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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Literature Analysis #3

Our Town
By: Thornton Wilder

1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read according to the elements of plot you've learned in past courses.
The play takes place in a town called Grovers Corners in New Hampshire in 1901.  The Stage Manager serves as the narrator  throughout the play and the stage has a very minimal set which means that most of the characters pantomime their actions.  The play is about the lives of George and Emily growing up in their small town.  Emily is very bright and George is a baseball star and the two of them fall in love early in life.  The play has a very simple plot line that occasionally jumps in time.  The first act ends with George and Emily talking to each other through their windows during their adolescent years.  The second act takes place three years later and the couple gets married.  In the third act it is nine years later and Emily has died during child birth.  She is about to be buried on the hill above the town and has conversations with the dead.  She decides to relive one of the days in her past so the Stage Manager takes her back to her twelfth birthday.   She is disappointed in how the living don't have an appreciation for everyday life and returns to the cemetery to be buried.  The ending of the play solidifies the authors purpose that life is often over-looked and taken for granted.

2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. 
Life is short and shouldn't be taken for granted.

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).
The Stage Manager sets the tone which comes across as morbid but hopeful.  The Stage Manager remains very informative about the details of the characters lives, but is also frank in that he makes them seem simple and meaningless.
  • Page 5- Stage Manager: "There's some scenery for those who think they have to have scenery."
  • Page 9- Stage Manger: "Goin' to be a great engineer, Joe was.  But the war broke out and he died in France.--- All that education for nothing."
  • Page 99- Stage Manager: "And as you watch it, you see the thing that they--down there--never know.  You see the future.  You know what's going to happen afterwards."
 4. Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone.
  • Allusion Page 20- Mrs. Gibbs: "Dr. Gibbs is never so happy as when he's at Antietam or Gettysburg."  These are some of the famous battle grounds from the Civil War.
  • Symbolism/allusion/foreshadowing Page 34, 94, and a third place that I can find.  Christian hymn "Blessed be the Tie the Binds."  A choir sings this three times through out the play.  It's an allusion to the fellowship between Christians (AKA between Emily and George), it symbolizes the "tie" between humans and God, and foreshadows the marriage between Emily and George.
  • Allusion Page 80- "The march from Lohengrin is heard." The March from Lohengrin is the "Bridal Chorus" in the 1850 opera Lohengrin by German composer Richard Wagner.
  • Foreshadowing Page 86- Stage Manager: "Yes, beautiful spot up here,  Mountain laurel and li-lacks.  I often wonder why people like to be buried in Woodlawn and Brooklyn when they might pass the same time up here in New Hampshire."  This foreshadows a death (Emily's)
  • Imagery Page 86- Stage Manager: "It's on a hilltop--a windy hilltop--lots of sky, lots of clouds, --often lots of sun and moon and stars."
  • Allusion Page 87- Stage Manager: "They want to make sure they're Daughters of the American Revolution and of the Mayflower."  Daughters of the American Revolution are decedents people directly involved in American independence.  The Mayflower is the famous ship that brought the first pilgrims to America to begin colonizing.
  • Repetition- Page 108 Emily: "Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover's Corners . . . Mama and Papa.  Good-by to clocks ticking . . . and Mama's sunflowers."  This repetition emphasizes Emily's last taste of life.
  • Dialect page 110 The Dead: "That's funny.  'Taint no time for one of them to be here.--  Goodness Sakes."
  • Foreshadowing- George and Emily's conversations in Act I point toward a future romance.
  • Monologue Page 111- Stage Manager concludes the play to the audience. (last paragraph)

5.  Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  
This play was almost entirely indirect characterization because we learned about characters like Emily and George through their words, thoughts, and actions.  The only form of direct characterization in the play came from the Stage Manager as he introduced minor characters.  

6.  Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How? 
The syntax and diction does change from character to character because the  book was a play so each character had different speech patterns and intelligence levels.

7.  Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.
There actually wasn't a protagonist.  This was just a play about two people falling in love in a small town and one of them dying.  There wasn't even a distinguished main character.

8.  After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character? 
I came away feeling like I had read a character probably because the story was all dialogue.  Maybe if I had actually seen the play rather than read it things would have different.

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