The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

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What aspects of The Importance of Being Earnest are realistic, and which are not?

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Kale Emmerich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The majority of the background details and events in The Importance of Being Earnest are very realistic. The characteristics of the impoverished class and the wealthy class are extremely accurately portrayed, as is the massive disparity in their positions and their inability to transition between them very well. In the Victorian era, it was common for people to beg and sell on the streets, but it was also common for people to live double lives and to gamble and drink away large sums of money.

Interestingly, the main unrealistic part of the story is the imaginary relationships the characters have. There is a pseudo-life that is developed with the imaginary characters, such as Cecily's engagement to the non-existent Earnest and Algy's frequent visits to his ill friend in the country. These are imagined pieces of fiction

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