What is the purpose of life? - Our Town introduction?? Is it to obtain wealth, fortune, or become famous? Or do the trivial things in life, occurring everyday, make life grand and give life its purpose? Thornton Wilder attempted to answer this very intricate question, a question which plays with each of our minds once in a while, through his play, Our Town. In Our Town, he exemplified his view of life and what it truly means by not only reflecting upon life, but also, death. Through death, we learn what life really is, and what life has to offer us.
It is not the grand and fine things in life, but the minor everyday things in life that truly make life worth living. When speaking of Our Town he said, “It is an attempt to find value above all price, for the smallest events in our daily life. ” Life is the period between one’s birth and death. Most of us have a view of life in which it is more or less the same for everyone. A person is born. A person participates in the daily routine of school, family life and friends. A person finds love, gets married, grows old, and finally dies. Our Town follows this cycle of life.
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However, through this cycle, Thornton Wilder helps us to realize that life is not what we think or hope it’s going to be. We might not grow old. We may never find true love or happiness, and we may never achieve any of the goals we set for ourselves. Wilder illustrates this through death. In the last act, we do not see a “grave yard” filled with only the elderly who died of natural causes. We see a group of people of all different ages, with all different goals, and with all different deaths. We see Wally Webb, who died as a boy from an appendicitis attack. We see dear Mrs.
Gibbs, never being able to fulfill her dream of going to Paris, and, Mr. Stimson, who died by killing himself. Then we find that lovely Emily will be uniting with them as well. Death comes unexpectedly, and Wilder helps us to realize that we’re not going to know when it’s our time to go. However, when we do, we shouldn’t have taken our life for granted. Wilder, through Our Town, revealed that we shouldn’t “go about life as if you had a million years. ” We should take a hold on life, and should enjoy and partake in every moment. In Our Town, Emily dies while giving birth to a child.
This emphasizes the themes of life and death, and as death passes, new life is granted. Throughout the play, I believed Emily to be a rather fortunate young lady with a extensive life ahead of her. I believed she was living and would keep on continuing to live a life of great opportunity, with no misgivings, when she passed on. However, as she came into the third act of the play and joined the dead, I realized that all was not as I had thought. At first she believes that her life was grand and as great as it could be, and is anxious to relive a day in her life.
However, when she is granted her request and relives her twelfth birthday, she becomes conscious and aware of all the trivial things that make life magnificent, that she let pass her by. She comes to realize that she did not appreciate her family and all the minor affairs, such as eating breakfast, and it begins to tear her apart inside. She notices how, that in a simple morning, she and her mother did not glance at each other once, and in an instance, all she ever knew seemed completely unethical and unimportant. Life itself had become pointless, and Emily returns to her grave.
However, she does not leave without a good-bye to all the diminutive things in her life such as clocks, breakfast, and sunflowers that she had never noticed enough to appreciate. Upon Emily’s return, she asks, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? -every, every minute? ” Sadly, deep down she knows the answer is no and she is saddened by the ignorance and blindness she withheld while living, as well as the lack of knowledge humans still have throughout life. Life is of great importance, for we only have one life to live. Therefore, in order to make life the best it can possibly be, we must understand life.
Our Town is an influential book with a strong message that aids in the understanding of life. Thornton Wilder wanted us to open our eyes to the way we are living, and help us to appreciate every moment of our lives. Through Our Town, he attempted to give the world a new perspective on life. He emphasized the trivial events that occur everyday, and by illustrating death as an existence we want to enter with happiness, not remorse, he exemplified the fact that we should appreciate our lives and not take our lives for granted. Most often, we do not express the joy that comes with a simple,
Good-morning, from our mothers, each morning as we awaken. We do not show all the sorrow that is felt when our friends are not there for us when we want them to be, and this is not what we should be doing. Our Town shows us that letting life pass in a monotonous motion, thinking that it is great, is not what life is about. It’s about enjoying and being active in every second, in every minute, in every hour, in every day. Death comes when we least expect it, and when it does arrive, we should posses no regrets. We should have partaken in everything possible, and lived life to its fullest.
We, as humans, “know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars…everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. ” Life, in a sense, continues and Thornton Wilder expressed this continuity of life in the third act of Our Town. However, this life is not the life we have come to know and live in. This life is a life of much deeper meaning and spirituality, and in order to live in this life, we must first understand and comprehend the life we used to live.
This is what I believe the people in the graveyard are “waiting” for. They are waiting for their own interpretations of the life they lived to sink into their souls and change their regrets to happiness. They’re waiting for that time when they realize that life on earth is just the beginning, and living keeps going on. At times life can be rough and can lead to sorrow, but only tha activeness and appreciation of the life we live on earth, can lead to something, that something, which is even greater.