Lack well-off, prominent, well established, traditional families. George’s father

 Lack of
Diversity and its Subsequent Impact on Our
Town’s Universality and Quality

            The play Our Town, written by Pulitzer Prize winner, Thornton Wilder,
focuses on small town life in America and the life lessons it can offer through
three acts titled Daily Life, Love and Marriage, and Death and Eternity,
respectively. The play takes place in the fictional, sleepy town of Grover’s Corners,
New Hampshire. It follows several residents of the town, especially the Webb
and Gibbs families, and their comings and goings in an attempt to emphasize the
importance of appreciating the small details in life. The events of the play
occur in the sunny years of 1901 through 1913, despite Wilder authoring it in
the depression era year of 1938.

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Considered
experimental, Our Town almost
completely eliminates the box set. However, Wilder includes a few key set
pieces “for those who think they have to have scenery” (Wilder 7). The play
also includes the omniscient and contemplative character, the Stage Manager,
who acts as narrator and occasionally, as needed, side characters.

Sporadically, the play will break the fourth wall, usually through the Stage
Manager. Highly praised, the experimental quality and timeless sympathetic
messages of Our Town made it Wilder’s
best known play and won him a Pulitzer Prize. However, Our Town’s lack of
theatrical, ethnic, and situational diversity severely impairs its quality and
limits the extent to which it can relate to the realities of America.

            The experimentalism used in Our Town did not originate directly from
Thornton Wilder and Wilder’s overdone and sentimental plot neglects to push the
boundaries of American theater. Wilder never claimed to be the originator of
the idea to eliminate the box-set, but he never explicitly stated he did not.

Beginning in 1910, a European experimentalism movement against the box-set began
gaining popularity already (Papajewski). Wilder uses small-town life, an already
popular play drama, as seen in Sinclair Lewis’ Babbit and Main Street, as
his setting failing to differentiate Our
Town from the countless other sentimental comedies of the day (Papajewski).

Our Town lacks a unique plot, or
setting that warrants close inspection and subsequent contemplation. Most of
the town people of Grover’s Corners reside in a comfortable and average, often
dull, existence, creating a miserably boring plot. One could say the point of Our Town is to examine the painfully
average, but Wilder could have done this in a more riveting way. One can find
ordinary values and virtues expressed in Our
Town in exciting and engaging situations. The character of Emily and George
come from well-off, prominent, well established, traditional families. George’s
father helps lead the town using his newspaper as referenced when the stage
manager states, “Mr. Webb is Publisher and Editor of the Grover’s Corners
Sentinel. That’s our local paper, y’know.” (Wilder 23) Emily’s father
establishes his family’s prominence as the town doctor, which the stage manager
reveals when he states, “This is our doctor’s house, Doc Gibbs.” (Wilder
7)   Uniquely enabled to observe and appreciate the
value of everyday life, Wilder’s characters live leisurely enough, unlike many
in poverty and in unfortunate situations, to take time to reflect upon everyday
moments. (Bert) Wilder displays and extremely limited number of muted emotions
through his un-complex characters. (John and Wells) Wilder avoids delving into
uglier and deeper common emotions, such as anger, resentment, and jealousy. Wilder
uses a restrictive plot, characters and theatrical sets creating an idealized
world that allowed character the freedom to realize the values Wilder wanted
them to, but not enough for them to explore more representative, intricate
topics. (Bert)

            Non-existent and manipulatively
fictionalized, the setting of Grover’s Corner operates without regard to how an
actual town would. Due to globalization and advances in communication
technology, a community cannot possibly remain as isolated as Grover’s Corner
today. Wilder ignored the industrialization trends of 1938, and instead focused
on the pre-industrial years. (Papjewski) This outdated and turned the town of
Grover’s Corner into a wistful illusion. Most Americans live in densely packed
areas, preventing them from relating to the small town of Our Town. (see figure 1) The
secluded nature of Grover’s Corner prevents Wilder from having to explain how
his lessons of appreciating routine activity would apply to a more complicated
and fast paced situation. Tailored specifically to Wilder’s values, Our Town’s setting is unrealistic and
not relatable.

            Wilder’s
play does not include anyone but Anglo-Saxon characters, despite American
society’s strong history of immigration and cultural diversity. The United
States encapsulates the idea of the mixing pot. Hundreds of years of
immigration created a uniquely diverse population. (see figure 2) The lack of
cultural and ethnic diversity in this play thwarts it from having to answer
difficult questions about race and how principles exemplified in the play
reflect within different ethnic groups. Wilder attempts to discredit this
argument by planting a belligerent man in the audience who asks, “Is there no
one in town aware of social injustice and industrial inequality?” (Wilder qtd.

in Bert 24)

Instead of actively discussing the racism and
inequality present in the 1930s, Mr. Webb responds, “Well, I dunno. … I guess
we’re all hunting like everybody else for a way the diligent and sensible can
rise to the top and the lazy and quarrelsome can sink to the bottom. But it
ain’t easy to find. Meanwhile, we do all we can to help those that can’t help
themselves and those that can we leave alone.–Are there any other questions?”(Wilder
qtd. in Bert 25) In this passage, Mr. Webb acts as a comforting echo chamber
for his audience members, essentially ignoring the limitations placed on minorities,
especially African Americans and newly arrived European immigrants, which
prevents them from advancing, and, instead, sticks of the common theory that
minorities are simply unable to improve themselves. (Bert) Rare and sporadic,
scenes including Polish town disclose Wilder’s prejudice through character’s
dismissive dialog concerning polish members of the town. Dr. Gibbs openly
dismisses the Polish when asked about his work by and replying he was
facilitating the birth of “just
some twins … over in Polish Town.” (Wilder qtd. In Bert 9; emphasis
Bert) Also present in Our Town, veiled segregation becomes evident when
characters mention, “Polish Town’s across the tracks, along with some
Canuck families” (Wilder qtd. In Bert 6), and that the “Catholic
Church is over beyond the tracks” (Wilder qtd. In Bert 6) Wilder reduces the
Polish down to stereotypes when Constable Warren’s states that he headed a “rescuin’
a party; darn near froze to death, down by Polish town thar. Got drunk and lay
out in the snowdrifts” (Wilder qtd. In Bert 94) Discounted as well, women
in the play can only “Vote indirect” according to Mr. Gibbs. (Wilder 23) Often
praised for its universal qualities, Our
Town actually divulges its exclusionary nature through those represented in
its text.

            The uniformity of living situations
of Our Town similarly damages the
realism and representative nature of the play’s reputation. Wilder’s play
focuses on mentally healthy and those above the poverty line. Focused on the
idealized years 1901-1913 in American history, Wilder sidesteps portraying the
harsh reality of the Depression. Practically, a family would need to satisfy
safety and physiological needs (food, water, shelter, ect.) before reflecting
upon the value of observing daily life, a self-actualization and esteem need,
according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, something extremely hard to do during
the Depression. (Myer) Millions of Americans, especially youth, experience
mental health issues every year, but Wilder only includes one neurodivergent
character, Simon Stimson. (see figure 3) On the subject of Simon Dr. Gibbs dismissively
and judgmentally states, “ain’t made for small town life” as if anyone battling
mental illness should not integrate with the normal population. (40) Dated and
incorrect, this view of mental illness and addiction should not resonate with
anyone educated or empathetic today. Wilder failed to incorporate a variety of
living situations into his play and as a result appears to narrowly view the
world through rose-colored glasses. 

            Consequently, lack of diversity in Our Town severely impairs and dates the
play. The lack of creativity and dullness in construction of the setup, plot,
and characters limits the realism of the play and enhances a viewer’s ability
to preform floccinaucinihilipilification. The illusion of Grover’s Corner damages
Wilder’s tenets credibility because it allows Wilder to escape criticism of how
they might apply to an actual town. The absence of cultural and ethnic
diversity reveal some aspects play merely act as a comforting affirmation of
the opinions of his audience. Wilder excluded alternative living situations in
order to falsely reiterate his values using a narrow focus. The entire play
artfully excludes complexity and substitute opinions and situations to
manipulate one into agreeing with Wilder’s ideals and sentimentality.

WORD
COUNT:1464

 Lack of
Diversity and its Subsequent Impact on Our
Town’s Universality and Quality

            The play Our Town, written by Pulitzer Prize winner, Thornton Wilder,
focuses on small town life in America and the life lessons it can offer through
three acts titled Daily Life, Love and Marriage, and Death and Eternity,
respectively. The play takes place in the fictional, sleepy town of Grover’s Corners,
New Hampshire. It follows several residents of the town, especially the Webb
and Gibbs families, and their comings and goings in an attempt to emphasize the
importance of appreciating the small details in life. The events of the play
occur in the sunny years of 1901 through 1913, despite Wilder authoring it in
the depression era year of 1938.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Considered
experimental, Our Town almost
completely eliminates the box set. However, Wilder includes a few key set
pieces “for those who think they have to have scenery” (Wilder 7). The play
also includes the omniscient and contemplative character, the Stage Manager,
who acts as narrator and occasionally, as needed, side characters.

Sporadically, the play will break the fourth wall, usually through the Stage
Manager. Highly praised, the experimental quality and timeless sympathetic
messages of Our Town made it Wilder’s
best known play and won him a Pulitzer Prize. However, Our Town’s lack of
theatrical, ethnic, and situational diversity severely impairs its quality and
limits the extent to which it can relate to the realities of America.

            The experimentalism used in Our Town did not originate directly from
Thornton Wilder and Wilder’s overdone and sentimental plot neglects to push the
boundaries of American theater. Wilder never claimed to be the originator of
the idea to eliminate the box-set, but he never explicitly stated he did not.

Beginning in 1910, a European experimentalism movement against the box-set began
gaining popularity already (Papajewski). Wilder uses small-town life, an already
popular play drama, as seen in Sinclair Lewis’ Babbit and Main Street, as
his setting failing to differentiate Our
Town from the countless other sentimental comedies of the day (Papajewski).

Our Town lacks a unique plot, or
setting that warrants close inspection and subsequent contemplation. Most of
the town people of Grover’s Corners reside in a comfortable and average, often
dull, existence, creating a miserably boring plot. One could say the point of Our Town is to examine the painfully
average, but Wilder could have done this in a more riveting way. One can find
ordinary values and virtues expressed in Our
Town in exciting and engaging situations. The character of Emily and George
come from well-off, prominent, well established, traditional families. George’s
father helps lead the town using his newspaper as referenced when the stage
manager states, “Mr. Webb is Publisher and Editor of the Grover’s Corners
Sentinel. That’s our local paper, y’know.” (Wilder 23) Emily’s father
establishes his family’s prominence as the town doctor, which the stage manager
reveals when he states, “This is our doctor’s house, Doc Gibbs.” (Wilder
7)   Uniquely enabled to observe and appreciate the
value of everyday life, Wilder’s characters live leisurely enough, unlike many
in poverty and in unfortunate situations, to take time to reflect upon everyday
moments. (Bert) Wilder displays and extremely limited number of muted emotions
through his un-complex characters. (John and Wells) Wilder avoids delving into
uglier and deeper common emotions, such as anger, resentment, and jealousy. Wilder
uses a restrictive plot, characters and theatrical sets creating an idealized
world that allowed character the freedom to realize the values Wilder wanted
them to, but not enough for them to explore more representative, intricate
topics. (Bert)

            Non-existent and manipulatively
fictionalized, the setting of Grover’s Corner operates without regard to how an
actual town would. Due to globalization and advances in communication
technology, a community cannot possibly remain as isolated as Grover’s Corner
today. Wilder ignored the industrialization trends of 1938, and instead focused
on the pre-industrial years. (Papjewski) This outdated and turned the town of
Grover’s Corner into a wistful illusion. Most Americans live in densely packed
areas, preventing them from relating to the small town of Our Town. (see figure 1) The
secluded nature of Grover’s Corner prevents Wilder from having to explain how
his lessons of appreciating routine activity would apply to a more complicated
and fast paced situation. Tailored specifically to Wilder’s values, Our Town’s setting is unrealistic and
not relatable.

            Wilder’s
play does not include anyone but Anglo-Saxon characters, despite American
society’s strong history of immigration and cultural diversity. The United
States encapsulates the idea of the mixing pot. Hundreds of years of
immigration created a uniquely diverse population. (see figure 2) The lack of
cultural and ethnic diversity in this play thwarts it from having to answer
difficult questions about race and how principles exemplified in the play
reflect within different ethnic groups. Wilder attempts to discredit this
argument by planting a belligerent man in the audience who asks, “Is there no
one in town aware of social injustice and industrial inequality?” (Wilder qtd.

in Bert 24)

Instead of actively discussing the racism and
inequality present in the 1930s, Mr. Webb responds, “Well, I dunno. … I guess
we’re all hunting like everybody else for a way the diligent and sensible can
rise to the top and the lazy and quarrelsome can sink to the bottom. But it
ain’t easy to find. Meanwhile, we do all we can to help those that can’t help
themselves and those that can we leave alone.–Are there any other questions?”(Wilder
qtd. in Bert 25) In this passage, Mr. Webb acts as a comforting echo chamber
for his audience members, essentially ignoring the limitations placed on minorities,
especially African Americans and newly arrived European immigrants, which
prevents them from advancing, and, instead, sticks of the common theory that
minorities are simply unable to improve themselves. (Bert) Rare and sporadic,
scenes including Polish town disclose Wilder’s prejudice through character’s
dismissive dialog concerning polish members of the town. Dr. Gibbs openly
dismisses the Polish when asked about his work by and replying he was
facilitating the birth of “just
some twins … over in Polish Town.” (Wilder qtd. In Bert 9; emphasis
Bert) Also present in Our Town, veiled segregation becomes evident when
characters mention, “Polish Town’s across the tracks, along with some
Canuck families” (Wilder qtd. In Bert 6), and that the “Catholic
Church is over beyond the tracks” (Wilder qtd. In Bert 6) Wilder reduces the
Polish down to stereotypes when Constable Warren’s states that he headed a “rescuin’
a party; darn near froze to death, down by Polish town thar. Got drunk and lay
out in the snowdrifts” (Wilder qtd. In Bert 94) Discounted as well, women
in the play can only “Vote indirect” according to Mr. Gibbs. (Wilder 23) Often
praised for its universal qualities, Our
Town actually divulges its exclusionary nature through those represented in
its text.

            The uniformity of living situations
of Our Town similarly damages the
realism and representative nature of the play’s reputation. Wilder’s play
focuses on mentally healthy and those above the poverty line. Focused on the
idealized years 1901-1913 in American history, Wilder sidesteps portraying the
harsh reality of the Depression. Practically, a family would need to satisfy
safety and physiological needs (food, water, shelter, ect.) before reflecting
upon the value of observing daily life, a self-actualization and esteem need,
according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, something extremely hard to do during
the Depression. (Myer) Millions of Americans, especially youth, experience
mental health issues every year, but Wilder only includes one neurodivergent
character, Simon Stimson. (see figure 3) On the subject of Simon Dr. Gibbs dismissively
and judgmentally states, “ain’t made for small town life” as if anyone battling
mental illness should not integrate with the normal population. (40) Dated and
incorrect, this view of mental illness and addiction should not resonate with
anyone educated or empathetic today. Wilder failed to incorporate a variety of
living situations into his play and as a result appears to narrowly view the
world through rose-colored glasses. 

            Consequently, lack of diversity in Our Town severely impairs and dates the
play. The lack of creativity and dullness in construction of the setup, plot,
and characters limits the realism of the play and enhances a viewer’s ability
to preform floccinaucinihilipilification. The illusion of Grover’s Corner damages
Wilder’s tenets credibility because it allows Wilder to escape criticism of how
they might apply to an actual town. The absence of cultural and ethnic
diversity reveal some aspects play merely act as a comforting affirmation of
the opinions of his audience. Wilder excluded alternative living situations in
order to falsely reiterate his values using a narrow focus. The entire play
artfully excludes complexity and substitute opinions and situations to
manipulate one into agreeing with Wilder’s ideals and sentimentality.

WORD
COUNT:1464

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