Thursday, April 10, 2014

Reading Period 30: Oscar Wilde


Read the biographical information on Oscar Wilde, and the text of the play "The Importance of Being Earnest," in the textbook. The play is not short -- don't leave this until the last minute.


Choose ONE assignment this week, and spend the extra time studying for your midterm.

Art Connection:

Illustrate a scene from the play that portrays at least four of the characters. Your illustration should include set dressings, props, costumes, and should be set up to be realized on a stage, with doors for entering and exiting.

History Connection:

In the play, Wilde critiques the concept of the "aristocracy." Literally, this is an old form of government, as old as Ancient Greece, in which a council of exalted citizens rules the country. However, in Victorian England, there was both a Queen and a Parliament to govern. So what did "aristocracy" mean to the British? In 250 words, explain what is meant by this term, specifically in England in 1895.

Aristocratic Life in Victorian England
British Ranks of Nobility
English Victorian Society (Try copying this into Notepad, for ease of reading.)


Compare and contrast the portrayal of the lower class and the aristocracy in "The Importance of Being Earnest" with the portrayal of the lower class and the aristocracy in "Downton Abbey." Use the A12 B12 or 1AB 2AB form for your 250 word mini-essay.

Writing Connection:

In the play, Jack has mostly traditional 19th century ideas about marriage and Algernon represents a more modern attitude. Write a dialogue between the two of them where they discuss one of the following marriages in a way that reflects their opinions on marriage: Prince Charles and Lady Diana, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Stephen Colbert and Evelyn McGee-Colbert, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, or any other celebrity or high profile marriage you think would prompt an interesting discussion.


No quiz this week, but the midterm will be given in class next Tuesday! Study for the midterm by looking over everything we've read, studying the author and title of each work. There will also be questions where I give a line and you identify the work it came from, so remind yourself of the important characters and some salient points of the works we've read. You may also want to look back over the historical section on the Victorian Age in your textbook. (If you need quiz questions to guide your reading of the play, use the ones on Shmoop. If you do them and turn them in to me before Tuesday, I'll give you five extra points on your midterm.


If you didn't give a presentation last semester, time is running short for you to complete the requirements for this class! Follow the link above to view the guidelines, and choose a date to present to the class.

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