English 9 GT
June 10, 2013
Not everybody knows it, but time can go by pretty quickly, and people may not realize it.
There are those who do, and live life to the fullest, but there are those who don’t, and just go with where life takes them. In
, Thornton Wilder uses formal elements of drama and archetypes of the human experience to prove that humans live in a cloud of ignorance and waste time as if they own it, and they happily live in blind ignorance.
From an archetypal point of view, the Stage Manager represents God, who looks down
upon the human race and sees their mistakes, but at the same time gives them the free will to make them. This is demonstrated when Emily said, “Do any humans ever realize life while they live it? –every, minute?”(109) then the Stage Manager responds with “No. The saints and poets, maybe they do some.” This proves that the Stage Manager sees the mistakes of humans because it is obvious that he has seen it many times before by being able to answer Emily’s question. It also shows that he represents God because he had obviously overseen that saints and poets understanding the blind ignorance of humans. The Stage Manager, like a god, sees and is a part of the future, an example of this is when he knew the year of Doc Gibbs death yet the act took place in 1901 (7). Mrs. Gibbs represents the crushed dreams, because even though time has passed by 12 years, she still has not fulfilled her dreams of going to Paris. She is still a housewife in Grover’s Corners, and this is because she thinks that time is hers to waste. In Act I, during her conversation with Mrs. Webbs, she says, “Y’know, Myrtle, it’s been the dream of my life to see
Paris, France.” But in Act II, the Stage Manager clearly states that Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webbs
“come down to make breakfast, just as though it were an ordinary day.” (1949). Emily and Joe
Crowell represent the wasted potential. They both were one of the smartest people of their classes, but they died before they could put their education to use. Joe was going to grow up to be an engineer, and got a scholarship to Massachusetts Tech., but he died in the war in France.
As the Stage Manager says, “All that education for nothing” (9). As for Emily, she was the brightest girl in school for her age, and had a wonderful memory. But then she got married to
George and died during childbirth. (1592). In this society, most women end up as ordinary housewives, no matter how much education they get. In the end, the only things that they need to know are how to cook, sew, clean, do laundry, etc.
The Stage Manager, used as a formal element of drama in this situation, sets the setting which is similar in the beginning of all acts. The beginning of Act I starts with the time being just before dawn, around 5:45 A.M. In Act II, the first time setting is also around 5:45 A.M. and then changes to 3:00 P.M. In Act III, the part where Emily revisits her birthday, the time is also