Our Town

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Dr. Gibbs Character Analysis

The father of George and Rebecca, husband of Mrs. Gibbs, and head of the Gibbs household. He is a kind and loving husband and father, though he prevents Mrs. Gibbs from even considering traveling to Europe, because he does not want to become discontented with Grover’s Corners. We first see Dr. Gibbs in the beginning of the play as he returns from assisting with the birth of a pair of twins and last see him bringing flowers to his wife’s grave, connecting him to the cycles of life and death that the play explores.

Dr. Gibbs Quotes in Our Town

The Our Town quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Gibbs or refer to Dr. Gibbs. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Theater Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Perennial edition of Our Town published in 2003.
Act 1 Quotes

They’re all getting citified, that’s the trouble with them.

Related Characters: Dr. Gibbs (speaker)
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

As the people of Grover's Corners adjust their lifestyles to changing times and technology, a cynical Doc Gibbs disapproves of his neighbors modernization, which he here refers to as "getting citified."

Doc Gibbs values the traditional, familiar aspects of his community and its lifestyle, and his dismissal of progress and modernization demonstrates the negative side of tradition: stubbornness and resistance to change, both good and bad. 

In addition to keeping with the traditional and the familiar, Doc Gibbs' assertion also betrays a genuine sense of fear. If the town urbanizes and effectively reinvents itself, it is possible that there will be less continuity and connection between the town's history -- the old way of life -- and its modernizing future. The trouble Doc Gibbs is mentioning is not only the looming threat that life as he knows it will become outdated, but that "old-fashioned" people, himself included, will also fade into the obsolete. 

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Act 2 Quotes

And how do you think I felt!—Frank, weddings are perfectly awful things. Farces,—that’s what they are!

Related Characters: Mrs. Gibbs (speaker), Dr. Gibbs
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

As George prepares to marry Emily, Mrs. Gibbs' angry and emotional denouncement of weddings, which she expresses outright to her own husband, is a poignant moment of rebellion against the very tradition she herself is apart of—marriage. 

Mrs. Gibbs' message is mixed: though she encourages George to go through with his marriage in spite of his doubts, though she says people are meant to go through life together in pairs as a means of avoiding loneliness, she also declares here that weddings are "perfectly awful" and "farces." 

In particular, Mrs. Gibbs' statement that marriage is a farce calls into question which of her many messages she truly believes in. We are left wondering whether her statement about marriage as a counter to loneliness is at all sincere, or whether she actually finds the institution unfulfilling and superficial. 

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Dr. Gibbs Character Timeline in Our Town

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Gibbs appears in Our Town. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
The Theater Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
The Everyday and the Ordinary Theme Icon
...and post office (combined in one building), schools, grocery store, and drugstore. He points out Dr. Gibbs ’ house and Mrs. Gibbs’ garden, as well as the house of Mr. Webb, the... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
The morning is just beginning, and Dr. Gibbs is returning to his house after helping a mother in the Polish neighborhood of town... (full context)
The Everyday and the Ordinary Theme Icon
...her own home. Outside, Joe Crowell walks down Main Street, delivering newspapers. Joe speaks with Dr. Gibbs, who asks if there is anything important in the newspaper. Joe replies that his schoolteacher... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
The Everyday and the Ordinary Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
...enters (with an invisible horse and cart), delivering milk to various houses. He talks to Dr. Gibbs and then delivers some milk to Mrs. Gibbs. Mrs. Gibbs calls for her kids to... (full context)
Marriage and the Family Theme Icon
...Mrs. Webb continue to call for their children to come to breakfast. Mrs. Gibbs tells Dr. Gibbs that their son George has not been helping with chores around the house lately. Mrs.... (full context)
The Everyday and the Ordinary Theme Icon
Marriage and the Family Theme Icon
...her children not to eat too quickly, while Mrs. Gibbs tells George she’ll speak to Dr. Gibbs about possibly raising his allowance. The kids finish breakfast and rush off to school. Mrs.... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
The Everyday and the Ordinary Theme Icon
...old dresser. She says that she would think about selling it if she knew that Dr. Gibbs would spend the money on a real vacation. She tells Mrs. Webb that she’s always... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Marriage and the Family Theme Icon
Dr. Gibbs, however, has said that he doesn’t want to travel in Europe, because “it might make... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
...and will use the same music they did for the last wedding they sang at. Dr. Gibbs calls George downstairs and asks him what he wants to do once he graduates from... (full context)
Marriage and the Family Theme Icon
Dr. Gibbs asks if George will be willing to do all the chores and work around the... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Marriage and the Family Theme Icon
Dr. Gibbs is upset that Mrs. Gibbs is arriving home so late (though she tells him it... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Marriage and the Family Theme Icon
...about her husband and wants him to make plans to take a break from work. Dr. Gibbs refuses to talk about this and goes inside. (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
...Gibbs mentions that people in Grover’s Corners have begun to lock their doors at night. Dr. Gibbs says that those people are, unfortunately, “getting citified.” Upstairs, George and Rebecca are talking in... (full context)
Act 2
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
...and tells Mrs. Webb that George and Emily will be very happy together, then leaves. Dr. Gibbs comes down to breakfast in his house and Mrs. Gibbs tells him that she is... (full context)
Marriage and the Family Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
Dr. Gibbs recalls Mrs. Gibbs’ and his wedding, saying that he was scared and nervous. Mrs. Gibbs... (full context)
Act 3
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
...his cousin and Joe says she died in childbirth. The funeral procession arrives, including George, Dr. Gibbs, and Mr. and Mrs. Webb. Mrs. Soames asks who died, and Mrs. Gibbs answers that... (full context)
The Theater Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
...living people as “shut up in little boxes.” The funeral ends and the mourners disperse. Dr. Gibbs brings some flowers to his wife’s grave, then leaves. (full context)