We All Die, But We Don’t All Live
Do you go through life “as though you had a million years” (Our Town)? It’s okay to say yes because most people do. Most people don’t realize how short life is until they are faced with death themselves. Is this truly a “happy existence” (Our Town)? Are “Ignorance and blindness” really the best way to go through life (Our Town)? Or should we face our mortality and live everyday to the fullest? Using the text of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town I shall explore the answers to these questions and more.
In Thornton Wilder’s Our Town Emily ask, “ Do any human being ever realize life while they live it?” and the Stage Manager replies “No” (Our Town). The truth is most people don’t realize how fragile life is. Any second someone’s life could end, and every second someone in the world’s life does. Yet people continue to take risk and live life as if they have all the time in the world. Why do they do this? I believe people all want to be “beautiful fools” (the Great Gatsby). We try to ignore what we know to be true to keep our lives happy and care free. Our lives continue to go on even though the threat of death lingers in the air. When my mother was sick, instead of letting her illness control my life I acted like a fool and went on with my life like she would be in the kitchen making dinner when I got home.
When a close friend of mine’s father died she was caught off guard. It never occurred to her that her father might not be there to see her graduate. Would she have been better if she had known he was going to die. In Our Town Emily, who has recently died, gets a chance to relive part of her life though she remembers everything that happens afterward. She is tormented by her knowledge of the future and soon wishes to return to the grave. As she cries over her memories she says, “I didn’t realize” (Our Town). She realizes that while she wishes to return to be with her loved ones, having knowledge of the future was to high a price...