Our Town


Thornton Wilder

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The Grover’s Corners Sentinel Symbol Analysis

The Grover’s Corners Sentinel Symbol Icon
The Sentinel is the local newspaper of Grover’s Corners, edited by Mr. Webb. Joe and Si Cromwell deliver it to people’s doors in all three acts, and the townspeople decide to include a copy in the time capsule buried under the new bank building. A newspaper is supposed to report on important (literally “newsworthy”) events. The Sentinel is thus associated with the major events that one normally thinks are most important in life. However, somewhat comically, there is not much to report on in Grover’s Corners. In Act One, Dr. Gibbs asks if there is any major news in the paper and Joe Crowell tells him that his schoolteacher is getting married. In Act Three, Mr. Webb wants to write a story about a man being rescued from freezing to death, even though Constable Warren tells him it was really not a major event. The newspaper can thus be seen, on one hand, as symbolizing the fact that there is nothing particularly newsworthy about Grover’s Corners, an ordinary and rather dull town. At the same time, the play stresses the importance of everyday, ordinary things, and so the fact that the town newspaper captures these things can be taken as a sign of their actual critical importance.
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The Grover’s Corners Sentinel Symbol Timeline in Our Town

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Grover’s Corners Sentinel 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
...garden, as well as the house of Mr. Webb, the editor of Grover’s Corners’ local newspaper. He says that the town is nice, but unremarkable. (full context)
The Everyday and the Ordinary Theme Icon
...to make breakfast in 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.... (full context)
The Theater Theme Icon
The Everyday and the Ordinary Theme Icon
...the “political and social report” on the town (since he is editor of the local newspaper). Mrs. Webb tells him that Mr. Webb will be there in a minute, as he... (full context)
The Everyday and the Ordinary Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
...preserve for posterity. They are including a copy of the New York Times, the local newspaper, Shakespeare’s plays, the Bible, and the U.S. Constitution. The stage manager reflects that we know... (full context)
Act 2
Time, Change, and Continuity Theme Icon
...in act one. He runs into Si Crowell, Joe’s younger brother who now delivers the newspaper in Grover’s Corners. Si says it’s too bad that the town’s best baseball player, George... (full context)
Act 3
The Everyday and the Ordinary Theme Icon
...out in the snow. Mr. Webb exclaims that he must write about it in the newspaper, but Warren tells him it wasn’t a big deal. (full context)