• Lily May

In Which You Learn The Importance of Being Earnest (And a Question for You)

Long time no post, whoops! Well, here's a little book review for you today, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. I read this one for schoolwork and I really enjoyed it! Here are my thoughts:

The Importance of Being Earnest

A Play by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest seems like it should be the name of an essay, not a play. It is, undoubtedly, a boring and uninteresting name by most people’s standards. With some other plays, like A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, the name is an instant pull to its readers. This simply isn’t the case with Wilde’s play.

But wait: we’re judging the book (or play) by its cover. I must admit that within one minute I was hooked.

I listened to this play on audio (a good option, if you cannot see it on stage), and the recording was excellent. The characters, in all their glory, came to life in an 1890s parlor. The stage opened upon two men, one of whom is named Algernon. The other was named Jack in his title, but called himself by the name of Earnest. And this is where the confusion and drama begins.

Gwendolen Fairfax enters the scene, where Jack (still calling himself Earnest, which is what all involved believe his name to be) promptly proposes to her. Gwendolen’s mother, Lady Bracknell, demands that the marriage will not take place.

Later on, Jack travels to his country home, where his ward, Cecily Cardew, is waiting for him. Shortly after Jack’s arrival, however, Algernon shows up and tells Cecily that he is Earnest Worthing, Jack’s long-lost brother. Cecily has heard about Earnest and invites him in. They fall in love and Algernon (under the name of Earnest) proposes to her.

Later, Gwendolen arrives in the garden where Cecily is sitting. Gwendolen is seeking Jack (or Earnest), and introduces herself to Cecily. They become friends, but before long the girls realize the predicament they’re in. They’re both engaged to a man called Earnest Worthing!

So, what are they to do? Nothing more than glare at one another until the men come in and sort the entire mess out, both realizing that they were caught in their own deception. “Gwendolen--Cecily--” Jack says, “it is very painful for me to be forced to speak the truth. It is the first time in my life that I have ever been reduced to such a painful position, and I am really quite inexperienced in doing anything of the kind.”

For those looking for relatable characters and trustworthy morals, however, this is not the place to be. Wilde’s characters are meant for jest only, and rarely do you find a scrap of truth or humility in them. This is excusable when you realize that this work is meant to be purely satirical and that not every book or play is worth attaching yourself to the characters therein.

Between an epic muffin battle, a false invalid named Mr. Bunbury, and a mysterious handbag left at Victoria Station twenty-eight years ago, this satire will never fail to entertain and cheer. I highly recommend The Importance of Being Earnest, especially for those who are looking for a book to make them smile.

have you read this book, and did you enjoy it? would you like to see more book reviews?

One more thing. I'm looking for questions on foster care for an upcoming Q&A post. There's a form link below, and all submissions are completely anonymous...I will not be able to see who asked what question. (However, if you'd like your question to be acknowledged as by you, you can always sign your name.) So if you have a question that's been unanswered in the rest of my foster care posts, please click on the link below and ask any you may have!

Toodeloo, friends!

~Lily May

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