Monday, November 2, 2009

Student Writing: the play Our Town as an example of consciousness-based writing

An Analysis of Our Town, by Paul D.

The three acts of the play Our Town, “The Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death” embody the Samhita of Rishi, Devata, and Chhandas. The first act is represented by Chhandas, due to the steady structure of the act. Act II represents Devata for the fiery passion and the development of the plot. The third and last act is Rishi because it takes place on the hill with air and space all around. Also, there is unboundedness because the people that have passed away are no longer bound to earth.

In Act I, the basic concepts of the play and the main characters are introduced. Throughout this act a clear base is established for the rest of the play. The quality of a stable base is represented by Chhandas. The audience learns about the normal routines of the town and how the people in it function everyday. The stage manager portrays life in this small town very well by including minute details. An example of this is that he knows who is delivering papers, when the train is coming and the fact that “a Polish mother’s just had twins.” Also, in this act, the stage manager talks about the whole history of the town.

The second act of Our Town adds some action and gives the play some flavor. In the first act, when George and Emily are together, they give a hint that the reader will be seeing more of them. Pitta is the most predominate aspect in the second act because the reader sees and feels the fire, abundant in the form of passion, between George and Emily, which results in their marriage. The marriage is the most important part of this act because it brings some wholeness and purpose to the second act. The details of their marriage also give the reader the feeling of real life, with all its superstitions and traditions. In this act, the reader also learns many new things about different characters and gains further insight into who they are and what motivates them.

The Rishi qualities predominate in the third and final act, “Death.” In this act, the knower qualities of the dead people are demonstrated by their all-knowing wisdom of the living. This is shown when Emily goes back to her old life and realizes that everything moves so fast and no one ever slows down to appreciate what they have. Air and space are the two elements of Rishi, and they are shown throughout this entire act. The act takes place in a wide-open area of space on top of a hill overlooking the entire countryside. Also, the dead people don’t have any sense of time anymore. Their experience of time when they are dead is similar to the experience of time while in the transcendent. The time is still there, it just feels as if it isn’t because of the unboundedness of their body. They use their time to enjoy the beauty of the world and are amazed at the ignorance of the people who are living in it.

The three acts of Our Town are connected perfectly to create maximum wholeness just as Samhita does with the three doshas. Each act builds upon the previous one by giving just enough information to expand their perspective and get a vision of what is really going on in this town. The final act leaves the reader with a question – who am I and how do I look at my world and my life? In this way, Our Town is a play that has great significance to every reader in a different way. For me, it taught me to start paying more attention to my surroundings and appreciate what I have in my life.

A note by Tom Kepler: The Samhita of Rishi, Devata, and Chhandas is a Vedic reference about how the Unified Field of existence is a "three-in-one reality," that unity becoming diversity first becomes aware of Itself. Rishi is the knower, Devata is the process of knowing, and Chhandas is the object of knowing or perception. This concept provides an angle for a consciousness-based analysis of literature: structure and setting (Chhandas), plot and conflict (Devata), and point of view and character (Rishi). The interplay of these qualities create the wholeness of the piece of literature.

Copyright 2009 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved

Publication of student writing on this blog does not compromise, destroy, or obviate publication rights on electronic or any other media worldwide. Copyright 2009, all rights reserved.


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