The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde

I had absolutely no intention of reading another book today (well, in this case, a script), but spending lunch alone inevitably results in excessive munching and extensive reading. It’s no help that the largest book shelf in the house is virtually two steps away from the kitchen, conveniently flaunting its alluring tomes for easy perusing.

I simply grabbed the hefty (and worth its weight in gold, mind you) Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, with all its glory of yellow stain-tainted pages and dog-eared sides, then flipped nonchalantly to a random page. I suppose you could call it a lucky call of fate or whatever, but it landed on The Importance of Being Earnest. I don’t typically read plays, the only plays I’ve read are either scripts for drama or Shakespeare and the likes for school. But today I was simply looking for a companion to muse with over my bowl of homemade soba (well, by homemade I mean store-bought noodles thrown into boiling water) and my packaged ketchup fries (strange combination of snacks, I know), so I decided to just go with the flow. And what a great choice it was.

It was light, comical, and full of pure, seemingly baby-faced irony that was neither serious nor sarcastic, but instead wonderfully farcical in a humorous manner. Wilde seems to just revel in the comedy and writes simply for that sake and for nothing else- which makes the play utterly enjoyable. Sometimes it’s refreshing to read stories without an undercurrent of heart-wrenching satire or thought-provoking messages- after so many Huxleys and so much dystopian fiction this comedy seemed to pop out from a whole new dimension.

There are little parts in the play that seem to hint at more serious notes but you get the sense that their purpose does not lie with conveying a message, but rather exist solely for the appreciation of the reader. These little witticisms are like diamonds in an overflowing box of rubies and sapphires; brilliance in a book of wonder.

I would absolutely love to study this play; it’s short and sweet but brimming with light-hearted irony- a literary heaven of sorts. A heaven where Cupid frolics to and fro as he goes Bunburying along the fluffy clouds.

I don’t want to over-analyze this book because that would be blasphemous: to make serious what is so uniquely funny. Perhaps it’s a good thing we’re not studying this after all. To point out all the brilliant irony and witty remarks would be to make them dull- it would lose its novelty.

I suggest you go read it for yourself, now. It’s hardly a time-taking ordeal, it just took me a lunchtime (albeit a prolonged one) to finish.

Rating: 7/7 (Full marks! First on this blog.)

If that’s not enough to get you up and devouring the book with relish, I don’t know what is.

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