Customer Reviews for

Our Town

Average Rating 4
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(38)

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(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Beautifully Simple

As a play dedicated to recognizing the beauty of simplicity and reiterating the old adage "take nothing for granted," Our Town epitomizes a pure appreciation for life. Without any props, the play stresses the innate elegance of life that requires no enhancement. Free fr...
As a play dedicated to recognizing the beauty of simplicity and reiterating the old adage "take nothing for granted," Our Town epitomizes a pure appreciation for life. Without any props, the play stresses the innate elegance of life that requires no enhancement. Free from unnecessary decoration, the stage setting forces one to recognize the profound message of the play and eliminates the frivolous features that distract from that ultimate lesson.
Thornton Wilder effectively uses characterization to develop the theme of recognizing and appreciating one's blessings in life. Emily, as the main character of the play, undergoes a defining realization that life's beauty is too magnificent for living people to comprehend. Her journey back to her twelfth birthday opens her eyes to the transience of life and her inability to relive moments of true happiness. Initially described as a naïve character whose understanding of life consisted of her personal longings, Emily returns from her trip wiser and more resigned. This shift in mentality-the drastic change from blissful ignorance to burdensome awareness-stresses the importance of appreciating blessings before they are gone.
Contrasting the ideal atmosphere of Grover's Corner, the minor character of Simon Stimson is a misfit in the town's carefree feel. Infamous as the town alcoholic and choir director, Simon Stimson maintains a cynical attitude about life, as best reflected in his defining speech. Equating life to ignorance and blindness, he expresses unexplained bitterness that ultimately culminated in his suicide. While Wilder succeeds in highlighting the need to appreciate life through Simon Stimson's shortcoming, he fails to develop the character to one that is real and believable. In neglecting to address the source of Simon's bitterness, Wilder does not achieve the full potential of such a character.
The play has an overall effect that cannot be defined by any one stylistic element. Diction alone does not stand out, and neither does syntax. Imagery is almost nonexistent, as the stage consists of no more than tables, chairs, and actors. Nevertheless, the combination of various factors distinguishes this play as a noteworthy read, the most impressive aspect of which is its rare simplicity.

posted by Guacamole on June 11, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Not good

Our Town, by Thorton Wilder, was not a work of art, as others may say. In fact, it isn't even a work of anything; it is just a depressing, boring book that says life is meaningless. The story takes place in early 1900's in a small New Hampshire town that has a populatio...
Our Town, by Thorton Wilder, was not a work of art, as others may say. In fact, it isn't even a work of anything; it is just a depressing, boring book that says life is meaningless. The story takes place in early 1900's in a small New Hampshire town that has a population of about 3000 people. The characters in the town don't even know much about the USA, and enjoy things that now days people do as a chore. The people of Grover's Corner are mostly farmers, or workers of the local shops, but occasionally there is some one that moves out of the city. This bland lifestyle makes for a bland book, so don't waste your time reading this "classic." If you enjoy other classics you might like this, but be prepared for an ending that may make you depressed. Overall, Our Town is not a good book, and that's all I have to say.

posted by 539476 on April 8, 2009

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  • Posted November 17, 2013

    "Life sucks and then you die" in agonizing, endless re

    "Life sucks and then you die" in agonizing, endless repetition.  Given a choice between sitting through a production of Our Town and having a root canal (without Novocaine) I would gladly choose the root canal.  The Emperor has no clothes, but everyone is afraid to admit that they didn't get the point of Our Town, which has no point.  I can only agree with the reviewer who wanted to leave a negative billon stars.

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  • Posted February 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    If I could give this book a negative 100000000000000 stars, I would.

    I have loved many classics. The Counte of Monte Cristo, Farenheit 451, To Kill a Mockingbird...the list goes on, but out of all the classics I've read, I HATED Our Town. The shallow lives of the characters were superficial, the sad little plot was terrible, and in all honesty, what lessons in this book could you have not learned in a Spongebob Episode? Many people say that this book is "a great lesson in life" and "filled with depth and wonderful lessons" but seriously, people. You expect me to just die and sit on some chair and stare at the stars until it's "time"? You think our lives today are like that? You think we can just take things as they are and be shallow in our lives and ignore alcholism and act like it's still the 1900's? Puh-leez. I am aware that this book teaches you to live life to the fullest, but who doesn't already know that? You could find a shirt in Gap that says those words and have had your life changes as much as if you've read Our Town. No one in todays life is as simple as the characters in this book, and if you think that they are, then wake up! This is the twenty-fist century. It's about time you acted like it. I'm serious. DON'T READ THIS BOOK. If you're looking for something more entertaining to do than read Our Town, go bash your head against the wall. You'll have a much, MUCH better time.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2003

    dumb

    can u say boring?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2001

    The real meaning in our town

    I am currently a high school junior. I read this play anticipating another fictional flop. The underlined meaning is what is important, and not the lack of stage stimuli, or the strange method of audience participation. He was showing that people need to take life as it is, not as it seems. As well and live life to the fullest. The most important line, is in the beginning of the play when the narrator describes how stars become terribly bright before the go out...or die

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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