Our Town


Thornton Wilder

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“Blessed Be the Tie That Binds” Symbol Analysis

“Blessed Be the Tie That Binds” Symbol Icon

This hymn shows up several times throughout Our Town. The church choir practices it in Act One, while a choir sings it at George and Emily’s wedding in Act Two. The song is also performed at Emily’s funeral in Act Three, and she comments to Mrs. Gibbs that it was her favorite hymn. As the hymn’s title suggests, it symbolizes the importance of a community that is connected together through various ties. Our Town is an examination of the tight-knit community of Grover’s Corners, which is itself made up of the close communities of individual families. The hymn celebrates these connections—such as marriage—that build strong families and a strong town community.

However, the song can also have a darker significance. It is perhaps ironic in Act Two, as it is sung just as Emily is panicking and saying that she does not want to be bound to George in marriage. In this context, the song is almost menacing, as Emily has little choice but to be connected to George. And in the cemetery of Act Three, the real tie that binds all of us together seems to be our inevitable mortality, as we all die and end up in a cemetery just like the deceased characters. Still, the hymn is, overall, an affirmation of the family and community groups in the play bound together by various ties of family, friendship, and love.

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“Blessed Be the Tie That Binds” Symbol Timeline in Our Town

The timeline below shows where the symbol “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds” appears in Our Town. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Community Theme Icon
...finishes his speech, a choir partially off-stage has begun to sing a song called “ Blessed Be the Tie That Binds .” This is the local church choir, directed by Simon Stimson. Meanwhile, Emily and George... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
The Everyday and the Ordinary Theme Icon
...anything is troubling her and she says no. He walks into his house, whistling “ Blessed Be the Tie That Binds .” (full context)
Act 2
Community Theme Icon
Marriage and the Family Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
Emily enters, but is frightened. The choir begins to sing “ Blessed Be the Tie That Binds .” Mr. Webb tries to comfort Emily, who says that she hates George and wishes... (full context)
Act 3
Community Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
...wedding and how intelligent Emily was in school. A group at the funeral sings “ Blessed Be the Tie That Binds .” As the casket is put into the ground, Emily enters and joins the deceased... (full context)