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MonkeyNotes-Our Town by Thornton Wilder
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Act II, Section 4

Summary

The Stage Manager claps his hands to signal the end of the flashback; he then zooms back to the wedding day of George and Emily. In order to create the feel of a church, he alters the stage props and announces he will serve as the minister during the wedding. He then watches as the guests begin to take their seats in the pews. Finally, he seizes the opportunity to comment about life and marriage. He states that people are meant to live "two by two," verifying what Mrs. Gibbs has observed earlier in the act. He also adds that children come from marriages and that "every child born into the world is nature's attempt to make a perfect human being." These words are a flashback to Emily's desire to find a perfect man for a husband.

Attention is turned to Mrs. Webb, who seems rather nervous and upset. She has been crying since morning, sad that her only daughter is leaving home. She is also worried that Emily does not know enough about life, men, or marriage. Since she has not told her daughter about the facts of life, she hopes that maybe some of her friends have prepared her. Attention is then turned to George. Three of his baseball friends are teasing him about getting married and losing his innocence. The Stage Manager intervenes and cheerfully pushes the teasing boys off stage.


The choir starts singing, "Love divine, all love excelling." George enters the church, stares at the congregation, and then withdraws. His mother, sensing his confusion, approaches him. George obviously has the pre-wedding jitters. He says that he does not want to get old and fears taking up the responsibilities that marriage entails. Mrs. Gibbs scolds him for shaming her and behaving in such an indecisive manner at the final moment. George manages to overcome his momentary bout of anxiety and tells his mother that things are going to be fine. He promises that he and Emily will come over to dinner every Thursday night.

The choir is now sings, "Blessed be the tie that binds." Emily enters on stage in her white wedding gown. As she nears the congregation, she has her own moment of apprehension and calls for her father, who joins her. She tells him that she does not want to marry George; instead, she wants to go away with him. Mr. Webb calms her down by assuring her that George will take care of her. He then hands her to her future husband. George also assures his bride that he will always love and care for her.

The wedding march begins to play, signaling the start of the ceremony. The Stage Manager conducts the wedding service, binding Emily and George in the holy sacrament of marriage. As they say their vows, Mrs. Soames loudly proclaims that this is the loveliest wedding she has ever seen. The Stage Manager, as minister, comments that he has conducted over 200 weddings, each interesting and different in its own way; but a wedding is always followed by daily routine, which ends in death. He then orders the band to play as Emily and George turn toward the congregation. Mrs. Soames again expresses her happiness over the lovely wedding. She is sure that Emily and George will make a great married couple. She claims, "The important thing is to be happy." As the bride and groom descend hand-in-hand from the stage into the auditorium, the Stage Manager formally announces the end of the act.

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MonkeyNotes-Our Town by Thornton Wilder
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