July 14, 2009

Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" Captures Small Town America in the Early 1900


"An archeologist's eyes combine the view of the telescope and the view of the microscope. He reconstructs the very distant with the help of the very small. It was something of this method that I brought to a New Hampshire village. --Thornton Wilder, "A Preface for Our Town" [1938]


A simple tale simply told about life at it's simplest in a small village in New Hampshire, USA in the early 1900s. 'Simple' as this play seems, it sends the most profound and universal message: cherish the moment and live it like there were no tomorrow because death will and does end it all.

It took me less than two hours to read this play, at the end of which I stopped to reflect on the things I so verily take for granted; perhaps, exactly what Wilder hoped from his audience.

"Our Town" is a popular prescribed-text in American High Schools, and I would recommend it to anyone who is w(e)ary of long and dense writings.

6 comments:

Mariana Soffer said...

Excelent what thornton says, he is a genious. And I think nowadays this discipline has finally reach its popularity, because people are starting to understand that it is fundamental to understand the context

robespierre zj said...

I agree, this was a very powerful book.
although, as you mentioned, it was simple in terms of setting, etc, it had a very powerful message.
thorton wrote it long ago, yet some of the philosophies discussed in the book (mainly the Stage Manager's view on life and death) are still brought up today.
When I read the book a while ago, it really reminded me of this movie called Waking Life (2001).

Mariana Soffer said...

Weird, that is one of my favourites movies

Id it is said...

robespierre zj,
Thanks for the heads up on that movie; appears to be a popular one as Mariana recommends it too.

Nearsighted Life said...

"Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?"

In a word? No.

*Liz*

Id it is said...

Liz,
Welcome back!
Truly said...'life' is usually realized in hindsight! Perhaps therein lies the 'Our Town' appeal...?