Wednesday, July 11, 2012

*extra credit only post*

This post is for extra credit only. You may not respond to this question to fulfill one of your assigned 4 questions per novel. You may only receive extra credit for this question if you have already responded to 4 questions for The Great Gatsby and 4 questions for The Importance of Being Earnest. 

How to Read Literature Like a Professor discusses the significance of meals in literature and film. Identify one or more meal/food scene in your summer reading and, using Foster's theories, analyze the significance of food in the scene(s). Refer to specific places in the text and cite the scenes/quotations, using page numbers.

Responses should still be 250+ words. You may choose to answer this question using one or both of your summer reading texts. If you choose to respond to both The Great Gatsby and The Importance of Being Earnest, respond to them in separate posts and identify which you're responding to. 


  1. Thomas C. Foster classifies Eating scenes as, “…there really needs to be some compelling reason to include one in the story. And that reason has to do with how characters are getting along. Or not getting along.” (Foster 8) For the case of the Oscar Wilde’s The Important of being Earnest there is one scene in particular that captures this generalization perfectly. In Act two Part two, Cecily and Gwendolyn have a bitter yet very polite discussion and argument, over the discovery that they are both in love with and engaged to a man named Earnest, who they believe is the same man. Okay, a tea party is usually a domestic and mannered affair. However it’s ironic that the Earnest-dilemma is discussed over tea and cake: sweet food, yet very sower conversation. Cecily even goes so far as to try to get under Gwendolyn’s skin by providing overly sweetened food to satirically poke fun at her. In return Gwendolyn states, “You have filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I asked distinctly for bread and butter, you have given me cake. I am known for the gentleness of my disposition, and the extraordinary dinary sweetness of my nature, but I warn you, Mrs. Cardew, you may go too far.” (Wilde 38) Then in response Cecily states, “…there are no lengths to which I would not go.” It goes to prove and warrant Fosters statement above that the connection between the two girls, although a connection, was a bad one, yet oh-so humorous and enjoyable to read!

  2. A pretty important scene in “The Importance of Being Earnest” is at a meal scene at the Manor House. Jack and Algernon are eating muffins at an outside table. They are fervently eating after revealing to their “fianc├ęs” their real names. The girlfriends at this point have broken up with them. At this muffin meal. Jack and Algernon are most likely discussing very important things. They are most definitely making plans for what they will next, after they have messed up. Meal scenes, according to Foster, are to be carefully observed in literature. Such a common act of eating is not usually thoroughly discussed unless there is a conflict or important change in the book or play. At this part of the play, there is definitely a conflict occurring. As Foster would say, Jack and Algernon are having a “Communion”. They both are facing the same problem and they are sharing the same meal discussing their problems. This meal scene marks a turning point in “The Importance of Being Earnest”.