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Can you summarize the book "The Importance of Being Earnest"

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jocelyn22 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 18, 2007 at 6:29 AM via web

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Can you summarize the book "The Importance of Being Earnest"

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted December 18, 2007 at 7:51 PM (Answer #1)

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The Importance of Being Earnestsatirizes Victorian propriety, suggesting that behaving according to all of the rules can result in absurdity. It plays on the double meaning of "earnest" as being sincere (an important Victorian value) as well a person's name, for Earnest is the protagonist in the story. The play also satirizes identity, in that the protagonist has two of them, one for the city and one for the country, thus allowing him to be two different people. In fact the plot turns on a series of mistaken identities as well as a series of events mistaken in one way or another, culminating in the fact that Earnest/Jack as well as his good friend Algernon marrying the women they seek. This only occurs, however, after identities are clarified (Earnest's as well as his "ward" Cecily's and Cecily's teacher's (Miss Prism's)identity, too!) by the end of the play.

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