Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

So, I set out on another assignment from my AP English literature teacher, this time reading the play “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. My teacher said that we would love reading this play because it was so funny and written in a very understandable way. After reading this I can honestly say, I did not enjoy reading this play. I tried reading it out loud but nothing helped. When you hate characters, it becomes a chore to read about them. Now that the book is over however, I can discuss a few things that I did like about the book.

It was very funny to see the different way women and men are looked at in this book. The men, Algernon and Jack, view women as fickle and flighty and in a way, very stupid in comparison to men. When discussing their plans for marriages, they talk of planning to introduce the girls to each other. They say that they will be calling each other sister after only having met. Algernon remarks that “Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first.” This did make me laugh because it is true. The best friends I have ever had, I started out hating. As I have heard, this is the case with most girls. Props to Wilde for picking up on that.

Lady Bracknell bugged me a lot, but she was funny. Every time any type of subject was mention, she objected in one way or another. She cared so much about appearing fashionable that everything was wrong. All in all, the characters in this book just frustrated me! There was no reason for any of them to be pissy but they spent the majority of their time that way which, in turn, made this book a chore for me to read. If anyone can clear this up for me, please let me know that I was reading this book wrong because I was just angry every time a character spoke.

What I did enjoy about this play was the many different meanings of the word earnest. The women in the play, for no reason, have vowed only to marry a man named Ernest. Earnest itself means having a serious and intent state of mind which, ironically, neither man has. Each man invents different lives for himself so that he may act in any way he chooses without dealing with consequences. When one of his fake lives begins to displease him, he only needs to kill off that life. At the end of the play when Jack states that he has finally realized the importance of being earnest, he has finally found what he wanted in life so he no longer needs to fake his life, he can be honest now.

Wow, my first negative review. I feel bad for not liking this play; I feel like I missed something. The characters just got on my nerves. Any help would be appreciated!

Until next time, happy reading! Send me your book recommendations if you have them, I’d be happy to check them out and review them all! Leave any comments below! I’d love to hear them!


  1. Hmm, that is a valid frustration I suppose. I understand, but I love these characters.

    I think that due to the farcical and comedic nature of the play, we need to moreso be laughing at these characters. Sometimes we want to just relate to characters and love them for how great they are, but in this play we laugh AT them and in turn relate to them because of the faults we share with them.

    Just my two cents, but I understand your frustration.

    I have two suggestions: Absent Friends by Alan Ayckbourn and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.

  2. Thanks Jon! I see your point.

    I will check out those books

  3. I love the line about how women don't like one another at first and then they become the best of friends because it is so true! I can fully admit there isn't one girl that is a great friend to me now that wasn't thought of poorly when I first knew them. It is just a basic truth!

    I haven't read this play...and I don't know if I want to now haha we'll see.

    And Emma, you are brilliant.

  4. Thanks McCall! Give it a chance; one person's opinion doesn't have to be yours!

  5. I have not read the play myself, but I have seen the movie of the same name. I found that rather enjoyable and amusing, so you should watch the movie, compare it to the play, and tell me how that is.


    -Alina by the way