The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

351 Words2 Pages
Food appears constantly in The Importance of Being Earnest, from cucumber sandwiches to tea and cake to muffins. The function of food in this play is not just to add a detail to an unusually hungry character .As a matter of fact ,it is a reflection of male characters' weakness in the high society In Act 1, Algernon orders a plate of cucumber sandwiches and bread and butter for his expected guests, Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen. He devours gradually all the sandwiches before the guests arrive. After the absence of promised cucumber sandwiches was brought to his attention, Algernon blamed the lack of them on his servant, Lane, not picking them up at the market that morning rather than admitted his own fault. The fact that he quickly came up with a fib to tell in front of his guests obviously shows how used to covering up his eating problem he is. Not only is his eating considered highly improper compared to the society he is surrounded by, but Algernon's compulsive eating also reveals men’s weakness in the whole play. A key detail about Algernon's frequent and exaggerated food consumption is that it is always someone else's food, always women’s . In general, it is men, especially men in the high society, should provide food for women and guests. While ,in Algernon's case, he is always receiving food from the women around him, rather than providing for his guests .This fact also observably proves that the men’s weakness in the high society. He also is aware of how mismatched his food consumption makes him in high society. He even comes out and tells Jack later in the play that "When I am in trouble, food is the only thing that consoles me”. It was not common for a man to speak of flaws, fears, or feelings at all .In our traditional thought, a man should be iron enough to bear all the problems he came across. While in this play, the food becomes a key point to help us
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