Quotes from Our Town

Thornton Wilder ·  181 pages

Rating: (38.5K votes)


“Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“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.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“EMILY: "Does anyone ever realize life while they live it...every, every minute?"

STAGE MANAGER: "No. Saints and poets maybe...they do some.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Only it seems to me that once in your life before you die you ought to see a country where they don't talk in English and don't even want to.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town



“Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover's Corners... Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking... and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“People are meant to go through life two by two. ’Tain’t natural to be lonesome.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“I want you to try and remember what it was like to have been very young.
And particularly the days when you were first in love; when you were like a person sleepwalking, and you didn’t quite see the street you were in, and didn’t quite hear everything that was said to you.
You’re just a little bit crazy. Will you remember that, please?”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Yes, now you know. Now you know! That's what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those...of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another. Now you know — that's the happy existence you wanted to go back to. Ignorance and blindness.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Wherever you come near the human race there’s layers and layers of nonsense.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town



“Look at that moon. Potato weather for sure.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Simon Stimson: "...That's what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Let's really look at one another!...It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed... Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover's Corners....Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking....and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths....and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every,every minute? (Emily)”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“There are the stars--doing their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven't settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings out there. Just chalk... or fire. Only this one is straining away, straining away all the time to make something of itself. Strain's so bad that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town



“Does anybody realize what life is
while they're living it- every, every minute?”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Y'know — Babylon once had two million people in it, and all we know about 'em is the names of the kings and some copies of wheat contracts . . . and contracts for the sale of slaves. Yet every night all those families sat down to supper, and the father came home from his work, and the smoke went up the chimney,— same as here. And even in Greece and Rome, all we know about the real life of the people is what we can piece together out of the joking poems and the comedies they wrote for the theatre back then.
So I'm going to have a copy of this play put in the cornerstone and the people a thousand years from now'll know a few simple facts about us — more than the Treaty of Versailles and the Lind-bergh flight.
See what I mean?
So — people a thousand years from now — this is the way we were in the provinces north of New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. — This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying.

Said by the Stage Manager
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“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.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Once in a thousand times, it's interesting.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“You've got to love life to have life, and you've got to have life to love life.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town



“Y'know Babylon once had two million people
in it, and all we know about 'em is the names of the kings and some copies of wheat contracts . . . and contracts for the sale of slaves. Yet every night all those families sat down to supper, and the father came home from his work, and the smoke went up the chimney, same as here. And even in Greece and Rome, all we know about the real life of the people is what we can piece together out of the joking poems and the comedies they wrote for the theatre back then.
So I'm going to have a copy of this play put in the cornerstone and the people a thousand years from now'll know a few simple facts about us more than the Treaty of Versailles and the Lind-bergh flight. See what I mean?
So people a thousand years from now this is the way we were in the provinces north of New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Do human beings ever realize life while they live it ?-every, every minute?”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


“Everybody has a right to their own troubles.”
― Thornton Wilder, quote from Our Town


About the author

Thornton Wilder
Born place: in Madison, Wisconsin, The United States
Born date April 17, 1897
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