Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. How does the temporal structure of Our Town reflect and influence the main ideas of the play?
2. As little happens in the play in terms of dramatic events, the thematic content of the play and Wilder’s attempt to engage his audience actively take center stage. The success of the play depends on its ability to break down the so-called “fourth wall” between the audience and the actors. How does Wilder break down this barrier between the audience and the action onstage?
3. Is Thornton Wilder’s view of small town life positive or negative?
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? Defend your answer.
4. Discuss the conception of the “eternal” in the play. What does the Stage Manager believe “eternal” means? Do the events of the play agree with him? Why or why not?
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