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Thornton Wilder

Thornton Wilder, 1931. (ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Major works:
The Bridge of San Luis ReyOur TownThe Skin of Our TeethThe Ides of MarchThe Eighth Day

Excerpt from

Our Town

Thornton Wilder

Now there are some things we all know, but we don’t take’m out and look at’m very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being. (Pause.) You know as well as I do that the dead don’t stay interested in us living people for very long. Gradually, gradually, they lose hold of the earth . . . and the ambitions they had . . . and the pleasures they had . . . and the things they suffered . . . and the people they loved.
They get weaned away from earth—that’s the way I put it,—weaned away.
And they stay here while the earth part of ‘em burns away, burns out; and all that time they slowly get indifferent to what’s goin’ on in Grover’s Corners.

Read a passage from Our Town by Thornton Wilder
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