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Intertextuality and Its Relation to the Text the Importance of Being Earnest

6 pages
1402 words
Vanderbilt University
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Intertextuality refers to the act of having a texts meaning shaped using another different version. Ideally, it implies the act of having two literary works that are related in some way being used to refer to each other. Some of the figures that are used in intertextualizing include allusion, quotation, calques, and parody as well as translation. The concept of Intertextuality is one that is employed in literature to help in the development of the interrelationship between two texts and thus generation of the understanding between the two works to the reader. Such is normally employed in poetry since the poet will use their previous work in the development of the future works. As such, this paper seeks to prove that intertextuality involves relationships in which a text is produced as a social text through the concurrent discourses in history, sociology, and culture in general. While doing so, the paper will refer to the importance of being earnest. Intertexuality is the relation of a work of literature to another and such is done through aspects such as history, sociology, and culture.

First, since the story, the importance of being earnest is going to be referred to in most of the instances in this paper, it is important or rather necessary that we have a clue of what takes place in that story. Th e lay starts off in the flats of wealthy Algernon Moncrieff which is located in the west end of Londons fashionable. Algernons aunt and daughter are planning to come for a visit. Algernons friend called jack comes first instead. Algernon realizes and later finds it weird that jack has pronounced himself as to be Ernest (Whitla 43). Jack is the protagonist in the play, and he has been depicted as to be a pillar of the community where he is the guardian of Cecily. Jack has numerous responsibilities; landowner and justice of the peace. Also, some farmers and servants are dependent on him. He pretends to have an ill-mannered brother known as Ernest. Jack is in love with Gwendolyn who is a cousin to Algernon. During the initial stages of the play, Algernon, who had all along knew Jack as Ernest suspects something and this comes from the fact that he found an inscription inside jacks cigarette case and it was addressed to uncle jack from someone who calls herself Cecily. Algernon suspects that jack is leading a double life; he has two characters in him, and people are only aware of either one of the two sides that he has. Moreover, according to Algernon, he sees such a practice where an individual decides to lead two different lives as to be weird, commonplace and indispensable in the contemporary society. Bunburyist is the term he uses to describe the kind of people that lead such kinds of lives and this term he derived from some imaginary friend he pretends to be having.

At this point, this paper seeks to have a look at the intertextualizing of the play and the book comparison, and while doing so, the paper will compare the two. The vital importance of the line, the importance of being Ernest as well as the significances it has comprises the main difference between the play and the films adaptation (Wilde 42). There are various subtle differences, three to be precise and the most predominant one is the linguistic works within which the play was based.

Correspondingly, the alterations that have been made from the play and the book are a depiction of the originality that the story is seen to be having as well as the effects o the flexibility of languages in the play. The idea or aspect or having more emphasis on the plays insincerity helps the reader and the watcher of the two to develop a darker and deeper resonance and such comes from the fact that the movie is seen to be taking a more of comic and light-hearted dimension and such it does unlike the original satire that has been presented in the book (Wilde 71). As such, the visuals between the two works is also another cause of difference, and such an assertion comes from the fact that handful of rooms are used in the movie as compared to the text where the movie is taken outside. This brings a different picture of the entire story again.

Notably, the characters are often observed to be more concerned and talk a lot about the modern culture and the modern life. However, in as much as they do this, their focus is on the language aspect of the modern culture which is where the story is dependent on. The distracts besides the language, and the dialogue is also seen when it comes to the beautiful pictures of the city and the sweet countryside as it has been depicted (Wilde 72). The words that have been used at that point are very flexible and valuable. It can be noted that the names, family relations, principle standards the love and social status have been brought out in a way that shows how adjustable they can be. The alteration between the play and the text is heavily or rather has depicted significant dependence on the language tool especially with the female characters and the manner with which they show obsession to the name Ernest.

Also, after learning of how their finances are, Gwendolyn and Cecily are unable to play by the rules they had to regulate their money. The quickly forgive and such is after the explanations they heard supporting mens artifices. The comedy aspect that the film has depicts the physical gestures as well as the material aspects of the standard of culture, and they are shallow. The play, however, shows that the shallow gestures are not that deeply rooted in the world of reality that the plays are setting is based (Wilde 72). This implies that the point here is to show that changes if need be, may only be needed in the language and not the literalization of the human characteristics. In the second act at the instance when Cecily runs her hands through Algernon's hair and says she hopes that this hair curls naturally, it is evident that the visual action at this point is less important as compared to the circumstances that are dictated by the actions in this bit. Such is seen when the hair does not curl naturally and also, the artificiality of the nature of his hair at the end of it all does not bother Cecily too, and she depicts satisfaction (Whitla 55). Lady Bracknell's character is also controversial in the two instances being looked at. She comes out to be stern and intimidating but never as dictatorial. In the text, she is a female character with some strong voice of authority. The movie, on the other hand, depicts her as to be an antagonist. In this regard, the text also shows her to be absurd, and this is so because she is right in almost everything she does. Also, worth noting is the differences in the play and the text at the point or instance when she is seen to be having jack go through some rigorous interrogation and this so because it is highly significant.

Summarily, the movie has more of its focus on relationships that have been brought out between the characters thus making the viewers develop some sense of sympathy with the lovers. The ending of the movie is somewhat darker and thus implying the satire that has been depicted in the relationships as well as Victorian's ideals of love. The case is not the same in the text of the play. The language that has been employed in the play is ironical and full of paradox, and it depicts jack as an individual that has not or rather is yet to learn the trait of honesty and the values it tags along with it. Instead, jack has been presented as to value the material worth a name could bear. Indeed, contextualization involves relationships in which a text is produced as a social text by concurrent discourse both in history, sociology and culture in general. This has been proven in the story the importance of being Ernest as shown above.


Works Cited

Whitla, William. The English Handbook: A Guide to Literary Studies. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest. A&C Black, 2014.


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