Our Town delivers a message for how we should live our lives: to the fullest. We should appreciate every moment because we never get a second chance. The play jumps from Emily’s wedding day to her funeral in the blink of an eye, emphasizing the idea that our lives are fleeting.
Our Town is clearly a representation - and largely a celebration - of small-town American life. Nearly every character in the play loves Grover's Corners, even as many of them acknowledge its small-mindedness and dullness. Its sleepy simplicity, in fact, is its major point of attraction for many characters. Dr. Gibbs, for instance, who refuses to travel, thus cultivates his ignorance of life outside of Grover's Corners in order to remain content within it; his son, too, decides not to go away to college because everything he could want is available at home.
Of course this staunchly conservative position creates some of the major problems in the play. Mrs. Gibbs and her daughter have much interest in the outside world - Mrs. Gibbs would love to travel, and Rebecca innocently wonders about the moon and the larger world - and this desire to escape the confines of Grover's Corners puts them at odds with the homebodies in the family. Simon Stimson provides a more forceful negative example of the stifling effects of Grover's Corners: he turns to the bottle in order to escape the monotony of everyday life in the small town, while his "good Christian neighbors" turn a blind eye.
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An answer may be found without straying beyond the experience of every man and woman, and that answer hides within it a suggestion of the deeper truth that underlies it. After a week or a month of hurried town-life, of small excitements, of striving for the little triumphs of social life, of the eagerness of petty hopes, the pain of petty disappointments, of the friction arising from the jarring of our selfish selves with other selves equally selfish; after this, if we go far away from this hum and buzz of life into silent mountain solitudes where are sounding only the natural harmonies that seem to blend with rather than to break the silence - the rushing of the waterfall swollen by last night’s rain, the rustle of the leaves under the timid feet of the hare, the whisper of the stream to the water-hen as she slips out of the reeds, the murmur of the eddy where it laps against the pebbles on the bank, the hum of the insects as they brush through the tangle of the grasses, the suck of the fish as they hang in the pool beneath the shade; there, where the mind sinks into a calm, soothed by the touch of Nature far from man, what aspect have the follies, the exasperations, of the social whirl of work and play, seen through that atmosphere surcharged with peace? What does it matter if in some small strife we failed or we succeeded? What does it matter that we were slighted by one, praised, by another? We regain perspective by our distance from the whirlpool, by our isolation from its tossing waters, and we see how small a part these outer things should play in the true life of man.