Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Question One: The Importance of Being Earnest


The Importance of Being Earnest: on overstating the obvious

So, tell me. Just what is the importance of being Earnest? Hm...


You will respond to this question by leaving a comment on this post. 
Responses should be at least 250 words each.
Remember: you must respond to at least 4 questions per novel. 
Extra credit will be awarded if you respond to more than 4 questions.

*and remember, this is a blog--write with good English and use your inner intellectual, but speak casually!

16 comments:

  1. The Importance of being Ernest… Ernest is a male given name that comes from the English word meaning vigor or intent. The definition of intent is meaning or significance. The definition of vigor is active strength or force. So it would almost seem as though this question goes around in circles. But it does not do that! The importance of being Ernest is somewhat ironic. Both Jack and Algernon intended for their names to become Ernest. It would seem as though their name is the only true reason why their girls Gwendolyn and Cecily love them. Shallow? No. Because I think that they actually love them for thinking that they are actually Ernest in the spirit. That they themselves are intent and vigorous. They both wanted a man that would be full of meaning, significant, forceful, and full of strength. When they learn that neither of them are actually named Ernest, they lost all sight of Jack and Algernon’s significance and meaning in their lives. They have been lied to, and that is damaging to both relationships. They only gain back the importance of being Ernest when they are both christened and all truths are out in the open and fully dealt with. They reconcile with their lovely ladies, and they all live happily ever after, knowing the true meaning of the “importance of being Ernes”

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  2. My bad. I spelled "Earnest" wrong everytime. Disregard the miss spellings! I blame word.

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  3. The importance of being Earnest, the importance of being Earnest in this novel is how two men, Jack and Algernon, want to be someone even though they are not. Wilde begins the play with jack as Earnest visiting his friend Algernon until Algernon finds out about Jacks secrets and he decides to become Earnest to meet Jacks niece Cecily . They both take on the name Earnest for a woman. Jack for Gwendolyn and Algernon for Cecily. Both propose as Earnest and both women accept until they find out that their fianc├ęs names aren’t Earnest and then refuse the proposal unless they change their name to Earnest. What’s so important about this name throughout the book is that Earnest is who they need to be for the woman they want to marry. Both Gwendolyn and Cecily say they have fallen in love with the name and cannot bear to marry a man without the name Earnest. It is important to Gwendolyn and Cecily that the men be named Earnest and therefore the men find it important to change their name. Throughout the play both men are trying to become Earnest to be with the women they have fallen in love with. Being named Earnest is the most important thing for most of the characters in the play, hence the name The Importance of Being Earnest. The play centers around two men and their strange journey to being named Earnest for two women who strangely will only marry them if their name is Earnest.

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  4. As we all know, throughout the play, both Jack and Algernon were pretending to be called by the name Earnest. The dictionary definition of earnest is, full of seriousness, as of intention or purpose. While reading the play we find out that Jack is madly in love with Gwendolyn and Algernon has these same feelings for Cecily. They both are loved by each of the girls, but they are loved because of the name Earnest. Earlier I stated that earnest means full of seriousness, and both of these men are in a very serious predicament. Since they told the girls that their name is Earnest, even though it isn’t, now they have to keep lying to them and digging a deeper hole. When Cecily and Gwendolyn find out what has been going on, they are disappointed when they find out that Jack and Algernon are, in fact, not Earnest. This is a huge risk that the guys take because the girls could decide to not marry them because they lied to them. Jack and Algernon’s risks did, however, pay off, and each of them was engaged to the loves of their lives. After reading this book one can learn just how important it is to be completely honest about who you are when you are in love with someone and you want to marry. Along with being honest, one must also always remember the true importance of being earnest. Miss Johnson, are you actually going to count all of the words in each post to see just how many words each person posts?

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  5. Being earnest is an honorable quality, when you’re calling someone earnest you’re saying they are serious and sincere. In the play being earnest has a double importance. The most important reason for being earnest is for the women of the play. Secondly the men get caught in a rather nasty lie they are living and it all could have been avoided if they had just been truthful, or earnest. The women find the name Earnest so enticing; Gweldolen says “It has a music of its own.”(Wilde 194) Cecily to is in love with her man named Earnest. The problem with the women loving their Earnests is the two are not actually named Earnest, except for Jack who later finds out he is has been Earnest all along. The ironic part about Jack being named Earnest all along was as it turns out, he really was being earnest. He really never did lie; he was actually visiting his brother in London, who was going to changing his name to Earnest, and his name really was Earnest. The whole ordeal could have been avoided however if Miss Prism would not have lost the baby in the first place. If Jack could have just been named earnest his whole life then there would have been no need to lie to Gwendolen. Then he would probably not have a fake brother and Algernon would have never gone to the country find Cecily. It is all tied together around being truthful with people and good things will happen.

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  6. Oscar Wilde could have picked any name in the world, but, instead, he chose "Earnest". Why? When I first heard the name I thought it was kind of weird. I definitely wouldn't want to name my child Earnest. The dictionary definition for Earnest is: marked by or showing deep sincerity or seriousness, even passionate. I think Wilde chose this name because it is what makes the play so ironic. The name earnest can be synonymous with the word sincerity. This is, obviously, honesty, yet the entire play is built on a web of lies. Even though the main characters, Jack and Algernon, had sincere intentions they still lied about their true names throughout the entire play. Gwendolyn and Cecily both loved the name Earnest. They admitted to only marrying them because they “had always pictured themselves marrying a man named Earnest!” Strange? Yes. But, if you think about the meaning of the name Earnest, the girls probably thought Jack and Algernon had the qualities of an earnest man. I thought it was pretty funny when the men suggest their real names to their girls and both, Gwendolyn and Cecily, act disgusted by them. Is it slightly shallow for a woman to love a man just because he has a certain name? Sure. But, I mean, who wants to marry an Algernon?? Throughout the play, the men are trying as hard as they can to be earnest. However, the only time they truly earn the name is at the end of the play when the truth is revealed to everyone.

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  7. There are a lot of different answers that can be given to this question. The importance of being Earnest might just be the simple fact that it was very important to Jack and Algernon to have the name Earnest. This was important to them because for some strange reason both the girls they loved were attracted to them because of the name Earnest. Another reason of the importance of Earnest was what the name signified. The name signified freedom to both Jack and Algernon from their other life. At the very beginning of the lie, Algernon seemed to be enjoying his double life immensely. He was having fun with it, and it is safe to assume Jack did at the very beginning as well (although not specified). However, I feel the best answer is neither one of these choices. With all of Oscar Wilde’s humor, I feel it’s only natural that he would title the story with an ironic oxymoron. The definition of Earnest is, “Marked by or showing deep sincerity or seriousness”. The ironic part of this is neither Jack, nor Algernon displayed these characteristics even though they called themselves Earnest. I think that Oscar Wilde entitled this humorous piece of literate, The Importance of Being Earnest, because he was also trying to teach a lesson. The Importance of Being Earnest is very didactic as well. Now that we know the definition behind the word Earnest, it’s as if the story was titled, “The Importance of Being Honest”. I think Oscar Wilde was trying to teach a story of honesty and how when we lie, we weave a long and complicated tangled web. It’s easier to just tell the truth. The importance of Honesty.

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  8. The title “The Importance of being Earnest” is a play on words. In this play it refers to the need to be earnest, as in hardworking, honest and steadfast, and the importance of actually being named Earnest, the name that both Gwendolen and Cecily have decided that their husbands absolutely must have. Almost the entire play is an ironic play one this phrase. Throughout the work, the two male characters, Algernon and Jack, discover that their respective love interests, Cecily and Gwendolen, will not accept suitors without the name Earnest, which they say “inspires absolute confidence”. Right away, the irony is obvious. When reading the title of the play, the reader expects to hear a tale of people learning the need to be steadfast, hardworking, and sincere. Instead, he is treated to a story of completely ridiculous and shallow people learning the importance being named Ernest. Gwendolen actually states out right in the beginning of Act 3, “In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing.” So while both women insist that their husbands be named Ernest, they really don’t care whatsoever if he is earnest! And when Jack finally states at the famous end to this play “I’ve now realised for the first time in my life the Vital Importance of Being Earnest”, he has actually had no lesson in piety or sincerity. The past all just kind of magically worked out so that he was telling the truth. The only thing he has learned is that in order to win his shallow bride he must have a specific name. It is all rather silly. But entertaining.

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  9. Quite simply put, the underlining significance of the importance of being Earnest is synonymous with the concept “be your-self”. At the very end of the play the plot is brought under a new perspective when all is revealed that Jack was never lying about his identity although realistically, he thought he was. This concept is applicable to everyone, in how we should be who we are and accept it as it is. Rhetorically, the title is ironically implemented in the story and can easily have two separate meanings. For one, the title half way through the play can imply that Earnest was the “guy” to be and it was important to be Earnest, so that you could get the girl and the approval of the family. In fact, both Algernon and Jack wanted to change their names to Earnest in order to achieve said goal. Secondly, the title of the book transforms in meaning at the near end of Act II, Part II in to a more personal and higher meaning. The fact of the matter is that the title of this book is to be fully discovered at the close. Jack himself states, “I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest.” Now this line is incredibly witty; the importance of being Earnest is capitalized which basically shows the message of the play is the title, and can only be “read” and fully understood at the end of the play. This I believe is the true importance of being Earnest.

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  10. With his wit and humor, Oscar Wilde created quite a few meanings to what the importance of being Earnest really is. After Jack’s and Algernon’s crazy escapade at Jack’s country house with both Gwendolyn and Cecily, the reader can see what the importance of being Earnest is, in terms of being sincere and devoted to something. When the confusion started at the country house, a great example of why it is important to be serious was made for the reader. Neither Jack nor Algernon did not tell their girlfriends their actual names which in turn came back to hurt them in the future. I believe that Oscar Wilde was trying to show the reader that you need to be yourself. If you act like someone totally different than whom you really are, you will not be around your true friends. Also eventually, the people that you are trying to impress will find out that you are just a poser. Also from another perspective of the play, Wilde was also trying to show the importance of being serious and devoted to what you love. Unlike Jack and Algernon, you need to make sure that you have set up your priorities so that you are not chasing something that is not important. For example, Algernon was chasing Cecily and he did not even know her. That is extremely foolish and is not, or at least should not have been in this case, important. Algernon was just after something that probably would not last. We all have to be serious about the important things in life.

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  11. Earnest. Just the word alone is very strange and mildly humorous. When you take that and make it the pseudonym for not one but TWO men in a plot is just crazy, but Oscar Wilde pulls it off. Being earnest in itself is to be honest and true. In The Importance of Being Earnest we find ourselves getting pulled into a web of lies right off the bat. Jack who is going by the name of Ernest is lying to all of those close to him; specifically his woman Gwendolyn. Algernon goes through the same incident with his woman Cecily. Whether these woman like the name because of the implications of their character that come with it or just the simple yet shallow reason that they enjoy the name makes it just that more ironic. Jack and Algernon even ask them on separate occasions if they would accept them with a common name such as Jack or such a swell name as Algernon and they react with disgust. Both of these men go so far as to try to change their names to Ernest. In the end, just like most people who lie, Algernon and Jack both fess up and have to explain made up brothers that are ill, fake friends that are on their deathbed, and the comical name Ernest they both adopted. The funniest thing of all is that once they tell the whole truth and actually ARE earnest, that is when Jack finds out that his real Christian name is Ernest.

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  12. Earnest means to be serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous. In Oscar Wilde’s play, he portrays Algernon and Jack as “earnest” men who are determined to win the love of the leading ladies. However throughout the play both Jack and Algernon are far from earnest. Jack Worthing is a responsible, stiff, and moral legal guardian to Cecily Cardew, however he craves freedom and so he invents Ernest his “immoral younger brother” who he uses to go to town and behave however he feels like. Both male characters, Jack and Algernon, vie for the affection of the leading ladies, Gwendolen and Cecily, who have put it quite bluntly that they are dead-set on marrying men named Ernest. Wilde portrays Cecily and Gwendolen as both insincere and egotistical, they have fallen in love with the name Ernest and not of the man that holds the name. As the story unfolds Jack and Algernon’s secret lives are found out and they are forced to tell the truth to their women that their names are in fact not Ernest. Only when they have to be completely honest do they become earnest in their love for their ladies. Both men have become dead-set on marrying the women they claim to love. Telling the truth forces the men to be completely earnest in their love to convince the ladies that they should still marry even telling them that they are going to be christened with the name Ernest just to please them. I think that “The Importance of being Earnest” is to be one’s true self and to be completely honest. Telling lies just proves to be more trouble than it would be if you just told the truth. Lies are always found out and usually the consequences are terrible; however, in Wilde’s play everything smoothes out in the end in a very unrealistic way.

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  13. "The Importance of Being Earnest" as a whole makes you want to point at the book and say "Oh! I see what you did there..."
    Ernest is a strange name that isn't very common today. It was obviously important to be "Ernest" in the opinion of the characters Jack and Algernon. They just wanted to woo the ladies with their name, because for some reason, the two ladies they were interested in were more in love with the name Ernest than the actual people themselves. But I don't think that being "Earnest" was really one of their priorities. If it was, well, *facepalm* they failed at it so horribly. It must have been Opposite day for them.
    I like how Wilde uses this. He takes one word that isn't even a really common word, and he blows it up into one big ironic story. It was one lie about their name that sparks other lies and other lies and other lies and you would assume that this is just going to end in such a giant catastrophe, but then it turns out that Jack was telling the truth?! WHAT?! Oh, Mr. Wilde, you sir are very very tricky.
    He ends this in such a very odd way but it works! His writing style is great! You think it will end one way and BOOM! It ends another way. Very sneaky Mr Wilde.

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  14. Well, the play, "The importance of being Earnest" was written by Oscar Wilde, and uses the lives of two bumbling "gentlemen" to show us the real importance of being Earnest. Wilde employs the use of silly diction that creates witty puns, clever play on words, and a general silly tone. But seriously now... If Wilde himself were to respond to this blog post, he might state the side effects of chasing vain, simple pleasures day by day (the opposite of being Earnest). My main man Oscar might mention the complete absence of productivity in society, the grief and misunderstanding forced on those around you, or the sticky situations forced upon yourself which only serve to deteriorate your reputation. Wilde would truly inform us about the importance of being Earnest. Unfortunately, Wilde couldnt access blogspot.com, so he scripted a play. He used the name "Ernest" to put a double meaning on the importance of being "Earnest." It so happens that Wilde coupled the two. In other words, if a characeter were truly "Earnest", it would also be true that he was named "Ernest." Because the play acheives a message through irony, the lives of the men claiming to be Ernest were far from Earnest. Perhaps it was more valuable to them to be Ernest (because of the marrital status that would ensue) than Earnest. Funny. By showing us the shallow unimportance of having the name "Ernest" in order to live excitingly, Wilde showed us the TRUE importance of being Earnest. boom.

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  15. At the start of this play, "The Importance of Being Earnest", the reader, at least I didn’t, does not particularly realize the real importance of being Earnest, in either name or virtue. In fact, it almost is better that Jack lies about his name and so calls himself Earnest. His posed name, Earnest, however in the beginning of the book is certainly a plus to having Gwendolyn like him. As the book progresses, Jack and Algernon find themselves in a lot of trouble. Jack has lied about his name, Algernon pretends to be Earnest, and as a result, both of their girlfriends are upset and momentarily cancel their relationships. Gwendolyn finds out that Jack really isn’t Earnest at all and therefore does not want to marry him. Continuing further in the book, the reader realizes that it is very important to tell the truth and to be earnest.
    If Jack and Algernon were truthful about who they were from the beginning, the whole mess with girlfriends breaking up and other conflicts seen in the play would have never occurred. Telling the truth would have prevented a lot of confusion in their lives. Ironically, it was also very important to be Earnest (with a capital “E”) being that his mother was Miss Prism who was an acceptable name and family line for Lady Bracknell’s daughter, Gwendolyn, to marry, which is what Earnest wanted. This was discovered after the real Earnest identified a bag that was the bag that Miss Prism dropped her son off in when he was a baby in a strange place. In this play the reader, or viewer, discovers that there is more than one important reason of being Earnest, or earnest.

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  16. There are actually two reasons that being earnest is important. The first is that it was important for the names of Jack and Algy to actually be Earnest. When Gwendolyn falls in love with Jack, it is mostly because of what she believes to be his real name: Earnest. It is the same for Algy and Cecily. Both men trap themselves in a lie that is too big to cover up, but they believe that, without that lie, their lovers will no longer love them. The other reason that it is important to be earnest is that, if the two men were earnest to begin with, they would have had nothing to be afraid of! They would not be trapped in a pit of lies, and maybe the girls would have fallen in love with them for who they really were. In the end Algy decides to start being earnest and tells Cecily the truth about everything, and they get engaged. Then Jack finds out that his name actually is Earnest, so Gwendolyn still loves him, and they get engaged as well. Throughout the book it is important for both characters to be Earnest, and then at the end they both end up being earnest, and one actually ends up with the name Earnest. So what, overall, is the importance of being earnest? It is to be who you really are. Be honest and truthful and straightforward. Don't make the mistake that "Earnest" and Earnest made by not being earnest, because in the end it is easier to be earnest than to be Earnest.

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