Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our Town

Playwright Thornton Wilder, in his masterpiece, Our Town, tells the story of a young woman named Emily Gibbs who grows up in the small New Hampshire town of Grover's Corners at the turn of the 20th Century.

In the final act, Emily dies, and then pleads to be able to live one more day of her life over again. Her request is granted, and she is allowed to return to to her 12th birthday.

She is appalled, however, to see how everyone around her is unaware of their lives as they are living them. Downhearted, she finally decides to return to the realm of the dead. As she begins to leave the living world, she speaks to the Stage Manager, who also serves as the play's narrator:
Emily: I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back - up the hill - to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look.

Good-by. Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover's Corners. Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking...and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.

She looks toward the Stage Manager and asks abruptly, through her tears:
Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? - every, every minute?

Stage Manager: No.
The saints and poets, maybe -they do some.

1 comment:

  1. You have no idea how this made me laugh and step back. I have spent hours today searching for "security" - trying (unsuccessfully) to figure out why my wireless router no longer appears as a secure connection since I installed Windows 7 on my computer.