The theme of Companionship: The novel emphasizes that among all stages of life, the one that is of maximum importance comes in the middle because of the fact that neither birth nor death can be escaped. This middle stage of life is the one in which an individual cultivates a quest for partnership, friendship, association, and companionship with others. This is one aspect of his life over which, a man generally maintains control to some extent. According to junior Alec Silberblatt, “Thornton Wilder wrote the play to show the importance of day-to-day life, which is something everyone can relate to no matter the time period” (Noodls). Although many of them may not realize this in particular, yet it is a fact that a vast majority of people living in the town of Grover’s Corners necessarily find time from their everyday schedule to get together, interact with one another. This is a means of promoting social relations and networking. An in-depth analysis of the play suggests that the most obvious interpersonal association exists in the form of romance in which is engrossed the courtship of Emily and George. Wilder is of the view that love symbolizes the innovation and achievement of humans.
Although the plot of Our Town fundamentally revolves around romance, yet the range and variety of bonds that humans can build between each other as talked about in the play are quite vast. The range developed by Wild constitutes both platonic and significant kinds of relationships between individual characters of the play. In the very first scene that comes right at the conception of the play, the Stage Manager introduces himself to the audience as the story’s narrator and tends to build a rapport with the audience. This is essentially the narrator’s attempt to develop ties between the audience sitting offstage and the various characters that form part of the play and perform onstage. The play symbolizes the association between individual characters through the interaction and chatting of the paperboy and the milkman with different members of the Webb family and the Gibbs family while the paperboy and the milkman deliver their products to the families. Children can be seen going to school and coming back from it in small groups. Quite often, being neighbors, Mrs. Webb and Mrs. Gibbs talk to each other in their yards. The audience also catches the glimpse of a private conversation between Dr. Gibbs and Mrs. Gibbs as well as between Mr. Webb and Mrs. Webb. It is also obvious from the articulation of Mrs. Gibbs; “Tain’t natural to be lonesome.” (Wilder). “Mrs. Gibbs tells the audience that people were meant to go through this life and world “two by two,” in love and companionship” (Angelfire).
The companionship and teamwork are also evident from the very title of the play that contains the pronoun “our” in it. It depicts the intrinsic desire of humans for companionship and community. The significance of companionship is also reflected in several aspects of this play that include but are not limited to the Stage Manager’s welcoming introduction, and the participation and intrusion of an audience in the plot of the play achieved by way of placement of various actors in the audience that interacts with other actors that perform onstage.
Angelfire. “Central Themes of Our Town.” n.d. Web. 25 May 2011.
Noodls. “CCM Presents Thornton Wilders Classic Drama Our Town.” University of
Cincinnati. 2011. Web. 25 May 2011.
Wilder, Thornton. Our town: a play in three acts. HarperCollins, 2003. Print.