challenge? (150-300 words) 

When I am not studying or filling out college applications, you can find me in the kitchen trying a new recipe and experimenting with ingredients. Spending so much time cooking made me aware of the massive amount of food waste that I produce. So I changed my behavior; I now plan ahead the recipes I make to ensure that all ingredients will be used, only buy what I need for the week, and freeze leftovers for future use. Making these changes wasn’t easy. It makes me wonder how much harder it must be for larger institutions to scale up these solutions.

In my research of Santa Clara University, I came across the Food Recovery Network at SCU that aims to fight the same concerns I experience while in the kitchen. This community of dedicated students proves that there are possible ways to reduce food waste on large scales. I can contribute to help address this familiar challenge by involving myself with this network and the courses SCU offers in sustainable food systems. Additionally, SCU leads by example; their efforts in attaining food sustainability are inspiring to me as a potential student. They purchase locally grown produce and follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program for their dining services. Broadening its impact, SCU has made it a goal to become a zero-waste campus aligning with my values of sustainability to aid our environment. A university that shows this much care to attaining sustainable food options and reducing food waste is the perfect place for me to help be the solution. 

What the Essay Did Well

This writer did a great job choosing an ethical dilemma to write about that they care about and that uniquely connects to Santa Clara University. Based on the anecdote about cooking at the beginning of the essay, it’s clear that food waste is an important ethical issue in the writer’s personal life. They describe working to change their behavior to address the issue after discovering that it was a problem through something they love, cooking! It was smart of the writer to use this as an opportunity to share a hobby that they may not have had the opportunity to include elsewhere on their application. 

The essay is also clearly written and does a great job of providing details about why the writer wants to go to Santa Clara University. The second half of the essay answers the part of the prompt that asks: “How can an SCU education help you prepare for and address this challenge?” This half is written like a “Why this college” essay but narrowly focused on the college’s connection to the ethical dilemma discussed in the essay. In a “Why this college” essay, it’s important to use specific details. That’s exactly what the writer does here when they mention the Food Recovery Network and SCU’s adherence to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program. Mentioning these programs shows that the student has done their research on Santa Clara University, which goes a long way in showing that they want to be a student there! For more tips on this specific type of essay, check out: How to write the “Why This College” Essay . 

Finally, the ethical dilemma that the writer chose is great. This essay shows that an interesting and unique topic doesn’t have to be so specific that the reader has never heard of it; rather, it’s something specific that the reader has a personal connection to and could connect to their interest in attending Santa Clara. 

What Could Be Improved 

One part of this essay that the writer could improve is the ending. They share an ethical issue they care about, why they care about that issue, and what the school is doing to address the issue. Then they end with, “A university that shows this much care to attaining sustainable food options and reducing food waste is the perfect place for me to help be the solution.” This response answers the prompt; however, the writer could have strengthened the ending by connecting SCU’s work back to the writer’s own future and goals. 

An alternate conclusion sentence could mention how the writer plans to use the knowledge that SCU would give them to address food waste. This would allow the writer to remain the focus of the essay, rather than the focus at the end being on SCU’s programs to tackle food waste. Because while this is an essay about the student’s views and ethics, it’s also a chance for the student to share more about themself with the admissions officers. 

Finally, the writer is currently under the word count. While it is okay to be under the word count, the writer could use this space to improve their conclusion. They could mention any ideas that they have for how SCU could better address the problem of food waste. Currently, what the school does well is included, which is great. However, if the writer chose to share their own ideas at the end, then it would help the reader better imagine a few ways that the writer will be a positive addition to the Santa Clara community. 

Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay 

Want feedback like this on your Santa Clara University essay before you submit? We offer expert essay review by advisors who have helped students get into their dream schools. You can book a review with an expert to receive notes on your topic, grammar, and essay structure to make your essay stand out to admissions officers.

Haven’t started writing your essay yet? Advisors on CollegeVine also offer expert college counseling packages . You can purchase a package to get one-on-one guidance on any aspect of the college application process, including brainstorming and writing essays.

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our town essay introduction

FSM online liner notes

  • Film Score Monthly
  • online notes
  • Raksin at M-G-M

David Raksin at M-G-M

This 5CD set is devoted to David Raksin’s time at M-G-M from 1949 through 1952 and again in 1957, presenting eight complete scores along with excerpts from five more, 13 in total.

The documentation for this project is so extensive that it could not be contained in the 36-page booklet that accompanies the CD. Lavishly illustrated by FSM design director Joe Sikoryak, the booklet features an authoritative essay by Raksin’s friend, film music scholar Marilee Bradford (using information from the composer’s personal papers), as well as a producer’s note by Lukas Kendall.

Meanwhile, our customary program notes for each film (with track-by-track commentary) are available right here at www.filmscoremonthly.com/notes ; please use the menu at right to navigate among the 13 films. The notes are also available in PDF format for easier printing.

The scores in this collection have been arranged loosely by genre:

Disc one features the score for the 1951 Clark Gable frontier adventure Across the Wide Missouri . Due to major re-editing of the film, much of the music Raksin composed was not used in the film as released and is heard here for the first time, along with additional music composed and/or arranged by M-G-M orchestrator Al Sendrey.

Disc two features a pair of “thrillers” from 1951, each about an elderly person threatened in their home by servants: Kind Lady stars Ethel Barrymore as a Londoner terrorized by con man Maurice Evans, while the mysterious title character of The Man With a Cloak (played by Joseph Cotten) assists a young Frenchwoman (Leslie Caron) attempting to ward off the threat to a dying New Yorker (Louis Calhern) from an ex-actress (Barbara Stanwyck) intent on inheriting his estate. The latter film includes a theme for the main character derived from a 12-tone row (perhaps the earliest use of serial music in a Hollywood film score).

The third disc contains the complete scores to two biopics directed by John Sturges: The Girl in White (1952) tells the story of Dr. Emily Dunning (June Allyson), the first woman to secure a surgical residency, while The Magnificent Yankee (1950) concerns Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Disc Three is rounded out with two extremely short scores from 1950, the religious drama The Next Voice You Hear… starring James Whitmore and Nancy Davis and the boxing picture Right Cross with Ricardo Montalbán in the lead, as well as Raksin’s “Toy Concertino,” composed for the 1951 Van Johnson-Kathryn Grayson comedy Grounds for Marriage .

The fourth disc presents the score for The Vintage , a 1957 love story with tragic overtones, set against the backdrop of grape-harvesting season on a French vineyard. The CD also includes the surviving music from A Lady Without Passport , a 1950 romantic thriller set in pre-Castro Cuba.

The final disc begins with Raksin’s score for Until They Sail , a 1957 wartime drama about four New Zealand sisters and the repercussions when the men they love must head off to war. Robert Wise directs, with Paul Newman costarring as a cynical American Navy officer who falls in love with one of the sisters, plaed by Jean Simmons. Eydie Gormé sings the haunting title song.

Disc Five concludes with the (relatively brief) scores to two romantic comedies starring real-life couples: the 1952 Tracy-Hepburn vehicle Pat and Mike and the 1950 June Allyson-Dick Powell comedy The Reformer and the Redhead .

David Raksin at M-G-M

FSMCD Vol. 12, No. 2

  • Introduction
  • Across the Wide Missouri
  • The Man With a Cloak
  • The Girl in White
  • The Magnificent Yankee
  • The Next Voice You Hear…
  • Right Cross
  • Grounds for Marriage
  • The Vintage
  • A Lady Without Passport
  • Until They Sail
  • Pat and Mike
  • The Reformer and the Redhead

Album Credits

More raksin on fsm.

Unforgiven

Liner notes ©2009 Film Score Monthly, 6311 Romaine Street, Suite 7109, Hollywood CA 90038. These notes may be printed or archived electronically for personal use only. The Next Voice You Hear… , Right Cross , The Magnificent Yankee , A Lady Without Passport and The Reformer and the Redhead ©1950, Across the Wide Missouri , Grounds for Marriage , Kind Lady and The Man With a Cloak ©1951, The Girl in White and Pat and Mike ©1952, The Vintage and Until They Sail ©1957, Turner Entertainment Co., A Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. All rights reserved.

Study Guide: Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Suggestions

  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Tempest
  • Twelfth Night

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Thornton Wilder

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Thornton Wilder and Our Town Background

Thornton Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1897. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio and then transferred to Yale University, graduating in 1920. After spending a year in Rome, he took a job teaching French at a prep school in New Jersey and started writing on the side. Wilder published his first novel, The Cabala , in 1926, but his first real taste of fame came when he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927). The royalties from this novel allowed him to quit his teaching job, and he began to write full-time. Wilder quickly became a literary celebrity, keeping company with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein.

In the ideologically charged climate of the 1930s, however, Wilder came under attack from critics who branded his work escapist fare that refused to confront the gloomy reality of the Depression. Hurt by this criticism and frustrated by the failure of his 1934 novel Heaven’s My Destination , Wilder turned to playwriting. Our Town , his most celebrated dramatic effort, opened on Broadway in 1938 to rave reviews. Audiences sensed the universality of the themes presented in the play, which enabled virtually every theatergoer to participate in the action onstage and identify with the characters. Our Town eventually won Wilder his second Pulitzer Prize, and went on to become one of the most performed American plays of the twentieth century.

In many ways, Our Town is Wilder’s response to his critics. Major works from other American writers of the time—notably Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology and Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio —exposed the buried secrets, hypocrisy, and oppression lurking beneath the surface of American small town life. In Our Town , however, Wilder presents a far more celebratory picture of a small town, the fictional hamlet of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. Wilder does not deny the fact that the town suffers from social injustice and hypocrisy, and he does not intend to idealize Grover’s Corners as a bastion of uncompromising brotherly love. On the contrary, Wilder makes a point to include in the play characters who criticize small town life, and Grover’s Corners specifically. However, Wilder does not wish to denounce the community simply because it contains some strains of hypocrisy. Instead, he peers into Grover’s Corners in order to find lessons about life in a world that contains both virtue and vice. He tenderly tracks the residents’ day-to-day activities, their triumphs and their sorrows, their casual conversations and their formal traditions—not because he wants to praise New Hampshire, but because he wants to praise humanity. Perhaps a political message in itself, Our Town privileges the study of human life and its complexities over blatantly political works that point fingers, stereotype others, and otherwise divide people from one another.

Wilder’s principal message in Our Town —that people should appreciate the details and interactions of everyday life while they live them—became critical at a time when political troubles were escalating in Europe. World War II was on the horizon when the play hit theaters in 1938. It was a time of tremendous international tension, and citizens across the globe suffered from fear and uncertainty. Our Town directed attention away from these negative aspects of life in the late 1930s and focused instead on the aspects of the human experience that make life precious. Wilder revealed his faith in the stability and constancy of life through his depiction and discussion of the small town of Grover’s Corners, with its “marrying . . . living and . . . dying.”

The 1920s and 1930s proved to be the heyday of Wilder’s career. He enlisted as a soldier and served in Europe during World War II, and though he continued his literary career upon his return to the United States, his output decreased during the next two decades. A later effort to write a novel, The Eighth Day (1967), met with mixed reviews. Wilder died in December 1975 at his home in Connecticut.

Popular pages: Our Town

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  5. How to keep our Town Clean Essay|| How to Keep Our town Essay in English

  6. OUR TOWN Exhibition Video Clip by Matt McCotter and mvgphoto

COMMENTS

  1. Our Town: Mini Essays

    On one hand, Our Town seems to offer a defiant, overwhelmingly positive portrayal of a fictional New England town around 1900 . The children appear well behaved, the parents appear decent and hardworking, and all one must do to find love is ask a neighbor to have an ice-cream soda. On the other hand, however, Wilder does not idealize the town ...

  2. Our Town Summary and Study Guide

    Overview Our Town (1938) is a three-act play written by American playwright Thornton Wilder. Wilder served in both World War I and World War II and wrote honestly about life in America. He wrote several plays but considered Our Town to be his best work. It was performed for the first time in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1938.

  3. Our Town Introduction

    Our Town Introduction. Our Town is Thornton Wilder's most celebrated play. It opened on Broadway in 1938, received a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and went on to become one of the most frequently performed American plays of the twentieth century. In Wilder's day, it was fashionable for plays to expose the hypocrisy of American life. With its focus on the precious moments in everyday life, Our ...

  4. Our Town, Thornton Wilder

    Our Town Introduction PDF Cite Share Our Town Thornton Wilder The following entry presents criticism of Wilder's play Our Town (1938). Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1938, Our...

  5. Our Town Study Guide

    Full Title: Our Town: A Play in Three Acts When Written: 1930s Where Written: United States When Published: 1938 Literary Period: The play blends realism with modernism. Genre: Drama (the play does not fit any specific theater genre like comedy or tragedy) Setting: Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, between 1899 and 1913 Climax: In act three, the deceased Emily relives her twelfth birthday but ...

  6. Our Town by Thornton Wilder Plot Summary

    The stage manager arranges some tables and chairs on stage while the audience enters the theater, and then addresses the audience. He tells them that they are about to see a play called "Our Town" about the town of Grover's Corners. He introduces the audience to Dr. Gibbs and Mrs. Gibbs, as well as their neighbor, Mr. Webb, who edits the local newspaper, The Grover's Corners Sentinel.

  7. Our Town Summary

    by Thornton Wilder Buy Study Guide Our Town Summary Our Town opens with "no curtain, no scenery." The Stage Manager, who serves as a narrator and an intermediary between the audience and the characters, introduces the play and the production.

  8. Life Lessons From Thornton Wilder's 'Our Town"

    Since its debut in 1938, Thornton Wilder's " Our Town " has been embraced as an American classic on the stage. The play is simple enough to be studied by middle school students, yet rich enough in meaning to warrant continual productions on Broadway and in community theaters throughout the nation.

  9. Play Summary

    Play Summary. Act I, which Wilder calls "Daily Life," is a re-creation of the normal daily activities found in a small New Hampshire town. The act opens with the appearance of the Stage Manager, who speaks directly to the audience. He tells where all of the main buildings of the town are located and gives pertinent facts about Grover's Corners.

  10. Our Town: Thornton Wilder

    The popular film Hello, Dolly! was based on the latter play. Wilder also wrote several novels, the most famous of which is The Bridge of San Luis Rey, published in 1927. Wilder won a Pulitzer Prize for that book and another for Our Town. Wilder died on Dec. 7, 1975, in Hamden, Conn.

  11. Humanism in Thornton Wilder's Play "Our Town" Essay

    Introduction. Unlike most of the 20 th century plays, "Our Town" is an example of artistic works that violated the traditions of theater, primarily due to its simplicity in terms of themes and plot as well as the absence of complex characters. In particular, the play's setting is short, with no aspects of suspense, anticipations, or expectations (Lumley 333).

  12. Our Town Themes

    Our Town is one of the only works of canonical literature that espouses the opposite extreme: no one goes anywhere in the play, no one has an "adventure." The lesson that we learn is the need to be content with the traditional rhythms of life rather than go searching for something strange and exciting.

  13. Our Town Essay

    15 Pages Better Essays Preview Our Town Quotes human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute? (Emily Webb, Act III)" Our Town presents life as it truly is; as humans, we tend to only remember the big events in our life, and neglect the minute details.

  14. Our Town by Thornton Wilders Free Essay Example

    Views. 173. Our Town by Thornton Wilders is one of the great classics and favourite literature of the contemporary people. It is one of the most frequently staged plays because of its simple setting and limited props. The writer possibly presented the play in this way to motivate the audience to concentrate on the themes and the character.

  15. How to Write the Santa Clara University Essays 2020-2021

    Santa Clara University Supplemental Essay Prompts. Prompt 1: Briefly describe what prompted you to apply to Santa Clara University. If you have had the opportunity to visit campus or experienced Santa Clara virtually, please share your impression of SCU. (100-200 words) Prompt 2: Driven by the Jesuit values outlined in our mission statement ...

  16. Introduction to Earth Science

    Introduction to Earth Science is a 530+ page open textbook designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to Earth Science that can be freely accessed online, read offline, printed, or purchased as a print-on-demand book. It is intended for a typical 1000-level university introductory course in the Geosciences, although its contents could be applied to many other related courses.

  17. How to Write the Santa Clara University Essays 2023-2024

    In concluding your essay, make sure to reflect on how this experience, trait, or identity has shaped who you are. Remember to show, not tell, and try to avoid the generic or cliche, like saying "X experience has made me stronger as a person.". Share specific examples or details about how you've developed or grown as a person.

  18. A Great Santa Clara University Essay Example

    Santa Clara University is a private Jesuit university in California. The acceptance rate is around 50%, so it's important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we'll go over some essays real students have submitted to Santa Clara University and outline their strengths and areas for improvement.

  19. FSM: David Raksin at M-G-M

    David Raksin at M-G-M. This 5CD set is devoted to David Raksin's time at M-G-M from 1949 through 1952 and again in 1957, presenting eight complete scores along with excerpts from five more, 13 in total. The documentation for this project is so extensive that it could not be contained in the 36-page booklet that accompanies the CD.

  20. Our Town: Study Guide

    Our Town. Buy Now. View all Available Study Guides. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes Our Town Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.

  21. Our Town: Suggested Essay Topics

    1. Discuss the character of the Stage Manager. How does he fit into the world of the play? 2. Analyze the play's portrayal of love, courtship, and married life. How do these aspects of life operate within the play's overarching themes? 3. Why is Emily unhappy when she tries to relive part of her life after she dies?

  22. Our Town: Thornton Wilder and Our Town Background

    Thornton Wilder and Our Town Background. Thornton Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1897. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio and then transferred to Yale University, graduating in 1920. After spending a year in Rome, he took a job teaching French at a prep school in New Jersey and started writing on the side.