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Our Town Thornton Wilder. Town. Definition: “The inhabitants of a city or town.” OR “ A people with common interests living in a certain area.”. Think about it. Who is in your town? Who are the people you interact with every day?. My town is…. DIRECTIONS:

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Our Town

Thornton Wilder


Definition: “The inhabitants of a city or town.”


“ A people with common interests living in a certain area.”

think about it
Think about it

Who is in your town?

Who are the people you interact with every day?

My town is…


In your journals, write until I call stop:

thornton wilder
Thornton Wilder

1897 -1975

American novelist who wrote several plays

Known for his unique treatment of universal themes

Believed that “TRUTH” could only be discovered in the lives of ordinary people

our town

Written in: 1937

Genre: Realism

Realism is identified when artists/ writers attempt to capture the “real world” within their art.

Facts and Info:A three-act play modeled after several New Hampshire towns -

set in 1901.

our generation s realism
Our Generation’s Realism

Our Generation’s Realism in Television

wilder and realism
Wilder and Realism

In Our Town Wilder intends to “capture the universal experience of being alive.”

Donald Margulies

He does this by addressing three universal themes:

Daily Life Love Death

wilder uses the alienation effect
Wilder uses the Alienation Effect

This technique is designed to distance the audience from emotional involvement in the play through jolting reminders of the artificiality of the theatrical performance.

Technique Examples include explanatory captions or illustrations projected on a screen; actors stepping out of character to lecture, summarize, or sing songs; and stage designs that do not represent any locality but that, by exposing the lights and ropes.

To effectively do this Wilder manipulates the:

Stage Manager




Minimal scenery

Guides audience to focus on the internal rather than external.

Allows the setting to be more universal.


Perpetual Present Tense:

All past, present, and future actions take place in the “here and now.”

Time is fluid

stage manager
Stage Manager

Role:Narrator and character

Purpose:The audience’s connection between the play and reality.

The stage manager encourages the audience to reflect on what they are seeing by interrupting the plot to comment on the action.


Based on the three motifs Wilder chose [daily life, love, and death], infer why he would use the Alienation Effect to keep us from becoming “lost” in the play. What is his hope for his thinking audience?Write your answer in your notebook. This should be a well-developed one paragraph response.