Emily Webb, in the beginning, comes across as conceited and self-centered. That is, that she is constantly aggravating her mother about if she thinks she is pretty enough to catch a beau (Films Media Group, 1940). Additionally, Emily thinks that she is the smartest kid in her class and does not particularly want to share that knowledge with anyone else, including George, her next-door neighbor who walks her home from school every day (Films Media Group, 1940). George does state that he is struggling with math and would like Emily to assist him that evening by being by her window and him by his window, both doing their assignment together (Films Media Group, 1940). Emily agrees (Films Media Group, 1940).
Emily’s family also plays a key role in this play. While Emily’s mother is downstairs early every morning fixing breakfast for the bunch, Emily and her siblings are upstairs still sleeping until Myrtle Webb (mother), calls them several times to get up and come down to breakfast so they could eat before they hurried off to school (Films Media Group, 1940). Emily’s father is Charles Webb, the town’s editor and a mediator in the cast who helps to oversee the town’s people and assist with telling the story of the town of Grover’s Corner (Foertsch, 2017). In addition, I believe that Emily does not appreciate the arduous work her mother puts in everyday to prepare the children for school.
Unfortunately, it is not until Emily’s death after she marries George, that she sees the effort her mother has put in for her to make everything right for her (Long, 2021). Emily is discouraged by the people in the cemetery about going back to look at her life again because they know that that will bring extreme heartbreak and sorrow to her, (which at that point, Emily can do nothing about it) (Long, 2021). Much to everyone’s dismay, Emily goes back to see herself and her family on her 16th birthday (Long, 2021). What she finds is that she is unappreciative, and no one looks anyone in the eye to make that personal connection with one another (Long, 2021).
Emily cries about the loss of her beloved family and says, “Momma, I’m here. I’m all grown up. I love you all, everything. I can’t look at everything hard enough,” (Long, 2021, p. 39). Emily is distraught and wants the family to acknowledge one another and recognize each other as important individuals who love each other and show it. Unfortunately, it never happens. Emily is left feeling empty and lost but realizes that she must return to the cemetery and continue her life as a spirit and she says, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? Every, every, minute?” (Long, 2021, p. 39).
As it is noted by Howard Sherman, (2018), shows the attitudes of those in the cemetery regarding the people they loved and lost, as Sherman states plainly, that we should make a difference in life while we are still able to and not wait until it is too late, (p. 46). Also, according to Sherman, (2018), goes on to say by quoting the stage manager at the end of the play, “the earth part of [us] burns away,” (p. 46). Meaning that at that time, there is no more time to appreciate, love, and care for those we are around, and we should do that while we still have time to do so.
1). Films Media Group. (1940). Our town. Films On Demand. Retrieved November 13, 2021, from https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wid=104983&xtid=56705.
2). Foertsch, Jacqueline. (2017). American Drama. Macmillan International Higher Education
3). Long, T. G. (2021, May 19). Is Our Town everybody’s town? The Christian Century, 138(10), 38.
4). Sherman, H. (2018). Something Eternal. American Theatre, 35(3), 44–46.
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