Themes And Ideas In Thorton Wilder's Our Town

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Many people believe that when they die, they have lived life to the fullest, having lived each day joyfully. However, in Thorton Wilder’s Our Town, that thought process is challenged. In the 1940 version of Our Town, distributed by United Artists, Thorton Wilder uses themes and ideas to defy the expectations of the audience in a seemingly simple play. Doing so, he urges the audience to listen to the characters and the messages that they send. Through Thornton Wilder’s utilization of themes, ideas, and a centralizing character, he crafts Our Town in a way that makes the audience reevaluate their own lives, while simultaneously making them question their eventual death.
Wilder uses the form of the play to create a connection between the characters of the play and the audience so that the audience can sympathize with the characters. The play deals with simple, everyday life, thus relating the content of the play to the audience. Wilder uses a reference to normal activities in the life of a small American town. For example, parents wake up their kids early for breakfast and school, something that people often take for granted. Howie Newsome arrives every day with the milk, and the newspaper arrives twice a week, each a
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Wilder first uses minimalism at the beginning of the play, thus wanting to convey a need to remove unnecessities early on. The use of a minimal stage in Act I places emphasis on what is said rather than what is seen by the audience (Papajewski). The stage is opened with nothing but two tables and a few chairs. Doing this, Wilder omits scenery and most props. Moreover, there are no breathtaking effects in the play, contributing to the minimalistic way that Wilder created it (Wiles). The minimalism that Thorton Wilder uses not only acts as a literary theme in the play, but it also helps in getting his message across more
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