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Small town life: White men and the rest

To the people in Grover’s Corner they are indigenous Critical Indigenous Theory Critical White Theory

The indigenous people were not socially capable enough to survive.

Different groups of people are separated socially.

Critical Sociocultural Theory

Social Indigenous Theory
“The earliest tombstones in the cemetery up there on the mountain say 1670-1680 – they’re Grovers and Cartwrights and Gibbses and “The effect of the play is reality of imagination rather than Herseys – same names as are around here reality” (“Thornton Wilder, by Dayton Kohler) now”(Wilder 6).
The well known families in the town are now what are considered the indigenous people in the town. For the people in Grover’s Corner the towns history starts at 1670. In reality life was going on in Grover’s Corner before the immigrant families arrived there, because the Cotahatchees were living there, but in the modern towns peoples “imaginations” they were the first ones living there.

People in Grover’s Corner all think themselves as Indigenous peoples. Their families have lived there for such a long time they have taken on the role of Indigenous families.

Social White Theory
White people are the dominant race in Grover’s Corner. The town is full if white Anglo-Saxon protestants who are successful and educated. “We’re lower middle class: sprinkling of professional men… ten per cent illiterate laborers” (Wilder 24) “His plays celebrate human love, the worth and dignity of man, the values of man, the values of ordinary, and the eternity of human values.” (“Thornton Wilder and the Tragic Sense of Life,” by Robert W. Corrigan168)

The character’s in the book are what a social white theorist would look at “Average People.” Grover’s Corner population is made up of mostly white middle class AngloSaxon protestants. The people in this book are referred to as “man” assuming that they are all white. The “illiterate laborers” were not even considered “men” just workers. The illiterate laborers are probably from a different culture and probably are not white.

Critical Sociocultural Theory
Cultures other than the white AngloSaxon culture in Grover’s Corner are both physically and mentally separate.
“Yes…anthropological data: Early Amerindian stock. Cotahatchee tribes…no evidence before the tenth century of this era…hm…now entirely disappeared… possible traces in three families” (Wilder 22).

“Tensions and conflicts…were brought out…Cultural patterns and traditions were also revealed” (“A Project on ‘Our Town” for Communication Classes,” by Walter J. Engler 153)

If a person is not a western European immigrant the Grover’s Corner separates them from themselves. The Cotachee tribe has become extinct because they were not are superior as the white folk, all but traces have disappeared. Also the Polish people are physically separated by the train tracks. The town has been mostly


White is the dominant race in Grover’s Corner. The white people of the town believe they are superior, people that are not like them are not even considered “men.” The people who were illiterate were labeled laborers and the people from Poland were just known as the Polish. There is a clear separation from the White folk and everyone else. The white people of Grover’s Corner believe they are so superior that they are the indigenous people of the area despite the fact that the Cotahatchee tribe lived there before anyone else. The Grover’s Corner people have grown to accept these ways because it is a tradition and as it has always been. Since whites had arrived in Grover’s Corner they have always considered themselves better.