This article argues that the New Jersey setting of The Skin of Our Teeth is more than a sequence of stock images and backgrounds. It is likely that, in constructing the play, Thornton Wilder drew from personal experiences during the years he spent living in New Jersey. Wilder provides evidence to suggest that the real-world inspiration for Excelsior, New Jersey, was Plainfield, New Jersey, and that the three crises that the Antrobus family experiences in the play were influenced by the harsh winters Wilder experienced living in New Jersey, hurricanes which affected the Jersey Shore in the years prior to Wilder’s return to New Jersey, and cultural panic about a domestic mainland attack on U.S. soil during the U-boat crisis. Viewing the setting of The Skin of Our Teeth as deeply rooted in the history of New Jersey and the United States allows the Antrobus family to be seen as representative of a changing America.

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