The Great Escape
In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde tells a story about the escape from the socially acceptable and expected life of men and women. This story istold through the lives of two pairs of romantic lovers. Wilde has two ways of representing a form of escape for both men and women; the men traditionally have more social freedom then women, so it is easier for them to create a physical escape from the life they do not want to primarily lead. However, women do not have the same freedom to create a physical alternate life, so they turn to their own imagination and create a mental escape contained in a journal. In this story these alternate lives merge together to make one existence in which all four people find something worth giving up these double lives. The two male characters in this story are Algernon Moncrieff and Ernest Worthing. Both create intermittent lives that provide something the other doesn’t. Ernest Worthing originally lives in the country and is known by the name of Jack. He brings into existence another identity in which he can escape from the rural life he leads in the country and entertain himself in the city where he is known as Ernest , “When one is in town one amuses oneself. When oneis in the country one amuses other people” (Wilde 1880). The reader finds out that while living in the country he is made to cater to what his formal family accepts as traditional and gentlemanly behavior, however in the city he is able to let loose and not feel tied up in family responsibility. As part of his escape from his responsibilities in the country Jack comes to the city on the false pretense of seeing his younger brother Ernest, “You have invented a very useful young brother called Ernest, in order that you may be able to come up to town as often as you like”(1883). Jack uses this excuse to not only come to the city to have a bit of fun, but for a deeper meaning, he comes to see a woman that he intends to marry by the name of...
Cited: Booth, Allison. The Norton Introduction to Literature Ninth Edition
Please join StudyMode to read the full document