QUICKLET ON OSCAR WILDE'S THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
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ABOUT THE BOOK The Importance of Being Earnest is one of the few books that actually makes me laugh out loud. Or tremor silently, if I'm reading in public. From witty one-liners on marriage, to solemn cake- and muffin-eating, Oscar Wilde surprised me with quick humor in almost every sentence. But I have to admit, when I read the last sentence, I found myself flipping through the final pages looking to see if my book was missing pages. It just didn't seem complete. Somehow, the couples forgive each other, and Cecily takes Algernon despite his imperfect name. For me, the problem with the play is that I was not entirely sure what Oscar Wilde was trying to say. He lampoons society and mocks conventions, but once he's finished tearing it apart, there's nothing left. He offers no substitute for the lovers with fleeting emotions and shallow attachments. There's no hope for trust in relationships, lasting marriages, or happy couples. And that's where it gets scary. Miss Prism says in Act II, ?A misanthrope I can understand?a womanthrope, never!? I felt that despite his levity, Oscar Wilde was a misanthrope who saw little hope in the creation of a better society. Just look at his own personal life. He played along as a devoted family man, but he led a double life as a gay lover. When he did finally find a partner, he was imprisoned by a society that couldn't accept homosexuality. Although The Importance of Being Earnest kept me laughing the whole time, it never took me from ?Wow, people suck? to ?Maybe we can change.? But maybe that's Wilde's point. He would probably tell me to stop being so earnest. MEET THE AUTHOR Taryn Nakamura was born and raised in Hawaii, where she's recently returned after receiving a B.A. in English at Yale University. As a writing concentrator at Yale, she focused on fiction, but as a Hyperink writer, she's learned that nonfiction can also be fun. In her free time, she likes to run at a walking pace, haunt libraries, and eat pickles.