AP English 4
November 19, 2014
Social Standing in “Importance of Being Earnest”
1. Other differences that are evident in the questions asked and the answers provided are when Lady Bracknell asks if Jack knew everything or nothing. Jack hesitated before he answered because he did not know if she wanted him to answer yes or no.
When he answered he knew nothing she “was pleased to hear.” Lady Bracknell did not approve of education because she thought it would lead to uprising by the lower class.
Another difference in reaction in the question asked and the answer provided was in the question about when Jack admitted he had no parents. He did not think that Lady
Bracknell would not let him get married to Gwendolen because he did not know who his parents were. Lady Bracknell did not approve of this answer because she wants to know the family name of who she is going to marry her daughter off to, because she would not let Gwendolen marry into a bad family name.
2. Lady Bracknell states characteristics for the husband that must live up to their standards, Jack meets the following standards; has an “occupation” of some kind, good age, has a lot of money and is not too confident in himself. However, Jack does not have a known family name due to the fact that he never knew who his parents were and adopted from a rich family. Lady Bracknell approves of his income, but she doesn't want her daughter to marry someone who does not have a name for themselves. 3. In both speeches Lady Bracknell has similar and different reactions to Jack and Cecily.
Lady Bracknell’s difference in her question reactions are in the ages she asks about.
For Jack it was important that he was 29 because that was the right age to be getting married at, but for Cecily being 19 Lady Bracknell said it was too young but it was okay for Algernon to still marry her. This contradicts the requirement for Jack showing that it actually was not important requirement for marriage. The only requirements that Lady
Bracknell was actually worried about was social status and wealth. In the first speech, she does not give approval to Jack because he does not know what family he comes from, and if her daughter is going to inherit his name, she will not let them get married.
In Cecily’s speech, she approves for Algernon to marry her because Cecily has a large inheritance and Algernon is in a large amount of debt, therefore it would help her family member out. Lady Bracknell’s views morph into ways that help her family out.
4. Wilde states that the importance of social status is ridiculous. Wilde makes a point to bold differences in the behavior of the upper class and the lower class. The upper class is so occupied with the idea of their social rank, while maintaining a perfect social status that they lose sight of what is actually important and ends up making their lives a lot worse. Wilde is trying to say that the more you care about insignificant things in life, you will end up making a more mess…