This article offers, as one approach to teaching Thornton Wilder’s plays, looking at Wilder’s remarks on the craft of playwriting. These essays, which are not as well-known as his creative works, can also serve to demonstrate for students the qualities which distinguish drama from fiction and poetry. The article also attempts to establish that Wilder is a far more complex and ambivalent playwright than the purveyor of a Norman Rockwell-like pollyannaish vision for which he is often criticized.

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