Coldest day in August, really?

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"The coldest day of the year right in the middle of August, and you let the fire go out." (12)

 

Wilder's comic and yet bizarre approach to satire in his play, The Skin of Our Teeth, made it a difficult start for me to get into this play.  Once I got moving though, it seemed still a very strange sense of approach that Wilder takes to get his message of the struggles of humanity through to the audience.  His use of all of the famous historical events that most people are at least aware of, if not totally educated on, he counts on our association with these things.  With the quote above Wilder gives a sense that most of the audience is going to think he is off his rocker to say that a day in August is one the coldest days, and who would have a fire going on a day in August, when normally we experience the hottest days of summer.  The sense of puzzlement and confusion set in immediately to me, and I feel most people would think the same.  But if we are following Wilder's set up, he is showing you that his character's statements, such as through Sabina "I don't understand a single work of it, anyway, - all about the troubles of the human race has gone through, there's a subject for you.  Besides, the author hasn't made up his silly mind as to whether we're all living back in caves or in the New Jersey today, and that's the way it is all the way through."  (11)  Wilder's use of repeated statements, settings, etc., such as repeating that it's cold in Act 1, such as the dinosaur says, "It's cold." (15), shows that like the continued life cycle repetition we must always keep that desire to continue on, such as his reference not to let the fire die out, or we die.  Wilder uses certain settings, words, names, weather, characters and events in history and pulls them all together into this crazy little play by appealing to each person in the audience.  Wilder is showing through all of these we all will have a personal story, maybe not directly related due to the era it came from but that we can relate it to, by use of dinosaurs and mammoths, the invention of the wheel, the ice age, depressions, wars, and his characters stopping the play and speaking to the audience.  In all of these methods he is showing that even through each catastrophe humanity can pull through it somehow as long as they desire to.  Wilder shows that the way of pulling through each disaster in time is through Mr. Antrobus and his speeches, such as "We've come along ways.  We've learned. We're learning.  And the steps of our journey are marked for us here."  Wilder's depiction of the many struggles in life, and through all of these time eras proves that it may be a difficult battle for humanity to continue climbing upward but we must never lose that desire to start building again and to begin again.   

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