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12 votes

In "The Importance of Being Earnest", what does 'Or they come in the evening, at any rate' mean?

It is a reference to the English class system. Lady Bracknell, a stickler for propriety, is suggesting that the Liberals are lower class than herself. The lower classes don't dine in the evening, ...
Chenmunka's user avatar
  • 2,347
7 votes

How to know if "The Importance of Being Earnest" is farce or satire or both?

Satire, parody, and farce can be hard to cleanly separate because so many works use two or all three of these devices. In their most specific senses the meanings given by the OED are as follows: a ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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7 votes

What do these lines mean in 'The Importance of Being Earnest'?

The key part of this passage is that just prior to attempting to hug Miss Prism, Jack had confirmed that the handbag he was left in as a child belonged to her. Therefore he believes she is his mother. ...
Alan T.'s user avatar
  • 350
5 votes

How does "The Importance of Being Earnest" challenge the treatment of women in sterotypical Victorian society?

I don't think these comments are anything to do with the treatment of women in general; they are just humorous references to the conventions of Victorian formal dinners. Sara Paston-Williams in The ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
3 votes

What do these lines say about Victorian investments and taxes?

The context of this line is Lady Bracknell's interrogation of Jack, as she tries to discover whether he would be a good match for her daughter. She asks him a number of questions, and most of his ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.5k
3 votes

Meaning of Lady Bracknell's phrasing in The Importance of Being Ernest

Lady Bracknell is indeed suggesting that Cecily get a makeover, though not necessarily by the same French maid as Lady Lancing, just a French maid. By "her own husband did not know her", Lady ...
Alan T.'s user avatar
  • 350
2 votes

What is the humour behind these lines in 'The Importance Of Being Earnest'?

Algernon is looking for an excuse to leave before Jack gets back. Rather than saying he has to be present at a business appointment, Algernon says that he has to miss the appointment. The humor is ...
b a's user avatar
  • 320
2 votes

Is Cecily being sarcastic about the fact that Dr Chasuble is not learned?

She's not mocking Chasuble: it's clear that he has the skills required of a clergyman. Rather it is a joke based on the idea that people who write books know nothing. From that, it follows that not ...
Stuart F's user avatar
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