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“Our Town” and New England, Book Review Example

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Book Review

“Our Town”, a play written by Thorton Wilder, is an excellent three-act example of how the author himself viewed New England towns in the early 20th century. Set in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, the purpose of the play was to show insight into the lives of everyday Americans. The first act of the play, in which the “Stage Manager” forms to set the scene in the play (as when it was first performed it used virtually no props) as a whole, and certainly reflects the authors’ view of New England.

Firstly, when the Stage Manager “maps” out the town for the audience, he describes features that were very common to suburban areas at the time. Specifically mentioning “Main Street”, this can serve as a metaphor for how incredibly ordinary the author wants the town viewed.

In addition, the Stage Manager, after introducing the two main families, also introduces the characters in the play. These characters, or town inhabitants, are again very reflective of how the author viewed New England. The characters are very type casted, and further look into this section shows this even more empirically.

The characters being introduced begin to go about their normal morning routines–after the Stage Manager announces the arrival of the morning train–in both the households introduced, as well as select other townspeople. These routines include making and eating breakfast.

It is very clear by the beginning of “Our Town” the view Thornton Wilder had of New England. He saw, and thus produced, cookie-cutter suburbs popping up around after the Industrial Revolution–a product of factory labor. Thorton Wilder, in his legendary play, described a typical, ordinary town as his vision of New England.

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