10

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, they merely eat a meal. Dinner was as much an institution as a simple meal. One dresses for dinner, is summoned by one's butler and is served by one's footmen. ...


6

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. To Jack, this is a joyful reunion; to Miss Prism, however, this is an accusation against her character, since she is unmarried and therefore supposed to be a ...


3

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 answers are satisfactory, up until he mentions being found in "A HANDBAG?!" At this point, she asks him whether his income is "in land" or "in investments". He ...


3

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 Bracknell is referring to the makeover and the difference it made in Lady Lancing's appearance, saying that you almost couldn't recognize her as the same person. Jack'...


2

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 having written a book is a sign of intelligence. It's a typically Wildean reversal of common sense. If she was being sarcastic, she would be implying that ...


1

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 that there is no reason to take a train to another place in order to miss an appointment: he would also be missing the appointment if he stayed with Cecily, and ...


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