In Thorton Wilder's play; Our Town the action is centered around two main characters: George and Emily, and have a large group of people revolving in and out of their lives, with little to no effect on them.
In the opening act, Georges" father shows himself to be an industrious and hardworking man. The stage manager makes a point of stating that Dr. Gibbs has been up all night performing his duties: " There's Doc Gibbs comin" down Main Street now, comin" back from that baby case. Got the call at half past one this morning." (6-7) Well-educated and knowledgeable, having studied to be a doctor, a powerful father figure such as Dr. Gibbs should have some effect on George, but apparently he does not. George is content to live a simple, uneducated life, and be a farm worker and pass on the prestige and social position of a doctor.
Joe Crowell, Jr. is another character that juxtaposes Georges" potential and the choices he makes. Joe is a newspaper boy in a small New Hampshire town, and he decides to go to college, albeit under slightly different circumstances; " Joe was awful bright- graduated from high school here, head of his class. So he got a scholarship to Massachusetts Tech. Graduated head of his class there, too." (SM 9) While George may not have been on the same level, intellectually, as him, Joe knew the importance of higher education, and Joe was from much more meager roots. George had plenty of opportunity and reason to go to college, but decides against it. The family and societal pressure to go to college should have at least given George pause.
On a small scale, George's parents exert some influence on George. In Act II George tries to escape his house into the rain, but his mother demands he puts on rain gear. Once in the Webb household, he begins to ignore his (soon to be) parents-in-law. Mrs. Webb tells George he can not see Emily before the wedding, but he insists just the same.