WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS:MORE SAMPLE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” BY OSCAR WILDE(91)

CONTINUED FROM  WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS:SAMPLE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” BY OSCAR WILDE(90)

  WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS:MORE SAMPLE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” BY OSCAR WILDE(91)7.What is a literary classic and why are these classic works important to the world?

A literary classic is a work of the highest excellence that has something important to say about life and/or the human condition and says it with great artistry. A classic, through its enduring presence, has withstood the test of time and is not bound by time, place, or customs. It speaks to us today as forcefully as it spoke to people one hundred or more years ago, and as forcefully as it will speak to people of future generations. For this reason, a classic is said to have universality.
Oscar Wilde [1854-1900] wrote in a variety of literary forms and genres, including poetry, short stories, plays, fairy tales, comedies, and literary criticism. Among his well-known works are The Picture of Dorian Gray [1891], Lady Windermere’s Fan [1892], and The Importance of Being Earnest [1895]. The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde’s comical play, written with satirical wit and sarcasm, has lasted through the years, showing many generations the beauty and ease of his writing ability. In referring to this play, Wilde stated: “It has as its philosophy…that we should treat all the trivial things of life seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality.”

8.Compare and Contrast Play vs. Film: Importance of Being Earnest

Watching a reproduction of a classic in a different format, such as a play turned to a movie, enhances the understanding of the original work by giving the audience a different perspective of what the author originally intended to show. Also, it may solidify the original intention of the author, since movies are technologically rich and more dynamic than plays. Hence, that which is funny and new in a play may result more funny and more new in a movie.
The Importance of Being Earnest was like the “Mega Movie” of its day. It was THE most important and popular play of 1895. Everyone who was somebody went to the St. James’s theater on Valentine’s day for its premiere. Even those reporters and critics who had a grudge against Wilde since his 1890 publication of The Picture of Dorian Gray had to give credit where credit was due: the witty dialogues, the situational irony, and the peculiar comments of The Importance of Being Earnest deserved the praise that they got from all Victorians.
However, that was 1895. A lot of the humor that Wilde employs in his dialogue is colloquial and typical of that time period. Some of the language is over-used since it is meant to be a comedy of manners set in a fashionable part of the very fancy London West End. Therefore, the modern, American reader may find it very hard to connect the humor that Wilde used with today’s use of monikers, sarcasm, and irony.
The film The Importance of Being Earnest had a very impressive cast that included British luminaries Colin Firth and Ruper Everett as Jack and Algy. This was the same effect that, in 1895, George Alexander and Allan Aynesworth caused in his audiences due to their own popularity.
The benefit of having a powerful cast interpret so convoluted characters such as Jack and Algy is that the actors in the movie are able to say more, express more, and have more freedom to use non-verbal cues to help the audience understand the humor. Also, since the actors do not have to follow the strict parameters set by stage directions, they can avoid any potential misrepresentation of the character by adding on more traits that enforce what Wilde originally intended. For instance Everett made Algy even more libertine and used his voice to emphasize the extent to which Algy REALLY did not care about measuring the consequences of his actions.
Moreover, the female actresses gave a wonderful rendition of the typical aristocrat snobby debutantes and their mothers, and the characteristic oblivion of the upper-classes was even more evident in film that they could ever be in theatrical form. Therefore, the freedom of the actors to re-interpret their roles outside of the parameters placed by Wilde’s stage directions certainly help the audience to perceive the character from a more, in-depth perspective, hence allowing them to understand the characterization better.

9.What does it mean to be true to one’s self in The Importance of Being Earnest? in what ways our self is a product of nature? and in what ways is it nurtured?

Nature versus Nurture is the debate that has always puzzled everyone, from scientists to philosophers. Are we genetically and physically prone to be and behave in a certain way, or is our upbringing  what ultimately determines our fate?

In the play The Importance of Being Earnest the debate of nature versus nurture would apply to the characters of Algernon and Jack in a very interesting way.  Algernon, always well-bred and belonging to a family of aristocratic pedigree, has never lacked a thing in his life. Yet, he has developed bad behaviors in which he lives above his means, over eats, and does his best to never hold responsibilities. He is careless about his family, or his obligations. He also leads a happy double life.

 Contrastingly, we have Jack: No less mischievous than Algernon, he is not aware that he is actually Algernon’s older brother, and a part of the Moncrieff family. Yet, although he grew up without his natural family around him, he still developed quite similarly to Algernon in terms of his tendency to over eat, overspend, and cause trouble. However, Jack was able to develop a sense of responsibility over Cecily and her estate, which is what sets him apart from Algernon.

This being said, would  Algernon and Jack developed with more similarities had they been raised together? Or was their behavior already bound to occur simply because they belonged to a specific bloodline? Since it is nearly impossible to come up with an accurate answer, it is safe to argue that both men were the products of their own decision making processes and that both nature and nurture certainly must have played a role in such them. They are equally important

10.In The Importance of Being Earnest what do we learn about Algernon’s relationship with his servant Lane from their conversation about marriage?

Act I of The Importance of Being Earnest begins with Algernon Moncrieff playing his piano, whether “accurately” or not, while his manservant, Lane, enters the scene. While the two men only engage in dialogue in Act I, and this is not an extensive dialogue, a lot can be inferred from the level of tolerance that both men display toward each other, even when the things they talk about are on the harsh side, maybe even demeaning from one part to another.

The men’s discussion of topic of marriage, one of Wilde’s favorite points of mockery, stems from a discussion about champagne. The idea behind juxtaposing champagne to marriage is to bring out the irony behind courtship: the feeling of ecstasy caused by the drunkenness of love is as ephemeral as the drunkenness caused by alcohol. Hence, the question is: is love a real feeling or a passing emotion?

        Lane.  I attribute it to the superior quality of the wine, sir.  I have often observed that in married households the champagne is rarely of a first-rate brand.

        Algernon.  Good heavens!  Is marriage so demoralising as that?

Back to the relationship between Lane and Algy, notice the flat affect in the conversation between the two. Even when the men seem to agree in most of the things that they discuss, it is clear that the men do not match. Lane is older and middle class while Algy is fashionable, young, and wild. This is an uncommon practice among upper class Victorians, who would want a servant to match and serve as their shadow; someone who would know their tastes, and indulge their whims.

However, it is clear that Algernon lived above his means. He did not have “ready money”, had lots of creditors, ran high bills, and tended to run out of town whenever responsibilities reached him. The conclusion out of all this is simple: Lane is the only manservant Algernon could afford. The fact that the men were unfit for each other makes their flat relationship make sense. Algernon did not care for Lane any more than Lane cared for Algernon.

        Algernon.  [Languidly.]  I don’t know that I am much interested in your family life, Lane.

        Lane.  No, sir; it is not a very interesting subject.  I never think of it myself.

        Algernon.  Very natural, I am sure.  That will do, Lane, thank you.

Another role that Lane fulfills is that of an accomplice. Lane is obviously so attuned to Algy that he finishes the lies that Algernon starts. He easily follows along Algernon’s lie about the cucumber sandwiches that were intended for Lady Bracknell, but that Algernon ate himself. Lane is also aware of Algernon’s Bumburying and even knows the wardrobe that Algernon prefers to use when he goes about town leading his double life.

Hence, it is clear that, although the men are awkwardly matched in terms of age, lifestyle, and experience, Lane neither condones nor condemns Algy’s comments or behaviors regardless how demeaning or amoral they are. The men may very well be interdependent on each other: while Algernon provides Lane a home and a salary, the latter in turn provides a non-listening ear and a quick alibi for whatever trouble Algernon gets into. It is the perfect match for Algernon’s lifestyle, at least.

11.What are the main characters’ motivations in The Impor  WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS:MORE SAMPLE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” BY OSCAR WILDE(91)tance of being Earnest?

That’s an interesting question, in that the motivations of everyone in this play are what push the plot forward.  Not every play is like that; many have external events providing the main push for the action.  But in this play, while there are silly coincidences and events which do move the plot along, the motivations of everyone are so clearly the point of the play that the events seem less important.

 Jack Worthing wants more than one thing; he wants to go to town and be a gad-about, and generally get up to no good, but also to preserve his reputation and be a good example for his young ward Cecily.  So, because he wants to have it both ways, he invents his fictitious brother Earnest to cover up his indiscretions.

 Jack also wants to marry Gwendolyn Fairfax.  Gwendolyn wants to marry Jack.  Lady Bracknell, Gwendolyn’s mother does not want Gwendolyn to marry Jack because he is “unsuitable”.  Lady Bracknell’s motivations are to protect her daughter and to uphold convention.

 Cecily wants to marry Algernon.  Without getting too much into the complications of the play, Algernon wants to marry Cecily, but when he meets Cecily and falls in love with her he is posing as the (fictitious) brother of Jack, Earnest.  You can imagine the hijinks which ensue, but the motivations of both Algernon and Cecily are to marry each other.  Algernon has a secondary motivation which results in his fictitious friend Bunbury.  He has created this imaginary friend so that he can get out of social obligations, especially avoiding his aunt Lady Bracknell.

The Reverend Chasuble wants to marry Miss Prism.  Miss Prism wants to marry the Reverend Chasuble.  There are some complications because Miss Prism has a slightly scandalous past (involving Lady Bracknell), but Miss Prism’s and Rev. Chasuble’s desires are essentially simple.

 As you can see, Lady Bracknell is, essentially, the fly in the ointment for everyone.  When her desires are resolved everyone else’s are, too.  Wilde plotted this comedy perfectly, with everyone’s wants dependent on someone else’s.  When the snags are removed, everything comes out right in the end.

12.What is the significance of the title “The Importance of Being Earnest”?

 It’s kind of ironic since none of the characters are earnest, but beyond that, I’m not entirely sure.

Oscar Wilde’s wildly popular play The Importance of Being Earnest calls upon a long English theatrical tradition epitomized by William Shakespeare: the use of double and sometimes triple meanings. On one level, you may say that the characters are not “earnest” in their behaviors; that they are all frivolous and irresponsible. This would be on the satircal level; the level at which Wilde is poking fun at the ridiculousness he sees in English society of his day.

On another level, each of the characters is precisely earnest in following their convictions. Cecily is adamantly earnest in having fallen in love with her guardian’s rascally brother Earnest who lives and causes trouble in London. Gwendolyn is paramountly earnest in her conviction that she could never love anyone not named Earnest. Algernon is unjokingly earnest in and devoted to his need to be free to escape to the leisure of the country as a Bunburyist. John Worthing is wholeheartedly earnest in his ploy of escaping the tedium of the country by having an irresponsible brother named Earnest living in London who needs taking care of. Miss Prism…well…you get the picture.

Both Algernon and John adopt the name Earnest for rascally purposes that ironically gain them happiness and the loves of their dreams because both their loves have vowed never to marry anyone not named Earnest. So you can readily see how being Earnest would be extraordinarily important here. As it turns out, John Worthing is…or was…before he was put in the handbag…named Ernest, so for John, being Earnest takes on an added importance of birthright.

    The importance of being earnest has satirical meaning as Wilde laughs at English society for being so adamantly earnest about irrelevancies. It also has story meaning as the story is moved along by the various characters’ earnestness in their, perhaps silly, convictions. It has plot importance because the conflict is in fact developed around the name Earnest and who will marry Earnest. It also has importance because the reverse-Bunburyism pulled by both John and Algernon adds witty humor and complications to the story. It is also important because the resolution of the play is in the discovery of John’s true identity. 

13.In The Importance of Being Earnest, how does Oscar Wilde portray food both as a weapon and means of demonstrating one’s power?

Oscar Wilde, a well-known gourmand himself, said once

The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world.

These words greatly apply to The Importance of Being Earnest, and the character of Algernon attests to that much. This is because Algy not only uses food as a substitute for his obvious hunger for life, money, and adventure, but also as his conduit for enforcing his power over others. Although Wilde does not directly employ food as a theme of dominance, it is in its subtle use that the reader can discover its clever treatment.

Food is used as a way to demonstrate power in several occasions. First, in Act I, Algernon eats the cucumber sandwiches that he orders for his aunt, Lady Bracknell, prior to her arrival. Similarly, he invites Jack (Earnest) to partake from the bread and butter that would be have been offered to his cousin Gwendolen. This action from Algy foreshadows his nature: he is careless, selfish, and quite proud of it. It equally shows that Jack (Earnest) is really no different.

Lady Bracknell also uses food for social dominance.  Her main social duty consists of planning dinners where she can show off her “tastes” for music and arts. In reality, these dinners are typical upper class Victorian gatherings used by well-to-do ladies to find husbands for their daughters. Here, too, food means power.

Similarly, the famous “tea showdown” scene between Gwendolen and Cecily in Act III shows food as a social identifier of power. This is evident when, as country girl Cecily kindly offers city girl Gwendolen cake and sugar at tea, the latter shuns the offer saying that these items are “seldom seen” in fashionable homes. Cecily’s dumping lumps of sugar on Gwendolen’s tea and then serving her a huge slice of cake is the ultimate declaration of war between the two women.

Food also seems to be an important issue for Jack’s alter ego, Earnest, who presumably goes all over London running up huge restaurant bills that he, although able to, is not willing to pay. This is an indication of how food is used as a power tool that helps to differentiate one person’s standing from the other. It also shows how Jack’s alter ego  Earnest loves to be bad and disruptive.

One final use of food occurs towards the middle of Act III, after the “tea showdown scene” between the women. When they find out that neither Algernon or Jack are the “Earnest” that they are both engaged to marry, the girls quickly enter back into the manor in hopes of being dramatically followed by the men who lied to them.Instead, Algeron and Jack stay behind eating the food that Cecily had first laid out for her tea. In Algernon’s own words, his reason is quite simple:

“When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me… I refuse everything except food and drink. At the present moment I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins

Therefore, food is a tool of power in several instances: it allows Earnest to “be bad” by his superb consumption of it and his defiance to not pay it. It allows Algernon to offer it and then take it away at will, denoting his inherent selfishness. It identifies social class between Gwendolen and Cecily, and it also serves as a social medium to network among the upper classes such as in the case of Lady Bracknell. Moreover, food is the ultimate pleasure because it is available at all times. Algernon surely seems to enjoy it and Jack, as his equal, is no different either.

14.MORE QUESTIONS
a.What is “bunburying,” and what is its significance in the play?

b.Give  examples of puns from The Importance of Being Earnest?

c.How is satire evident in the importance of being earnest?
    
d.What is sentimental comedy? Can The Importance of Being Earnest be referred to as comedy which is highly melodramatic?

e.How would you describe the character of Lady Bracknell? How is she used to satirize the upper class?

f.How does Oscar Wilde use humour to deal with how people mask their identities?

g.How can comedy, such as The Importance of Being Earnest be used to not only mock  but also critique power structures?

h.How do puns and paradoxes contribute to the satirical tone in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

http://en.wikipedia.org

http://www.sparknotes.com

http://www.gradesaver.com

http://www.cliffsnotes.com

http://www.shmoop.com

http://www.studyguide.org

http://www.enotes.com

http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw

http://www.vanderbilt.edu

http://neoenglish.wordpress.com

WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS:SAMPLE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” BY OSCAR WILDE(90)

WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS:SAMPLE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" BY OSCAR WILDE(90)QUESTIONS/ANSWERS STATED BELOW LIKE MOST OF OUR POSTS ARE TO HELP UNDERSTAND THE PLAY.IT IS NOT LIKELY THAT ACTUAL WAEC/NECO QUESTIONS WILL BE OF THESE LEVEL OR AS “DEEP”

1. Jack and Algernon both create fictional identities for their own convenience. Are there any important differences between their deceptions?

Algernon’s deceptions are less serious than Jack’s. He appears never to hurt anyone with his fiction of Bunbury. He keeps his imaginary creation  at arm’s length; he does not actually pretend to be Bunbury. His motive for creating Bunbury appears to be to have an excuse to escape from tiresome duties and responsibilities in town, such as dining with Lady Bracknell. Because Algernon pretends that he goes to the country to look after the invalid Bunbury, he gains the additional benefit of borrowing the appearance of dutiful and charitable behavior. Algernon only adopts the persona of Ernest in order to meet Cecily, dropping the pretence immediately Cecily challenges him and honestly confessing his motive.
Jack, on the other hand, does pretend actually to be someone he is not. His motives for pretending to be Ernest in town are never made explicit, but the audience of Wilde’s time would naturally assume that Jack is an adherent of that by-product of strict Victorian morality, the double life. They would assume that Jack, under his false identity in town, gets up to the kinds of mischief and dissolute behavior of which respectable society disapproved. Blaming his wicked brother “Ernest” for his town activities, Jack is able to preserve the appearance of moral impeccability at his estate in the country. He is known only as a morally upright guardian to Cecily and a Justice of the Peace (judge) to the wider community, not to mention a concerned and dutiful brother to the reprobate Ernest.
Jack deceives even those closest to him. Both Algernon and Gwendolen, the woman whom Jack wants to marry, initially know him as Ernest. Jack’s deception comes under pressure when Gwendolen turns out to be irrevocably attached to the idea of marrying someone called Ernest, meaning that Jack cannot carry out his plan to kill off his fictional brother. Jack never admits to Gwendolen the real reasons for his long-term pretence of being someone else; instead, he merely allows her to believe an idea she puts forward, that he wanted an excuse to come to town frequently in order to visit her. His relationship with Gwendolen is therefore never placed on an honest footing, unlike Algernon’s with Cecily. In his unrepentant dedication to deception and a double life, Jack represents Victorian hypocrisy, which turned a blind eye to all kinds of immoral behavior as long as a virtuous appearance was preserved. He wants others to think of him as the epitome of moral rectitude, when, in fact, he lives a lie.

2. Lady Bracknell tells Jack, “You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter – a girl brought up with the utmost care – to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel?” What is the significance of Lady Bracknell’s words in relation to the play as a whole?

In Victorian English middle- and upper-class society, marriage was seen as an opportunity for social and financial advancement. Lady Bracknell wants her daughter Gwendolen and nephew Algernon to marry someone of ‘good family,’ with a respectable or even noble pedigree. She also wants them to be rich. This is shown by her keen interest, when she interrogates Jack as to Cecily’s suitability to marry Algernon, in Cecily’s social connections and the number of large houses her family owned. Lady Bracknell is appalled by the fact that Jack’s only known “origin” is not a noble family but “a Terminus” (as well as “origin” meaning a family line, there is a pun on its other meaning of the railway station from which a train starts its journey). It is especially repugnant to her that Jack was a foundling discovered in a handbag. This image conjures up connotations of illegitimacy, which carried a huge social stigma in Wilde’s time. Such babies were often delivered in secret and abandoned in a public place, which the baby Jack’s situation superficially resembled.
It is typical of the ironic inversions of the play that Jack turns out to be Lady Bracknell’s own sister’s baby, and therefore has a pedigree to which she cannot reasonably object. This revelation satirically undermines Lady Bracknell’s snobbish attitudes. One of Wilde’s main satirical targets in the play is the tendency of middle- and upper-class society to focus on the superficial trappings of respectability rather than examining what is really important, such as a person’s inner worth. In the story line of Jack’s origins, such preoccupations are discredited as nonsensical.
In addition, in Lady Bracknell’s remark that “a cloak-room at a railway station might serve to conceal a social indiscretion,” Wilde satirizes the prudery about sexual affairs, especially those that crossed class boundaries, exhibited by respectable Victorian society. That she attaches great importance to the superficial matter of Jack’s lack of pedigree but cares nothing about his character is Wilde’s satirical comment on the trivial values and hypocrisy of society. Society, it is implied, is willing to overlook serious and substantial matters as long as the forms (such as having identifiable parents, and living on the fashionable side of the street) are preserved.
It is possible that Lady Bracknell’s remark about the cloakroom’s concealing a social indiscretion also contains a coded reference to homosexual activity, which some members of Wilde’s audience would have understood. In 1895, shortly after The Importance of Being Earnest opened, Wilde was charged and sentenced for “gross indecency” for having homosexual affairs; sex between men was called sodomy, and sodomy was an illegal act. Well into the second half of the twentieth century, the social stigma attached to homosexuality meant that much homosexual activity took place in anonymous places such as public toilets (then often called cloak-rooms as the two functions were combined in one area).

3. How does Wilde use inversions in the play?

In The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde inverts the audience’s expectations in many ways. A large part of the humor of the play springs from these inversions, occurring in the areas of character, plot, morality, and language.
One of the major inversions is of conventional morality. Cecily falls in love with “Ernest’s” wicked reputation, saying to Algernon/Ernest, “I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy” (Act 2). And after Jack finds out that his name really is Ernest, when he thought he was only pretending to be called that, he says, “Gwendolen, it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth.” In these inversions, Wilde lampoons conventional morality by drawing attention to the fact that in this age of hypocrisy, no one is quite what they seem. They also highlight the perverse attraction of the ‘forbidden fruit’ of wickedness in an age that condemned as unacceptable so much of the darker aspect of individuals and society.
Inversions of plot include the discovery that Jack, far from being one of society’s outcasts, is in fact Lady Bracknell’s nephew. This inversion exposes Lady Bracknell’s (and by extension, upper-class society’s) superficial values and snobbery. The inner Jack has not changed at all, yet simply by being identified as a scion of the upper class, he automatically becomes a suitable husband for Gwendolen in Lady Bracknell’s eyes.
Inversions of character include the revelation that Miss Prism, who has appeared to be a very paragon of rectitude, has a hidden past that includes writing a three-volume novel and misplacing an aristocratic baby (Jack). These are not quite the classic ‘fallen woman’ scenarios of Victorian melodrama: in fact, they have an absurd flavor, with Wilde taking a satirical swipe at the kind of novels that were thought suitable for ladies to read. Rather, Wilde uses the convention of the revelation about a fallen woman to cast the respectable Miss Prism in a story of absent-mindedness and shame. In another inversion of character, Lady Bracknell, because of her close relationship to the woman (her sister, Mrs. Moncrieff) whose baby was lost, is forced to share in any shame she imposes upon Jack’s origins or Miss Prism’s fit of absent-mindedness. In these two inversions, Wilde suggests that in the matters of Victorian conventional morality, no one has the right to cast the first stone, since everyone’s story is somewhat open to censure.
Inversions of language include unexpected reversals of clichés and truisms (self-evident truths). For example, Wilde has Algernon pronounce, “Divorces are made in Heaven” (Act 1), a version of the cliché, “Marriages are made in Heaven.” Here, the aim is to subvert conventional morality. In another example, Algernon says, “it’s awfully hard work doing nothing,” (Act 1) which is the opposite to the usual assumption that hard work means doing many things and that the way to relax is to do nothing. The statement is one of many that mark Algernon out as a dandy, one who cultivates a leisurely lifestyle. On another level, however, many people, if they were to give this statement a moment’s thought, would accept that it touches on truth. Who has not been trapped in some social or public situation, deprived of his usual activities and ‘props’ and therefore having nothing particular to do, and not felt that it is the hardest “work” imaginable? In this instance, as in many of Wilde’s inversions, the aim is to amuse, but also to make people think beyond the accepted wisdom.
Sometimes, the point of a linguistic inversion is to satirize conventional society. In the case of Lady Bracknell, she does not stand apart from her comments and deliver them in order to be witty (like Algernon) but truly believes them. It is the audience who stands apart and laughs at the absurdity of her (and conventional society’s) prejudices. An example is her statement, “I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone” (Act 1). This inverts the usual truism, strongly held by Victorian social reformers, that education is a desirable and improving thing. In her additional comment that effective education could lead to “acts of violence in Grosvenor Square” (Act 1), Lady Bracknell makes clear Wilde’s satirical point: that the ignorance of the majority serves the upper classes well because it preserves the status quo.

4. What is the role of women in the play?earnest

Wilde inverts the usual gender roles of Victorian (and most pre-twentieth-century) literature by portraying the women as the sexual aggressors in relationships and the men as fairly passive. Both Jack and Algernon have to do very little wooing, as Gwendolen and Cecily have already completed much of the process in the fictions they have created around the name “Ernest,” which each of them erroneously believes to be the name of their lover.
This female dominance is not confined to the younger generation of women. It is clear from Gwendolen’s and Lady Bracknell’s comments that Lord Bracknell, who never appears in the play, is utterly under the thumb of the women in his household. Gwendolen remarks that her father is “entirely unknown” outside their family circle, and reflects, “The home seems to me to be the proper sphere for the man. And certainly once a man begins to neglect his domestic duties he becomes painfully effeminate, does he not?” (Act 2) This is a comic reversal of the strong expectation in Victorian times that a woman’s role was in the home. It is Lady Bracknell, and not her husband, as is the convention, who interviews Jack and Cecily about their suitability to marry Gwendolen and Algernon. Similarly, Lady Bracknell reveals that she often confines her husband to an upstairs room to dine, in order to preserve the considered arrangement of her dining table (Act 1).
Wilde subverts the Victorian expectation that women whose husbands have died should decorously confine themselves in deep mourning for many years, in the exchange between Lady Bracknell and Algernon about Lady Harbury. Lady Harbury is so rejuvenated since her husband died that Lady Bracknell comments that he lives “entirely for pleasure” and Algernon notes that “her hair has turned quite gold from grief” (Act 1), a satirical inversion of the cliché of turning grey with grief. Evidently, Lady Harbury has dyed her hair blonde and is enjoying life as never before.
Lady Bracknell shows the kind of ruthless ambition that was generally viewed as being the preserve of men when she says that she “had no fortune of any kind” when she married Lord Bracknell, “But I never dreamed for a moment of allowing that to stand in my way.” However, in a move typical of the Victorian hypocrisy that Wilde lampoons, she does not offer the same tolerance to the match between Algernon and Cecily: she only warms to Cecily and consents to the marriage when she knows that she has a fortune.

5. What is a dandy? Discuss the significance of the figure of the dandy with regard to The Importance of Being Earnest.

A dandy is a man who places unusual importance on his clothes and appearance. He cultivates wit and refined language, and leads a leisured life. Dandies were common in the literature and drama of certain periods, notably comic plays of the Restoration period (1660-1700), and in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature. They were usually ridiculous figures who embodied the absurd fashions and mores of their time, and were meant to be laughed at by the audience or reader.
Many of Wilde’s works feature a dandy, and in many cases, the dandy stands in for the author. As the Wildean dandy’s life is a work of art, he represents the ideal of the Aesthetic movement of which Wilde was a spokesman and figurehead. Wilde’s innovation was to make his dandies heroes with whom the audience can identify. His dandies are often profoundly good and moral people (such as Lord Goring in his play An Ideal Husband). Unlike the dandies of tradition, Wilde’s dandies are not meant to be laughed at; rather, in their role of a truthful observer of society and individuals, they point to what is ridiculous or hypocritical, and the audience laughs with them.
The most dandified character in The Importance of Being Earnest is Algernon. Idle and charming, Algernon surrounds himself with beautiful objects and furnishings, speaks in witty epigrams, and dresses with great style, if somewhat extravagantly. Algernon is amoral and neither good nor evil. He is also, in his own way, an artist, whose aim is to create beauty, style, and ingenious fictions that delight both himself and the audience. Because he is an artist, he can be assumed to be close to a stand-in for the author. Algernon’s epigrammatic observations have a satirical edge, as they puncture the hypocrisies of conventional Victorian morality. For instance, his comment, “More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read” (Act 1) points to the heavy censorship of the Victorian period and the narrow conventional view of what was acceptable.

6.In The Importance of Being Earnest what does Algernon mean when he says,“I keep science for Life” and later connects this idea to Lane preparing the cucumber sandwiches for Lady Bracknell?

There is no “clear-cut” meaning to Algernon words. Instead, his initial dialogue with Lane is a conglomerate of puns written by Wilde with the purpose of  declaring, from the very start of the play, what his intentions are with it. These intentions, as it is soon known, are not to present a typical Shavian-type comedy of manners. Instead, his true aim is to generate controversy by making all that is meant to be serious and meaningful to his peer Victorians into silly and comical.
According to several Wilde scholars, the first part of The Importance of Being Earnest fully succeeds at introducing the audience to the central theme of the plot, triviality, and to the satirical mood of the play. Everything that Algernon says and does in this first part of the play not only mocks the Victorian middle classes (and their system of values) but also sets the atmosphere of what will become a completely non-sensical story that, in the end, will make even less sense… by turning out to be true.
The way that Wilde creates this effective set up is by having Algernon speak in semantic layers designed to annoy his “haters”: the middle-class righteous Victorians whom openly criticized and mocked him in many newspapers. Notice how the dialogue develops:

“I don’t play accurately-any one can play accurately- but I play with wonderful expression.”   

Here Algernon throws a pun at the Victorian need for exactness and formality. To cite that it is better to have expression than accuracy is a pun that hints at Wilde’s own dislike for the tendencies of the society in which he lived. Hence, from the very start it is clear in the play that instinct, and all that comes with it, will supersede reasoning and common sense.

“As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.”

Another pun. The piano was very powerful object in Victorian society. It was like the Victorian version of a television, or a video game. It brought people together and knowing how to play it would give you a lot of standing in your social gatherings. If you think about Mary Bennett in Pride and Prejudice , the piano was the maker or breaker of the true Victorian; to know how to play the piano was a must.

Yet, here comes Algernon again devaluing another important Victorian icon. Who cares about playing the piano properly? Life is not about rules, but about sensations. This the basic Wildean gist: anything that is of value to the typical Victorian must, by default, be unnecessary and ridiculous.       

“And speaking of the Science of Life, have you got the cucumber sandwiches cut for Lady Bracknell?   

The third powerful pun of the list, Wilde’s mischievous want for connecting “the science of life” to a cucumber sandwich was perhaps a last straw that to the modern reader may not mean much. However, the level of notoriety that Wilde had reached by 1895 had earned him a myriad of enemies, for which it was necessary for him to fight back by directly positioning another iconic Victorian social staple, the cucumber sandwich, to a cosmic and ethereal theme of great magnitude, such as it is the science of life. Again, a direct attack is made against the sanctimonious and hypocritical Victorians who openly detested Wilde and his work by mocking their way of life and the importance that they give to everything that is really not important. Hence, the name of the play.

TO BE CONTINUED

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

http://en.wikipedia.org

http://www.sparknotes.com

http://www.gradesaver.com

http://www.cliffsnotes.com

http://www.shmoop.com

http://www.studyguide.org

http://www.enotes.com

http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw

http://www.vanderbilt.edu

http://neoenglish.wordpress.com

WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS: LITERARY DEVICES USED BY OSCAR WILDE IN “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” (89)

WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS: LITERARY DEVICES USED BY OSCAR WILDE  IN “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” (89)Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
The two imaginary people created by Jack and Algernon might symbolize the empty promises or deceit of the Victorian era. The character Ernest is anything but earnest.
Setting
Usually, having two differing locales – like the lavish London of the nineteenth century and an unspoiled countryside estate – would show readers a marked contrast.
Narrator Point of View
Though all works of literature present the author’s point of view, they don’t all have a narrator or a narrative voice that ties together and presents the story.
Genre
In the most basic sense, The Importance of Being Earnest is a drama because it’s a play. It’s also a comedy, not only in the modern laugh-out-loud way, but also in the classical sense.
Tone
It seems that Wilde’s main point in The Importance of Being Earnest is to criticize Victorian society by showing how shallow and hypocritical it is. What do aristocrats do all day? Play the piano?
Writing Style
Oscar Wilde is an incredibly funny and witty writer. His humor in The Importance of Being Earnest relies on creating absurd situations and characters with lack of insight .
What’s Up With the Title?
The genius of this title depends on a pun between the adjective “earnest,” meaning honest or sincere and the first name, “Ernest.”
What’s Up With the Ending?
The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedy. It ends happily, resolving any tensions in such a way that all characters also get what they desire but only after all secret identities are revealed.
Plot Analysis
Hello, my name is Ernest. (Act I, lines 1-78) For the young Victorian man, the double life is the good life. Jack and Algernon both have secret identities and activities and are not earnest till they are forced to.
Steaminess Rating
There’s no actual sex in The Importance of Being Earnest. But the whole reason we have a plot is because of differing opinions on two corollaries of sex – love and marriage.
Allusions
Aegeria (II.29) – a Roman mythological water nymph known for giving wisdom.

WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS: LITERARY DEVICES USED BY OSCAR WILDE  IN “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” (89)

the-importance-of-being-earnest-book-cover( in our library)

SAMPLE QUESTION/ANSWER

Q.In The Importance of Being Earnest, how does Oscar Wilde use symbolism in his social commentary?

 A.The symbolism that we find in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being  Earnest is mostly situated around the items that constitute the different ways in which Jack and Algernon indulge in their double lives.
One of these symbols is food, as well as its extravagant and careless consumption.
 We find that both Algernon and Jack’s alter ego, Ernest, have a penchant for over-indulging at expensive restaurants only to leave the bills unpaid for.This causes in Jack a sense of joy, as if being “bad” was a goal of his. This is significant because Ernest (when in the country living as Jack) is a model of good manners and responsibility, as he is in charge of the manor entailed to him by his adoptive father, and because he is also in charge of Cecily, who is his ward.

Therefore, food is a door to freedom for Jack and Algernon that shows extravagance at its best: Run bills, enjoy your meals, and do not pay. That is the life of the true so-called rich in Victorian England: A group of people that lead double lives and indulge in extravagances.

Algernon: You have invented a very useful younger brother called Ernest, in order that you may be able to come up to town as often as you like. I have invented an invaluable permanent invalid called Bunbury, in order that I may be able to go down into the country whenever I choose. Bunbury is perfectly invaluable. If it wasn’t for Bunbury’s extraordinary bad health, for instance, I wouldn’t be able to dine with you at Willis’s to-night, for I have been really engaged to Aunt Augusta for more than a week.

 Food also appears in the showdown between Cecily and Gwendolen, when the girls use tea, cake, bread and butter, and sugar as symbols of power in society. Whoever used one thing would certify her power over the other.

GWENDOLEN:You have filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I asked most distinctly for bread and butter, you have given me cake. I am known for the gentleness of my disposition, and the extraordinary sweetness of my nature, but I warn you, Miss Cardew, you may go too far.
CECILY:[Rising.] To save my poor, innocent, trusting boy from the machinations of any other girl there are no lengths to which I would not go.

Furthermore, as the ladies discover that neither Jack nor Algernon are the “Ernest” that both girls think that they are engaged to, they take off the tea and cake battlezone and storm inside the house expecting to be chased by the men. Unfortunately for them, not only are they not followed, but…the men end up eating their food.

 JACK:I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.       

ALGERNON:When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble, as anyone who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except food and drink. At the present moment I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins. [Rising.]

JACK:[Rising.] Well, that is no reason why you should eat them all in that greedy way. [Takes muffins from ALGERNON]

Therefore we see how food plays an important role in the symbolism of the play, especially in the way that it bonds and divides the characters by social rank (bread and butter being more “fashionable” than cake) and how it unites them in extravagance and excess.

READ THE NEXT POST FOR MORE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON THE PLAY AND ITS LITERARY DEVICES

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

http://en.wikipedia.org

http://www.sparknotes.com

http://www.gradesaver.com

http://www.cliffsnotes.com

http://www.shmoop.com

http://www.studyguide.org

http://www.enotes.com

http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw

http://www.vanderbilt.edu

http://neoenglish.wordpress.com

CHARACTERIZATION IN THE PLAY “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (88)

 CHARACTERIZATION IN THE PLAY "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (88)

Earnest cast

Tools of Characterization
Habits
Algernon likes to play the piano inaccurately, eat compulsively, and then lie about how there were no cucumbers at the market. Oh, and he goes Bunburying. At times, Algernon can come across as selfish
and insincere. In contrast, Dr. Chasuble gives sermons and performs baptisms. He might seem to be more responsible than Algernon, but he too has his faults. He spends a great deal of time flirting with Miss
Prism, when his position as a cleric clearly orders him to be celibate. So Dr. Chasuble’s actions also reveal his hypocrisy. In fact, every character’s actions reveal that they can be frivolous or dishonest at  certain moments. But since Wilde’s play is clearly a satire, it should come as no surprise that there are no absolute good or evil characters. Each character’s virtues and flaws are indicative of a fairly corrupt society; it is the reader’s job to differentiate just how hypocritical each character is.
Education
Ironically, the more educated a character is, the more pretentious and hypocritical he or she seems. Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble throw around big words and discuss obscure theories. Their main function in the play is to provide comic relief. Cecily (who is Miss Prism’s student) and Algernon (who describes himself as “immensely overeducated” [II.181]) both say one thing and then do exactly the opposite. In contrast, Lady Bracknell comes from humble origins and makes no pretense about adoring ignorance. She considers “the whole theory of modern education…radically unsound” (I.184). Throughout the play, she is surprisingly consistent – standing by her statement that she will not let her daughter marry a commoner.
Family Life
Jack cares for his family out in his country estate, providing a luxurious living for his ward, Cecily, and making sure she gets the best education possible. By doing this, Jack honors his guardian’s will. By all accounts, he is a good ‘son’ – other than the whole Ernest-is-fake thing. Algernon, on the other hand, states outright he “love[s] hearing [his] relations abused” (I.222) and is constantly lying to avoid dining with them. Cecily seems to genuinely respect and love her Uncle Jack, while Gwendolen blatantly disobeys her mother. Gwendolen’s behavior reflects her mother’s disrespectful behavior to her family; Lady Bracknell lies to her husband and even makes him eat in solitude when he ruins her table arrangement at dinner. It seems that Wilde is making subtle character distinctions according to social class. In the world of Wilde, aristocrats tend to treat their close family and relatives poorly, while the “lower classes” – like Jack and Cecily – have more trusting and compassionate familial relationships.
Names
Many of the characters’ names reflect some aspect of their personality. Lady Augusta Bracknell’s name repeatedly emphasizes her nobility through the title of “Lady,” and “Bracknell” which is the name of the land she owns. Miss Prism is a pun for misprision, which can mean either “neglect” (regarding her abandonment of baby Ernest) or “a misunderstanding” (which highlights her lack of common sense). Dr. Chasuble’s name shows both that he is highly educated – having a doctorate in Divinity – and that he is a cleric. Did you know that that a chasuble is “a sleeveless outer vestment worn by the celebrant at Mass.” (Thanks http://www.dictionary.com!) But Jack/Ernest Worthing is not earnest and arguably not worthy of Gwendolen’s hand in marriage. We’re thinking that name was both intentional and ironic of Wilde’s part.

Character Roles (Protagonist, Antagonist…)
Protagonist…..Jack Worthing
Antagonist….Lady Bracknell
Foil….Other Characters

Character List

John (Jack) Worthing

A young, eligible bachelor about town. In the city he goes by the name Ernest, and in the country he is Jack — a local magistrate of the county with responsibilities. His family pedigree is a mystery, but his seriousness and sincerity are evident. He proposes to The Honorable Gwendolen Fairfax and, thoughleading a double life, eventually demonstrates his conformity to the Victorian moral and social standards.

Algernon Moncrieff

A languid poser of the leisure class, bored by conventions and looking for excitement. He, too, leads a double life, being Algernon in the city and Ernest in the country. Algernon, unlike Jack, is not serious and is generally out for his own gratification. He falls in love and proposes to Jack’s ward, Cecily, while posing as Jack’s wicked younger brother, Ernest.

Lady Bracknell

 CHARACTERIZATION IN THE PLAY "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (88)

Lady Bracknell

The perfect symbol of Victorian earnestness — the belief that style is more important than substance and that social and class barriers are to be enforced. Lady Bracknell is Algernon’s aunt trying to find a suitable wife for him. A strongly opinionated matriarch, dowager, and tyrant, she believes wealth is more important than breeding and bullies everyone in her path. Ironically, she married into the upper class from beneath it. She attempts to bully her daughter, Gwendolen.

The Honorable Gwendolen Fairfax

Lady Bracknell’s daughter, exhibiting some of the sophistication and confidence of a London socialite, believes style to be important, not sincerity. She is submissive to her mother in public but rebels in private. While demonstrating the absurdity of such ideals as only marrying a man named Ernest, she also agrees to marry Jack despite her mother’s disapproval of his origins.

Cecily Cardew

Jack Worthing’s ward, daughter of his adopted father, Sir Thomas Cardew. She is of debutante age, 18, but she is being tutored at Jack’s secluded country estate by Miss Prism, her governess. She is romantic and imaginative, and feeling the repression of Prism’s rules. A silly and naïve girl, she declares that she wants to meet a “wicked man.” Less sophisticated than Gwendolen, she falls in love with Algernon but feels he would be more stable if named Ernest.

Miss Prism

Cecily’s governess and a symbol of Victorian moral righteousness. She is educating Cecily to have no imagination or sensationalism in her life. Quoting scripture as a symbol of her Victorian morality, she reveals a secret life of passion by her concern for the whereabouts of her misplaced novel and her flirtation with the local vicar. She becomes the source of Jack’s revelation about his parents.

Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D.

Like Miss Prism, he is the source of Victorian moral judgments, but under the surface he appears to be an old lecher. His sermons are interchangeable, mocking religious conventions. Like the servants, he does what Jack (the landowner) wants: performing weddings, christenings, sermons, funerals, and so on. However, beneath the religious exterior, his heart beats for Miss Prism.

Lane and Merriman

Servants of Algernon and Jack.

Lane says soothing and comforting things to his employer but stays within the neutral guidelines of a servant. He is leading a double life, eating sandwiches and drinking champagne when his master is not present. He aids and abets the lies of Algernon.

Merriman keeps the structure of the plot working: He announces people and happenings. Like Lane, he does
not comment on his “betters,” but solemnly watches their folly. His neutral facial expressions during crisis and chaos undoubtedly made the upper-class audience laugh.

FOR MORE DETAILED NOTES ON CHARACTERIZATION PLEASE CLICK HERE...The Importance of Being Earnest- Characterization

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

http://en.wikipedia.org

http://www.sparknotes.com

http://www.gradesaver.com

http://www.cliffsnotes.com

http://www.shmoop.com

http://www.studyguide.org

http://www.enotes.com

http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw

http://www.vanderbilt.edu

http://neoenglish.wordpress.com

“THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” BY OSCAR WILDE…FULL GLOSSARY FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (87)

 "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" BY OSCAR WILDE…FULL GLOSSARY FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS

October 5th

“A RESTRAINING INFLUENCE” – PRESENCE OF SERVANTS CAUSING PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS TO BE  CAREFUL  IN THEIR SPEECH.

“AS A MAN SOWS, SO LET HIM REAP.”-THIS IS A VERSE FROM THE BIBLE, GALATIANS 6:7, MEANING THAT ACTIONS DETERMINE FATE.

“ONLY EIGHTEEN”- CECILY IS THE PRECISE AGE TO “COME OUT” AS A SOCIETY DEBUTANTE. DURING THE SEASON, 18-YEAR-OLDS WERE INTRODUCED AS MARRIAGE MATERIAL FOR SUITABLE MEN.

“SHROPSHIRE IS YOUR COUNTY”- A REFERENCE TO JACK WORTHING’S POSITION AS COUNTY MAGISTRATE.

“SLIGHT REFRESHMENT AT FIVE O’CLOCK” -KNOWN AS LIGHT TEA, SERVED TO PEOPLE WHO VISIT AT THIS TIME OF DAY.

A CHRISTENING-A CEREMONY OF BAPTISM

ANABAPTISTS-A RADICAL CHRISTIAN SECT THAT SAW CHRISTENING AS A CONFIRMATION OF FAITH SO DEEMED IT INAPPROPRIATE FOR INFANTS AND SUPPORTED ADULT BAPTISM, INSTEAD

APOPLEXYA- FIT OF EXTREME ANGER THAT CAUSES DEATH; A STROKE

ARMY LISTS -PUBLISHED LISTS OF COMMISSIONED OFFICERS IN THE BRITISH ARMY.

 "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" BY OSCAR WILDE…FULL GLOSSARY FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS

BELGRAVIA SQUARE – ANOTHER AFFLUENT LONDON AREA

BUNBURY – NAME OF A SCHOOL FRIEND OF WILDE. HERE, SOMEONE WHO DECEIVES.

BUNBURYING-INVENTING A FALSE PERSON TO ALLOW ONE TO LEAVE ONE’S OWN UNPLEASANT SITUATION

CANONICAL PRACTICE – CHURCH LAW.

CORRUPT FRENCH DRAMA- POSSIBLY A REFERENCE TO THE PLAYS OF ALEXANDER DUMAS IN THE 1850s.

COURT GUIDES- AN ANNUAL REFERENCE MANUAL LISTING THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF MEMBERS OF THE UPPER CLASS AND ARISTOCRACY.

CREDULITY-TENDING TO BELIEVE TOO QUICKLY

DIVORCE COURT- BEFORE 1857, DIVORCES COULD ONLY BE GRANTED BY PARLIAMENT AT GREAT EXPENSE, AND THEY RARELY HAPPENED. IN 1857, DIVORCE COURT WAS PASSED BY PARLIAMENT, MAKING DIVORCE EASIER.

EFFEMINATE- HAVING THE QUALITIES GENERALLY ATTRIBUTED TO WOMEN, SUCH AS WEAKNESS, TIMIDITY, DELICACY AND SO ON; UNMANLY; NOT VIRILE.

EFFRONTERY- UNASHAMED BOLDNESS, PRESUMPTIOUSNESS

EGERIA CHASTITY- EGERI, A NYMPH, GAVE WISE LAWS TO NUMA POMPILIUS OF ROME THAT WERE USED FOR THE VESTAL VIRGINS,OR A ROMAN NYMPH WHO ADVISED A KING; ANY FEMALE ADVISOR

EVENSONG- A SUNDAY EVENING RELIGIOUS SERVICE.

FUNDS-GOVERNMENT STOCKS THAT GIVE A LOW YIELD OF INTEREST BUT ARE CONSERVATIVE AND SAFE.

 "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" BY OSCAR WILDE…FULL GLOSSARY FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS

…cuppas of tradition?…

GERMAN SKEPTICISM- A GERMAN PHILOSOPHY THAT EXAMINES STYLE OR APPEARANCE RATHER THAN SUBSTANCE.

GORGON-IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY, THE THREE SISTERS INCLUDING MEDUSA WHO HAD SNAKES FOR HAIR; HERE, AN UGLY OR TERRIFYING WOMAN

GROSVENOR SQUARE – A VERY AFFLUENT AREA OF LONDON IN THE MAYFAIR DISTRICT.

HALF MOON STREET- A VERY FASHIONABLE STREET IN LONDON’S WEST END; ITS LOCATION IS HANDY TO GENTLEMEN’S CLUBS, RESTAURANTS AND THEATRES.

HORTICULTURAL-HAVING TO DO WITH A GARDEN

LIBERAL UNIONIST- A POLITICAL GROUP THAT VOTED AGAINST HOME RULE FOR IRELAND IN 1886. LIBERALS WERE THE CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL GROUP.

LORGNETTE -A PAIR OF EYEGLASSES ATTACHED TO A HANDLE. "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" BY OSCAR WILDE…FULL GLOSSARY FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS

MACHINATIONS – ARTFUL  OR  SECRET PLOTS OR SCHEMES.

MISANTHROPE-ONE WHO HATES PEOPLE

MUDIE- A LENDING LIBRARY.

OXONIAN -SOMEONE WHO GRADUATED FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY.

PERAMBULATOR (CHIEFLY BRITISH)- A BABY CARRIAGE; BUGGY.

PEW-OPENER -A PERSON WHO WORKS FOR A CHURCH BY OPENING THE PRIVATE PEWS OF THE WEALTHY.

PORTMANTEAU-A LARGE, HINGED LEATHER SUITCASE

QUIXOTIC-IDEALISTIC WITHOUT BEING PRACTICAL; SEEKING SOMETHING UNATTAINABLE

SALVER-TRAY FOR SERVING FOOD AND/OR DRINKS

SENT DOWN TO ACT AS A LADY’S ESCORT FOR DINNER.

SENTENTIOUSLY- FULL OF, OR FOND OF USING, MAXIMS, PROVERBS AND SO ON, ESPECIALLY IN A WAY THAT IS PONDEROUSLY TRITE AND MORALIZING.

 "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" BY OSCAR WILDE…FULL GLOSSARY FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMSSMART-WELL-DRESSED

TEMPERANCE- BEVERAGE A DRINK THAT EXPRESSLY DOES NOT CONTAIN ALCOHOL.

TERMINUS (BRITISH)-EITHER THE END OF A TRANSPORTATION LINE, OR A STATION OR TOWN LOCATED THERE; TERMINAL.

THE ALBANY- ERNEST WORTHING’S ADDRESS ON HIS CALLING CARDS WAS ACTUALLY THE HOME OF GEORGE IVES, A FRIEND OF WILDE’S AND AN ACTIVIST FOR HOMOSEXUAL RIGHTS.

THE CLUB-PRIVATE LOCATION WHERE MEN GATHER TOGETHER TO DRINK, DISCUSS POLITICS, GOSSIP, AND SMOKE

THE EMPIRE- A THEATRE IN LEICESTER SQUARE, LONDON.

THE MORNING POST- A NEWSPAPER READ BY THE UPPER CLASS BECAUSE OF ITS REPORTING ON ENGAGEMENTS, MARRIAGES AND SOCIAL GOSSIP.

THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH- THE PRE-REFORMATION CATHOLIC CHURCH, WHOSE PRIEST REMAINED CELIBATE.

THE RAILWAY GUIDE- AN INDISPENSABLE TIMETABLE OF RAILWAY DEPARTURES AND ARRIVALS, PROBABLY INVENTED BY ROBERT DIGGLES KAY IN EITHER 1838 OR 1839.

THREE-VOLUME NOVELS- LENDING LIBRARIES CIRCULATED NOVELS IN THREE PARTS SO THAT THREE DIFFERENT READERS COULD BE READING AT THE SAME TIME. THIS PRACTICE ENDED IN THE LATE 1800s.

TORIES- MEMBERS OF THE MORE CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL CIRCLES LADY BRACKNELL AND OTHER WEALTHY SOCIALITES WOULD APPROVE.

TUNBRIDGE WELLS- A FASHIONABLE RESORT IN KENT.

UNIVERSITY EXTENSION SCHEME- THE UNIVERSITY OF LONDON BEGAN THESE EXTENSION COURSES THAT WERE EARLY DEVELOPMENTS IN ADULT EDUCATION.

WOMANTHROPE -A HUMOROUS WORD MADE UP BY MISS PRISM FOR A PERSON WHO HATES WOMEN

Let's think

Let’s think

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IF YOU EVER HAD A SCHOOL MENTOR WHO INSPIRED OR FIRED YOU TO GREATER HEIGHTS THEN THANK THAT TEACHER OR ANOTHER CLOSE TO YOU THIS MONTH FROM TODAY!

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Thank a teacher on World Teachers’ Day

Tomorrow (Today) is World Teachers’ Day, so take the opportunity to say thank you to the teachers that made a positive difference in your life, says Kathryn Lovewell.

Tomorrow is World Teacher’s Day – a UNESCO initiative that celebrates teachers around the world. Photo: Juice Images / Alamy

I take for granted that my toilet flushes, that the bin men come every Tuesday and that, when I pull the cord in my bathroom, the light comes on. I take for granted that I can drink the water from the tap, I can access information from my phone and – especially at this time of year – that my central heating will come on in the morning

We take a great deal for granted in life, especially the fundamentals, like being able to read and write. Most of us have also taken our teachers for granted.

Take a moment to consider the skills you have now and the person that taught these skills to you. Remember your first English teacher, who taught you the ‘i before e’ rule, your ABC’s and the difference between a noun and a verb.

Remember your first Maths teacher who taught you to add and subtract, to tell the time and explained the 24 hour clock, even though there’s only twelve numbers on a clock face.

Tomorrow is World Teachers’ Day – a UNESCO initiative that celebrates teachers around the world. Since 1994, WTD is held annually on October 5, to raise awareness and address the issues pertinent to teachers: whilst recognising the contribution they make to education.

Isn’t it curious that one of the most pivotal professions in our society, that impacts our young people, influences our leaders of tomorrow and affects the way we live our life, rarely receives the respect or acknowledgement it deserves.

Teachers and school communities are a vital component to the healthy functioning of our society and yet in the UK, teacher morale is in crisis, external criticism is rife and sickness due to stress is exploding.

Tomorrow is the day to appreciate teachers and the extraordinary job they do to teach, support and inspire our children. As you finish this article, raise a glass to the teachers that inspired you. Say thank you to the teachers that made a positive difference in your life.

Start singing the praises to your children’s Head teacher, the governors of their school and your MP’s, about a teacher that has helped, encouraged or inspired your child to grow, progress and understand the world.

Teachers are the most valuable resource in education. It’s time to appreciate their value in our society. You cannot put a price on inspiring a child to be the best they can be. Teachers are the unsung heroes of our communities.

Today of all days, let’s acknowledge and celebrate their foundational influence in our lives.

I will be saying thank you to the fantastic teacher who, thirty years ago, taught me to make the best sponge cake ever, that still leaves my whole family salivating and in awe of my baking prowess. Thank you Mrs. Edgel.

Kathryn Lovewell is author of Every Teacher Matters

HAPPY WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY !…10 THINGS/TIPS THAT MAKE GREAT TEACHERS

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10 TIPS that make a GREAT teacher.

relief teaching

What makes a GREAT TEACHER?

I have seen some great teachers. I have seen some great relief teachers. I have seen some terrible teachers too, but luckily they are far and few between. What I have found is that they have ten things in common. What are they?

That is the key question.

People have been discussing this topic for hundreds of years.

 Rosanne Liesveld in her book Teach With your Strengths says it won’t work if you just work on your weaknesses. You have to identify your strengths. In her book Teach with Your Strengths she shows how to identify your strengths. She looks at common elements on how great teachers inspire their students.
What makes a great teacher has been the focus of many academic exercises.

This is not one of them.

I am sure you could find academic details by searching the internet.

These are just my observations from my experience.

Relief Teaching number 1A great teacher has an unrelenting attitude towards students achieving results. Notice the word “unrelenting”. That’s the same message that students get. They are pretty astute. They know whether you are there to fill in the day or value add to theirs. If it’s the latter, you will have fewer problems with students.

 

Relief Teaching - What Makes a Great Teacher 2A great teacher builds on relationships. Relationship is education’s equivalent of the Real Estate “position, position, position” catchcry. Great teachers have empathy with and understanding of student needs.

 

 Relief Teaching - What Makes a Great Teacher 2A great teacher is organised. Casual and relief teachers must have a day set out, even if there are interruptions. Show the students your program. Students usually work when teachers do as well.

 

Relief Teaching - What Makes a Great Teacher 4A great teacher is a great sharer. Sharing and receiving of good ideas is what keeps schools and education dynamic. Be a sharer and accept sharing from others. A collegiate network makes professionals.

 

Relief Teaching - What Makes a Great Teacher 5A great teacher is firm but flexible. Surprisingly, they seldom need to raise their voice because students know that their prime purpose is to valued add to their day. Don’t get me wrong, a school day is seldom without drama, but a great teacher uses authority to bring order rather than aggression.
HAPPY WORLD TEACHERS' DAY !...10 THINGS/TIPS THAT MAKE GREAT TEACHERS

World Teachers’ Day Apple

 

Relief Teaching - What Makes a Great Teacher 2A great teacher gives clear unambiguous directions. Remember the KISS principle. Keep things SIMPLE.

 

 Relief Teaching - What Makes a Great Teacher 7Great teachers have high expectations. This goes for work, compliance, standards. Students will rise (or fall) to the standards set by the teacher.

 

Great teachers engage students in learning. The reality is that engaged students learn. These teachers have the skill of engaging students IN learning rather than teaching TO them.

 

Relief Teaching 9Great teachers know that positives outperform punishment. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

 

 Relief Teaching - What Makes a Great Teacher 2Great teachers are focussed. They keep what is most important well… MOST important. They aren’t distracted from their single goal – whatever the goal at the time is.

LAGOS PLANE CRASH UPDATE: LIST OF PASSENGERS & SURVIVORS. LASUTH ALSO RELEASES A LIST…ARE MIC OWNER AND SON VICTIMS?

Lagos plane crash

5 people out of the 27 people on board survived. See the list of passengers and those who survived below according to thenationonlineng.net. Sad!

Passengers

Feyi Agagu

Femi Akinsanya

Akintunde Joseph

Akeem Akintunde

Tunji Okusanya

Chijioke Duru

Kingsley Amaechi

Deji Afolabi

Mrs. E.O. Alabi

Daji Bernard

Deji Falae

Samson Hassan

Olatunji Okusanya

Crew members
Capt. Yakubu

Flight officer Oyinlola

Engr. Saroh Elaiye

Flight dispatcher Ibrahim

Mr. Felix Tatoye

Cabin attendant Owolabi

Cabin  attendant Samson.

The survivors are;

1. Agagu  Feyi – Survivor
2. Akintunde Taiwo – Survivor
3. Akintunde Akeem – Survivor
4. Akinsanya Femi – Survivor
5. Unknown male – Survivor

Associate Airline crash: LASUTH releases names of victims [SEE LIST]

The management of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) has released the names of some survivors and dead persons of the Thursday’s Associate Airline crash.
1. Agagu Feyi – Survivor
2. Akintunde Taiwo – Survivor
3. Akintunde Akeem – Survivor
4. Akinsanya Femi – Survivor
5. Unknown male – Survivor
6. Chijioke Duru – Dead
7. Unknown male adult – Dead

The casket carrying the late governor’s remains was found intact in the debris of ill-fated plane. However, it failed to open after all efforts by the rescue teams. It has now been moved to the Air Force Base close to the airport.

ANOTHER REPORT

The son of the late former Governor of Ondo State,
Dr. Olusegun Agagu, Feyi, Thursday survived the
Associated Airlines plane crash in Lagos.
Feyi was said to have sustained non-life threatening
injuries in the crash that left 17 passengers on
board dead.
He was however among the survivors that had been
taken to the Lagos State University Teaching
Hospital (LASUTH) for medical attention.
A member of Olusegun Obasanjo’s family whose
name could not be ascertained as at the time of filing
this report was said to have died in the crash.

MORE UPDATED  REPORTS/POSTS ARE ON OUR SISTER BLOG LAGOSBOOKSCLUB.COM

ANALYSIS OF “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” (ACT 3) FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (86)

ANALYSIS OF “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” (ACT 3) FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (86)

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

COMMENTARY 1

    Gwendolen and Cecily are seeking sanctuary in the morning room at the Manor House. They peer out the window in curiosity at the two men.

    The girls notice that the men haven’t followed them into the house and are eating muffins. They’re worried that the guys don’t seem to be noticing them at all.

    A moment later, when the two guys start walking towards the house, the women are affronted and agree to give them the silent treatment.

    But that soon falls apart. Cecily breaks her silence to ask Algernon why he pretended to be Jack’s brother. He answers candidly – to “have an opportunity of meeting you” (III.15). Cecily melts.

    Then it’s Gwendolen’s turn. She asks Jack why he pretended to have a brother. Before he can answer, she suggests that it was possibly so that he could have an excuse to come up to town to see her as often as possible. He confirms it.

    Satisfied, the girls confide to forgive the men. But there’s a still a problem. The girls confront the guys in loud unison: “Your Christian names are still an insuperable barrier. That is all!” (III.29)

    In other words, the girls can’t possibly marry them if their names aren’t Ernest.

    In response, the men answer in unison: “Our Christian names! Is that all? But we are going to be christened this afternoon” (III.30).

    Seeing that their beloveds are brave enough to endure such a harrowing ordeal as a christening for their sake, rush into their lovers’ arms.

    Merriman enters, sees all the hugging going on, and coughs loudly. He announces the arrival of Lady Bracknell. The startled couples separate.

Lady Bracknell loses no time in asking Gwendolen just what she’s doing. At the news that she’s engaged to Jack, Lady Bracknell turns her wrath on him. She orders that all communication between them must stop immediately and ignores his protests.

ANALYSIS OF "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" (ACT3) FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (86)

Importance_Being_Earnest_

Then she turns to Algernon and asks if this is where Bunbury resides. Caught by surprise, Algernon answers no, then stutters that Bunbury is actually dead. He died by exploding. Lady Bracknell is appalled by his method of death, considering it a “revolutionary outrage” (III.54) but is glad that the matter is settled.

 On to business. Lady Bracknell asks Jack who is that young person holding Algernon’s hand so inappropriately.

    When she learns Algernon is engaged to Cecily, she comments that there must be something in the air here that is particularly exciting. Because the number of engagements here “seems to me considerably above the proper average that statistics have laid down for our guidance” (III.61).

    Slyly, she asks if Miss Cardew has any relations to the railway stations in London.

    Jack is fuming, but coldly answers no and recites Cecily’s proper parents, plus their address. He assures her that she can find the same information in the Court Guides. And he lists off all the documentation he has of Cecily – including birth certificates, baptism records, incidents of illness and vaccinations.

    Lady Bracknell brushes them off, telling Gwendolen it’s time to leave.

    As they exit, she asks offhand if Miss Cardew has any amount of fortune.

    Oh, Jack answers, just a hundred and thirty thousand pounds.

    Lady Bracknell freezes. Suddenly, Cecily looks much more attractive to her. With Cecily’s eager cooperation, Lady Bracknell inspects her profile and declares she has “distinct social possibilities” (III.75).

Finally, she gives her consent. She even allows Cecily to call her Aunt Augusta.

    But Jack has other ideas. As Cecily’s legal guardian, he refuses to give consent for her to marry Algernon. When Lady Bracknell, feeling insulted, asks what could possibly be wrong with Algernon, Jack reveals that Algernon has lied – deceiving his whole family into thinking he was the nonexistent younger brother, Ernest. On top of that, Jack continues, he not only drank an entire bottle of his best wine, but also ate every single muffin at tea. Jack stands by his verdict; he won’t give Algernon consent to marry Cecily.

    Lady Bracknell, however, has hope. After learning Cecily is eighteen, Lady Bracknell says it won’t be long before she comes of age and she can make her own decisions.

    But Jack interrupts, saying her grandfather’s will dictates she won’t come of age until she’s thirty-five.

    Although Lady Bracknell doesn’t think the wait is that bad, Cecily is impatient and declares she can’t wait that long.

    Finally, Jack deigns to negotiate: if Lady Bracknell will give consent for him to marry Gwendolen, he’ll consent to let Algernon marry Cecily.

    Lady Bracknell flatly refuses and tells Gwendolen to get ready to go. They’ve already missed five trains back to town.

    Dr. Chasuble enters at this crucial moment to announce that everything is ready for the christenings. Lady Bracknell will not hear of such nonsense.

    Jack sadly agrees to call off the christenings, because there’s no point now. Nobody is getting married.

    This news saddens Dr. Chasuble, but he’s glad to have some free time this evening. He’s heard that Miss Prism has been waiting for him in the vestry.

    Lady Bracknell starts at the name. Apparently they have a history.

    Jack tries to explain that Miss Prism is Cecily’s esteemed governess. But this has no impact on Lady Bracknell. She orders Chasuble to send for Miss Prism at once.

    At the sight of the stern Lady Bracknell, Miss Prism stops dead in her tracks, and turns around with the intention of running away.

    Prism! Lady Bracknell spits. Miss Prism approaches humbly.

    Lady Bracknell recites Prism’s crime: Twenty-eight years ago, Miss Prism left Lord Bracknell’s house with a perambulator (read: a baby stroller) containing a male child.

    Both of them disappeared without a trace. Weeks later, the police found the perambulator in Bayswater with an especially sappy three-volume novel inside. But the baby was gone.

    Prism, Lady Bracknell screeches, where is that baby?

    Shamed, Miss Prism confesses. She doesn’t know where the child is, but she tells what happened the best she can. On that fateful day, she not only had the baby in the perambulator with her, but the prized three-volume novel she had written, contained in an old hang-bag.

    Later that day, she got confused and accidentally put the book into the perambulator and the baby into the handbag.

    Jack, who’s been listening intently, asks where she sent the handbag. Miss Prism confesses she deposited it at a cloakroom in Victoria Station (presumably to be sent to a potential publisher), the Brighton line.

    At this news, Jack runs up to his room, leaving the others baffled. It sounds like things are being frantically thrown around.

ANALYSIS OF “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” (ACT 3) FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (86)

the-importance-of-being-earnest-

  After some time, Jack returns with a black leather handbag. He asks Miss Prism to inspect it and decide whether or not it’s the one she owned. After a few moments, Miss Prism declares that it is indeed hers.

She points to the lock, which is engraved with her initials, as proof.

    Jack smiles and reveals that he was the baby inside the handbag. Then he impulsively hugs Miss Prism, screaming in joy, “Mother!” (III.148)

    But Miss Prism recoils, saying that she is not married. How could he dare insinuate such a thing? But Jack is in a generous mood and forgives her, only to hug her again.

    Stunned, Miss Prism detaches herself and points to Lady Bracknell. That woman, she says, can tell you who you really are.

    Lady Bracknell delivers the stunning news. “You are the son of my poor sister, Mrs. Moncrieff, and consequently Algernon’s elder brother” (III.153).

    Jack is beside himself with joy, glad because this means that he had been telling the truth all these years; he does indeed have a younger brother. He grabs Algy and goes around the room, introducing

each and every person to his “unfortunate brother,” Algernon.

    Gwendolen finally asks the question that’s been on our minds. What is Jack’s real name? He must remember that his marriage depends on it.

    Jack turns to Lady Bracknell for the answer. She answers that he was indeed christened, and – as befits the eldest son – was named after his father. But, unfortunately, she cannot remember the General’s name.

    Neither can Algy, because their father died when he was a baby.

    But Jack has an idea. His father’s name would appear in the Army Lists, wouldn’t it?

    Jack turns to the bookcase and tears out volumes until he finds the Army List he wants. He flips through the ‘M’s until he finds the Moncrieff entry. He reads out the Christian name: Ernest John.

    He shuts the book and turns to Gwendolen with the suspenseful news that his name really is Ernest. He hasn’t been lying after all.

    Lady Bracknell now remembers that the General’s name was Ernest. She knew she had a reason for disliking that name.

    This clears the way for a love-fest. Gwendolen rushes into Jack’s arms. Dr. Chasuble (Frederick!) embraces Miss Prism (Laetitia!). Algernon sweeps Cecily off her feet.

    There’s general chaotic joy.

    When Lady Bracknell tries to put a damper on things by saying Jack is “displaying signs of triviality” (III.180), Jack replies suavely that, on the contrary, “I’ve now realised for the first time in my life the vital importance of being earnest.”

SCHMOOP

FOR ADDITIONAL READINGS DOWNLOAD HERESUMMARY-ANALYSIS OF ACT 3

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
wikipedia.org
sparknotes.com
gradesaver.com
cliffsnotes.com
shmoop.com
studyguide.org
enotes.com
eng.fju.edu.tw
vanderbilt.edu
neoenglish.wordpress.com

Related article

ANALYSIS OF “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” (ACT 2) FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (85)

  ANALYSIS  OF "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" (ACT 2) FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (85)

William Connell and A.J. Shively…Scenes from the Gulfshore Playhouse production of Oscar Wilde play “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

COMMENTARY 1

    The setting is the garden in the Manor House – Jack’s country estate. It’s July. A table full of books is set up beneath a yew tree in the rose garden. Miss Prism is sitting at the table while Cecily is in the back, watering the flowers.

    Miss Prism calls to Cecily to stop doing such a mundane task as watering the flowers because she needs to do her German grammar lesson.

    Cecily argues that she doesn’t want to because she knows she looks plain after her German lesson.

    Miss Prism retorts that Uncle Jack is only looking out for Cecily’s education.

    Cecily complains that Uncle Jack is so serious.

    Miss Prism defends him as the pinnacle of “duty and responsibility” (II.5). She adds that he’s even helping out that unfortunately troublesome younger brother of his.

    This piques Cecily’s interest and she wishes aloud that Uncle Jack would bring Ernest by sometime so that Miss Prism could reform him.

    She begins writing in her diary, where she keeps all the “wonderful secrets of [her] life” (II.10). At this, Miss Prism comments that she was once a writer herself.

    She wrote a three-volume novel (the bane of Cecily’s existence) back in the day. Miss Prism tells Cecily to work on her lesson.

    But the perfect excuse to ignore the lesson is just arriving – Dr. Chasuble. At the sight of him, Miss Prism blushes and stands.

    They’re so obviously crushing on each other that Cecily finds it easy to persuade them to take a walk together.

    While they’re out, Merriman the butler tells Cecily that a Mr. Ernest Worthing has just arrived.

    Cecily is overjoyed to finally be able to meet the infamous Ernest, but she’s scared at the same time.

    Algernon enters, disguised as Ernest. He greets his “cousin,” Cici. They talk about how “wicked” he is, with Cecily making comments about how he should reform himself.

    Charmingly, Algernon/Ernest asks Cecily to try to reform him that very afternoon.

    As they’re flirting and Ernest is finding every way possible to compliment Cecily, like asking for a pink rose for his button-hole “because you are like a pink rose, cousin Cecily” (II.75).

    Algernon learns that Jack plans to send Ernest to Australia.

    As Cecily’s putting a flower into his buttonhole, Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble return, discussing the moral advantages and disadvantages of marriage. They’re so wrapped up in each other that they don’t realize that Cecily is not where they left her.

    Before they can send out a search party, Jack arrives home, dressed in a black suit of mourning.

    When they ask him about it, Jack announces that he’s returned early because his brother Ernest is dead. He died last night in Paris of a “severe chill.”

    When Dr. Chasuble offers to perform a funeral ceremony for Ernest, Jack suddenly remembers something. He asks Dr. Chasuble if he can be christened. After some questions, Dr. Chasuble relents and they arrange for Jack to come by at half-past five that evening.

    Cecily comes from the house to meet her Uncle Jack with the happy news that his brother Ernest arrived just recently and is now in the dining-room.

    Jack is completely confused.

    Dr. Chasuble – trying to smooth over the awkward situation – says that these are good tidings indeed (that Ernest is alive and all). The mystery is solved when Jack sees Algernon sitting at the table.

  ANALYSIS  OF "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" (ACT 2) FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (85)

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

   Jack refuses to shake hands with Algernon. We learn from Cecily that Ernest has been telling her about his poor friend, Mr. Bunbury.

    Finally, Cecily declares she will never speak to Uncle Jack again if he doesn’t shake hands with Ernest. Jack gives in reluctantly and Miss Prism praises Cecily for her wonderful act of kindness today. They leave Jack and Ernest together.

    Furiously, Jack tells Algy to leave at once. But he’s interrupted when Merriman comes in to reveal that Mr. Ernest’s luggage has been put in the bedroom next to Jack’s.

    Jack tells Merriman that unfortunately Ernest’s dog-cart has arrived to take him away; he’s been called back to town.

    While Jack rants at Algernon, Algernon talks about how pretty Cecily is. Jack declares the dog-cart is here and leaves, just in time to miss Algy’s comment that he has fallen in love with Cecily.

    Cecily appears with a watering can in her hand. She and Ernest/Algernon exchange glances. She pleads with Merriman to let Ernest stay for another five minutes.

    Algernon informs her that Jack is sending him away and compliments her beauty. Flattered, Cecily begins copying his words down in her diary, but refuses to let him look at it.

    When the dog-cart comes again, Ernest tells it to come again next week.

    Without ceremony, he asks Cecily to marry him. She responds amusedly that they’ve been engaged for months.

    She confides her past fantasies to him, as they’re written in her diary. Apparently, Ernest proposed on Valentine’s day but they’d broken it off a month later. Now they’re back together, which she can prove with the many love letters from him that she has saved (and written herself).

    Ernest kisses her for being so forgiving.

    Then she confides that it’s always been a “girlish dream of mine to love someone whose name was Ernest” (II.233).

    Distraught, he asks her if she could love him under any other name…say…Algernon, for instance.

    Cecily finds it a rather aristocratic name, but no, she wouldn’t be able to love him then.

    At that declaration, Ernest/Algernon promptly begins asking her about the rector and whether or not he performs christenings.

    Algernon leaves to find Dr. Chasuble about a very important matter. As he leaves, Cecily comments that she likes his hair so much.

    Soon, Merriman enters to tell Cecily that a Miss Fairfax has arrived to see Mr. Worthing.

    Cecily invites Miss Fairfax to sit with her until Uncle Jack comes out.

    They’re both such charming girls that when they meet, they declare they’ll be best friends and call each other immediately by their first names.

    They talk for a little while before Gwendolen works up the balls to ask Cecily if she can inspect her.

    Gwendolen, peering through her glasses, finds Cecily rather too attractive and loudly wishes that she were a bit older and more decidedly more dowdy. She asks about Cici’s relations and finds out that Mr. Worthing is Cecily’s guardian.

    Now that’s problematic, Gwendolen says, since Ernest never mentioned it to her.

    When Cecily hears the name Ernest, she quickly explains the situation.

    It’s not Ernest Worthing who is my guardian, she says sweetly, but his older brother, Jack.

    That’s a relief to Gwendolen, who suddenly becomes polite again.

ANALYSIS  OF "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" (ACT 2) FOR WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS (85)

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

Cecily proudly declares that she’s going to be Ernest Worthing’s wife.

    Gwendolen rises to her feet. Excuse me? You’re mistaken. Ernest proposed to me yesterday. Cecily retorts that he must’ve changed his mind because he just proposed to her ten minutes ago. The two women eye each other coldly before Gwendolen announces – alluding to Cecily’s rude manners – that they obviously move in different social circles.

    Right before they can start clawing at each other, Merriman comes by to arrange their tea things. The girls bite back their acidic words in his presence.

    As Merriman serves them, they glare at each other but chitchat in cordial tones. However, their small talk bristles with little insults, mostly about the superiority of urban life (from Gwendolen) vs. the superiority of country life (from Cecily).

    When Cecily serves Gwendolen tea, she serves it in the opposite manner that Gwendolen requests – giving her lots of sugar in her tea and cake instead of bread & butter.

    Thank goodness, Jack arrives just in time to break up their fight.

    When Gwendolen jumps on him and asks if he’s to be married to Cecily, Jack laughs it off and kisses Gwendolen.

    The truth comes out. Cecily replies that he’s not Ernest Worthing; that’s Uncle Jack.

    At the unglamorous name, Gwendolen recoils in disgust.

    Right on cue, Algernon enters and Cecily goes through the same routine with him. When he confirms he’s not to be married to Gwendolen, she allows him to kiss her.

    This time it’s Gwendolen’s turn to clear up the confusion. She reveals that he’s not Ernest Worthing; it’s Algernon Moncrieff, her cousin.

    Cecily backs away when she hears “Algernon.”

    The two women embrace each other in distress, while the men hang their heads in shame.

    They finally ask Jack who Ernest is and he is forced to admit that Ernest doesn’t exist.

    When both girls realize with horror that neither of them are engaged to anyone, they agree to go into the house where the men won’t dare to follow them. With scornful looks, they leave.

    Infuriated and frustrated, the two men turn on each other for the horrible results of their Bunburying.

    Both blame each other for deceiving the girls. They argue for a while and Algernon sits down agitatedly and begins to eat the muffins left by the ladies.

    Jack comments that it’s heartless for him to eat so calmly when they’re in such a state and begins fighting with him over the muffins.

    In the midst of their squabbling, each discovers that the other has a christening to attend that evening to be named Ernest. Their christenings are scheduled only fifteen minutes apart!

    Both try to dissuade each other from doing so, without success.

    The act ends with both guys still munching muffins and bickering with each other.

 SCHMOOP

FOR ADDITIONAL READINGS DOWNLOAD HERESUMMARY-ANALYSIS OF ACT 2

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
wikipedia.org
sparknotes.com
gradesaver.com
cliffsnotes.com
shmoop.com
studyguide.org
enotes.com
eng.fju.edu.tw
vanderbilt.edu
neoenglish.wordpress.com

Related articles