The Importance of Being Earnest

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Drama Essay #3 Instructions

Instructions for The Importance of Being Earnest Essay:
Topic:Select one of the topics below and write a 450-500 word analysis. Do not simply give your opinion or provide plot summary. Make sure you have a clear thesis sentence and that the body of the paper has clear topic sentences which support the thesis. Underline the thesis sentence and topic sentences before turning in your final paper for grading.Details from the sources (the play and the article about the play) should then support these topic sentences. Remember you must prove your thesis using supporting evidence from the required primary and secondary sources. (See “Sources” information below).
1. What code of values does Algernon live by?
2. What aspects of marriage does Wilde satirize in the play?
3. How does the independent nature of Wilde’s female characters reflect the changing status of Victorian women?
Sources: This assignment requires use of the play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, which is the primary source, and one secondary source from any of the following:
• “An Essay for The Importance of Being Earnest” by Arnold Schmidt. This article is available on the textbook Ariel disc, which comes with new books and is also available at any of the IRSC libraries inside of the library’s copy of the class text book.
• Any article from the JStor database available through the college’s library website. (Consider getting help from an IRSC reference librarian if you need assistance with this.) Go to the JStor at
This means there must be at least two sources listed in the required Works Cited (the play and the article about the play) as well as in-text citations in the body of the paper referencing both of these sources. Simply listing a source in the Works Cited is not enough to fulfill this requirement. Do not use any other sources for this assignment; only use the approved sources as specified in these instructions.

Make sure the two required sources are used within the text and documented with in-text citations. Students who do not fulfill this minimum requirement may not receive full credit for this assignment.



Note: Follow the general writing guidelines below as you create an essay for this assignment.

General Analysis Writing Guidelines
1. Never use the word “thing” in any form (something, nothing, anything).
2. Avoid vague references to “people.” Who are these people? Say who they actually are instead of referring to them generally.
3. Never use second person: we, our, your. You should not “talk” to the reader or refer to him or her in any way. Be careful not to use commands as the “you” is understood.
4. Unless specifically required, never use first person (I). You are not to give your opinion. You are to state facts and back them up with evidence from the text.
5. Unless otherwise instructed, assume that your reader has read the story, poem, or play you are discussing. Do not retell the work because simple retelling is not analysis.
6. Do not use clichés, trite expressions, or overly used phrases. Be original. Use your own words instead.
7. Avoid unnecessary or inappropriate use of the passive voice. Make the subjects of the sentences do the action of the verbs.
8. Use appropriate diction. You are not writing a letter to a friend.
9. Generalizations need to be backed up with evidence from the text either through direct quotations, paraphrasing, or summarizing. For example, if you write that a character was well-liked, you must then give specific details from the text that show why he was well-liked.
10. Make sure your piece has a unique title that relates to your topic. It should be centered above the body of the paper. Do not put essay titles in quotes or underline. Use initial capitalization.
11. Titles of short stories or essays referenced in the paper are put in quotation marks while titles of books or plays are underlined or italicized.
12. Use present tense throughout: “Martin Luther King Jr. uses numerous references to historical American documents in his speech.”
13. Short, direct quotes should be incorporated into the text using a signal phrase. Refer to for MLA instructions.
14. Avoid giving opinions in your writing by using words and phrases such as “obviously” or “it seems” or “it’s easily understood that.”
15. Do not refer to the reader: “The reader understands the tension building in the story.” It is impossible to know what every reader is thinking, and guessing at what readers think is not analysis.
16. Have a strong thesis sentence. This is the focus of your paper, and the body of your paper should support this thesis. A thesis should be a complete sentence.
17. Make sure you introduce the author and title of the work you will be writing about in the introductory paragraph.
18. Do not tell the reader what you are going to do. Instead, just do it. For example, don’t do the following: “This essay will examine irony.” Or “In conclusion…”

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