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The Importance of Being Earnest

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Christopher Le

on 15 August 2014

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Transcript of The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest
By Oscar Wilde
Frankenstein
By Mary Shelley
“ A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve their’s” (Shelley).

The Society House of Literature
Presented by Christopher Le
“The wretch saw me destroy the creature on whose future existence he depended for happiness, and, with a howl of devilish despair and revenge, withdrew” (Shelley).
“But it is true that I am a wretch. I have murdered the lovely and the helpless; I have strangled the innocent as they slept, and grasped to death his throat who never injured me or any other living thing” (Shelley).

"I am alone, and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species, and have the same defects. This being you must create" (Shelley).
" A moment, Mr. Worthing. A hundred and thirty thousand pounds! And in the Funds! Miss Cardew seems to me a most attractive young lady, now that I look at her. Few girls of the present day have any really solid qualities, any of the qualities that last, and improve with time" (Wilde).
"In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing" (Wilde).
"Gwendolen—Cecily—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" (Wilde).
In
Frankenstein
and
The Importance of Being Earnest
, people will commit atrocities to themselves and others to impress society and out of fear of becoming an outcast.
"We despise his victims because they are prisoners of manners, which repress impulse and forbid deception. They seem narrow and timid" (Parker).
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Thematic Similarities
Literary Criticism
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"But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother" (Orwell).
"Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven’t got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die" (Wilde).
"But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal...If ever I get married, I’ll certainly try to forget the fact" (Wilde).
"Jack and Algy certainly attain their ends through lying. They are true rogues, impulsive, lovers of deception and imposture" (Parker).
In
The Importance of Being Earnest
and
1984
, society will expose people's hypocrisy and hollow morals.
All of the works agree that man will worry about his identity and his purpose in society.
"He had still, he reflected, not learned the ultimate secret. He understood HOW; he did not understand WHY" (Orwell).
"'But one can imagine little knots of resistance springing up here and there - small groups of people banding themselves together, and gradually growing, and even leaving a few records behind, so that the next generation can carry on where we leave off'" (Orwell).
“I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet” (Orwell).

"And what was I? Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant; but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endowed with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even of the same nature as man. I was more agile than they, and could subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded their’s. When I looked around, I saw and heard of none like me. Was I then a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?" (Orwell).
"The concern with identity is repeatedly underlined in the text of the play, where statements that seem superficially only to poke fun at upper-class frivolity continually edge the mind toward a contemplation of the insubstantiality of identity" (Parker).
"Wilde was conscious of this concern with identity, so natural to the form, and he uses it to express a preoccupation which the nineteenth century gave birth" (Parker).
"Nothingness in human identity, in human claims to knowledge, in the organization of society, becomes a field to be tilled by the artist--by the artist in each of us" (Parker).
"Lady Bracknell, I hate to seem inquisitive, but would you kindly inform me who I am?" (Wilde).
Because society motivates people's actions, the exhilarating and contemplative works Orwell's
1984
, Shelley's
Frankenstein
, and Wilde's
The Importance of Being Earnest
demonstrate that society - people living together - accompanied with the human condition causes people to commit atrocities, to be hypocritical, and to question their identities.
Argumentative Thesis
"'Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don't care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!'" (Orwell).
"The one thing that matters is that we shouldn't betray one another, although even that can't make the slightest difference" (Orwell).
"As they walked back across the grass she looked directly at him for the first time. It was only a momentary glance full of contempt and dislike" (Orwell).
Thematic Similarities
Central Theme
This project focuses on the motif of society and how society controls the actions of people. This project is in the shape of a house because houses are symbols of societies. In addition, all of the characters in these works are part of society, so they live in the Society House. Even though some characters are outcasts of society, they are still instrumental aspects to their communities.
Introduction
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Literary Criticism
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Literary Criticism
Literary Criticism
Literary Criticism
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Because Victor is driven by his lust for fame in his society, his mind ignores the potential disastrous consequences that he may have to endure for committing immoral actions. His dream of society adoring him and a "child" worshiping him causes him to perform atrocities that man should never attempt.
When the creature realizes that his last hopes of having a companion are destroyed, he becomes distraught. Now that the creature is an outcast, he tries to take revenge upon Victor and his loved ones.
In this quote, the creature admits that he has killed many innocent people. He has committed these atrocities because he is an outcast. The threat of living alone for the rest of his life causes the creature to choose to become a cold blooder killer.
The creature commits another atrocity in this quote by trying to obtain God's power when he demands Victor to create life. The creature's fear of becoming an outcast causes the creature to make immoral decisions by pretending to be God.
Society in this play dictates that people should marry other people who have material items. Since Lady Bracknell wants to impress society, she demonstrates the hypocrisy of humanity by preventing Algernon from marrying to Cecily. However, after she realizes that Cecily has money, Lad Bracknell accepts the marriage.
This quote by Gwendolen demonstrates that people do not care about sincerity as long as they impress society with style. Essentially, people are willing to lie and to deceive others as long as society accepts them.
This quote by Jack demonstrates his inexperience in speaking the truth. Before this moment, Jack has deceived others by creating a fake character, so he can achieve what he wants and can appear better in front of society. As a result, when he actually has to tell the truth, he has difficulty in doing so.
This quote demonstates that that the characters in the play are shallow because of manners. They believe that manners will boost their reputation in society, so they will perform evil tasks to increase their reputation.
Both of these works demonstrate this theme. In
Frankenstein
, Victor and his creature perform immoral actions by attempting to be God. Victor tries to impress his society by creating life, and the creature attempts to attain God's power of life and death because he is afraid that he will be an outcast. Similarly, the characters in
The Importance of Being Earnest
demonstrate this theme by performing negative actions to impress society. Jack and Algernon lie and deceive, so they can woo women, amaze society, and avoid living as outcasts.
Algernon says this quote in the beginning of the play to Jack. Basically, Algernon insults relationships. However, society exposes Algernon's hypocrisy when he attempts to have a relationship with Cecily.
Once again, this quote demonstrates Algernon's hypocrisy. He downgrades marriage in the beginning of the play, but he then seeks marriage later in the play. Victorian Society emphasizes the importance of marriage, so Algernon succumbs to society's pressure and accepts marriage even though he was against marriage before.
This quote demonstrates that society has exposed Winston's hollow morals. Even though Winston stated that he will continue to rebel against his society, he succumbs to his society's pressure and loves Big Brother.
The quote demonstrates Winston and Julia's extreme metamorphosis from loving each other to hating each other. Even though they proclaim that they will never betray each other, society causes them to turn against each other.
The quote occurs when Winston tells Julia that they will never betray and always love each other. However, their oppressive society subdues their emotions, and they eventually betray each other.
This quote occurs when Winston actually betrays Julia. When society places Winston's greatest fear upon him, he illustrates his hollow morals by betraying Julia even though he says that he will not.
To succeed in society, Jack and Algernon show their hollow morals in the play. They create fake characters, lie, and deceive others, so they can accomplish their goals.
Both
The Importance of Being Earnest
and
1984
demonstrate this theme. In
The Importance of Being Earnest
, The Victorian Society's pressures about marriage cause Jack and Algernon to have hollow morals, so they can avoid being outcasts in their community. Similarly, the oppressive society in
1984
causes Winston and Julia to show their hollow morals. Demonstrating their love, they proclaim that they will never betray each other, but society causes them to let each other down.
Identity is extremely important in Victorian Society. As a result, Jack says this quote because he wants to know his role in society.
All throughout the play, the characters are concerned about their identities in society. In fact, many of the characters' actions are motivated by their identities. Jack and Algernon lie about their identities, so they can appear better in front of society.
Wilde understands the importance of identity in Victorian Society, so he satirizes identity in his play. In his work, people stress over their identities, so they are willing to lie about their identities to impress society.
This quote means that people have the power to create their own identities. Jack and Algernon create multiple identities to fit within society, so they can avoid becoming outcasts.
This quote demonstrates Victor's thoughts about his identity in his society. He convinces himself that it is his duty to act as God in his community. Even though he knows that his actions are immoral, his dream of making an instrumental contribution to society clouds his judgement.
Text Evidence
This quote conveys the creature's musings about his identity and his role in society. At that moment, the creature realizes that he is not exactly human and that no other creature matches him. He soon believes that his differences force him to be an outcast.
This quote illustrates Winston's musings about his purpose and why his society is created. He understands how his society functions, but his eternal question is why his society is so oppressive.
This quote occurs when Winston is talking to Julia about their future. Winston questions his purpose in the rebellion and wishes that they can leave knowledge for future generations to continue to rebel against Big Brother.
The main theme of these works is that man will worry about his identity and his purpose in society. This theme relates to the outcast archetype because the outcasts often believe that they have no role in society, so they are banished. In
Frankenstein,
Victor and his creation question their purpose in society. Victor believes that his duty is to create life in his community. In addition, the creation wonders about his role in society. After Victor refuses to construct another being, the creation believes that his purpose of life is to cause much pain to Victor. However, after Victor dies, the creature no longer has a purpose in life, so he kills himself. Likewise, Winston in
1984
constantly questions the purpose of his life in the oppressive society. These thoughts cause him to become a rebel and eventually an outcast because he refuses to allow himself to lose his identity. Similarly, Jack and Algernon in
The Importance of Being Earnest
demonstrate this theme by creating different identities for themselves. They construct their own characters because they want to fit in with society. By saying their names are Earnest, they hope to woo Gwendolen and Cecily. Since marriage is important in Victorian Society, they believe that if they do not marry, the society will disgrace them, and they will become outcasts.
Conclusion
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1984
By George Orwell
Works Cited
Parker, David. "Oscar Wilde's Great Farce: The Importance of Being Earnest." Modern Literature Quarterly 35.2 (June 1974): 173-186. Rpt. in Drama Criticism. Ed. Scott T. Darga. Vol. 17. Detroit: Gale, 2002. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Aug. 2014.
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