Current table of contents: Preparation for Life
Thornton Wilder's Our Town provides an intense look at daily routine in a New Hampshire town early in the twentieth century. The audience is invited to reflect on the cycle of life, to see passing moments within the context of years, decades, whole lifetimes, and beyond.
The second act of Our Town is about love and marriage. Some schools earn a reputation of being like shoe factories: "We turn them out in pairs." In the play, the magic time was graduation from high school. Hardly eighteen years old, they would fall in love (should that be "climb into love"?) and commit marriage, believing that they were prepared for life and all it would throw at them.
Today, the matrimonial shoe factories are colleges and universities. Our new graduates are four years older than their turn-of-the-century counterparts. Are they any better prepared for life? Certainly the parents at weddings today are just as nervous. It used to be that life held two certainties, death and taxes. Now there are two more, complexity and change. The rate of change is accelerating. Complexity is compounded by the many voices that declare what is right and what is good for us.
One of the characters in Our Town shares with the groom advice that he had received on his wedding day. He then admits that he did just the opposite, and has got along just fine. Are you thinking of marriage? Take a look at the advice, the values and perspectives offered by television. Do the opposite, and you should get along just fine!