UNIVERSITY OF LUXEMBOURG FACULTY OF LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE, HUMANITIES, ARTS AND EDUCATION BACHELOR EN CULTURES EUROPÉNNES - ENGLISH

ESSAY THE LITERATURE WORKBOOK BY CLARA CALVO AND J.J. WEBER 1998

AUTHOR: AIJA LIVCA

LECTURER: PROF. JEAN-JACQUES WEBER

LUXEMBOURG 2011

there are many things which I found interesting and very useful. From the one hand it makes one understand and analyze these works from different point of view as understood previously. In ‘The Literature Workbook’ there is a glossary at the end of it and it makes reading and working with it easier. The workbook mainly deals with 3 genres: poetry. because of this. it makes reader confused because one cannot say that if particular statement is meant as unchangeable truth. drama and fiction and it is divided into ten chapters. for example. Because the book is published more than ten years ago it does not deal with literature of twenty-first century and that is the main disadvantage of the workbook. Also exercises and activities given in the workbook is a good way how to shore one’s understanding and follow up reader’s progress. Further reading suggestions ease the search for similar examples discussed in the book. Some theories mentioned in the book are through analyzing given fragments. it is necessary to have some previous knowledge about events mentioned or of course there is another possibility for reader to do an individual research on these events.The book I have been working with is ‘The literature workbook’ written by Clara Calvo and Jean Jacques Weber. ‘Frankenstein ‘. ‘Paradise lost’. In every chapter there is are project works related to the topic and it helps to develop understanding of the theme discussed before. but from other hand reader may want to deal with unknown works in order not to have preconceptions. for students who are working individually with this book it is more or less difficult because there is no one to discuss this subject with . reader can use the knowledge and information from chapters which one had looked at before. of a sonnet. The book is a great help for students which do not have any previous or little knowledge and experience with analyzing literature works. published in 1998 by Routledge. because of this. Some examples mentioned in the workbook are already known. nevertheless. Each chapter somehow reflects on previous chapters. The workbook deals with a lot of historical information. nonetheless. not to mention that further reading suggestions tempt 2 . nevertheless. I think this is a great advantage of it because literature is very much connected with historical events of particular time and reader should not only see the meaning from one’ s point of view but should take into account the context(s) of the work. for example. because some of the words written in bold on the sides of the text were not found in the glossary. author of this paper expected it to be wider. ‘Emma’.

many examples given in the book I could recognise from my lectures in ‘ Introduction to discourse analysis’ and other courses.reader to know a bit more if the theme discussed in the chapter was interesting for one. 3 . Reflection is one of the basics of knowledge and a learning process. Personally for me the workbook was a addition to the work I have been doing in the lectures at university.

many readers can see her role as parody but in fact her future depends on it. it also shows the main theme ‘hidden’ in comedy – marriage. a tragedy to those who feel. and tries to show what role marriage has in the society in particular time and place. I would agree that using a malapropism in a speech makes character amusing for me as a reader. ‘The Literature Workbook’ shows that the role of women’s education is very important in comedies. I would disagree because for some readers exaggerating makes the character book annoying and not comic at all. I have chosen to apply approaches mention in this chapter which considers with comedy. After reading this book and another 4 . In the fifth chapter of the book it is said: ‘He is comic because of his speech is full of hyperbole.’ I have different opinion about this statement because in fact Horace Walpole said: ‘The world is a comedy to those that think. Sheridan’s school for marriage (The effect of Education and the nature of Comedy) From my point of view this quotation reveals the main difference between tragedy and comedy.‘All tragedies are finished by a death All comedies are ended by a marriage’ This part of poem ‘Don Juan’ written by romantic poet Lord Byron introduces a chapter number five. In the workbook it is said: ‘The eighteenth-century English writer Horace Walpole thought that tragedy makes us feel and comedy makes us think. As the workbook discusses the comedy deals with marriage market. though. From this statement I understand that it is important to have character which is exaggerating in order to gain a comic and funny appearance.’ One can interpret this quotation in a different way as an author of the chapter I am working with. One is with a really happy ending and another with a sad ending. Nevertheless. as an example there is the book ‘Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods’ written by Cary J Griffith which ends as a tragedy with a death of the main character. because in a case of Mr. The other reason why I do not agree with previously mentioned quotation from the workbook is my own personal opinion. examples given in the book shows that women’s education and skills are the ones which ensures good possibility of having a wealthy husband. Benet’s death she and her daughters would stay without house and with very little amount of money.. ‘.. As my own example I can mention ‘Pride and Prejudice’ written by Jane Austen where mothers role and aim is to get a wealthy husbands for all her daughters.

I had quite opposite opinion.to feel. if the first book made me think of importance of our society and money than the other just made me laugh and for me it means . as I wrote before this is my personal opinion as I do not have extended knowledge is this field. Nonetheless. 5 .book ‘ Importance of Being Earnest’ written by Oscar Wild.

you had been more demonstrative. Gwendolen. For me you have always had an irresistible fascination. 6 . In fact.. I am quite well aware of the fact. Mamma has a way of coming back suddenly into a room that I have often had to speak to her about. ever since I met you I have admired you more than any girl. Mr Worthing. GWENDOLEN:My own Ernest! JACK: But you don't really mean to say that you couldn't love me if my name wasn't Ernest? GWENDOLEN: But your name is Ernest. I know it is. for instance. really. Gwendolen? GWENDOLEN: Passionately! JACK: Darling! You don't know how happy you've made me. JACK: (nervously )Miss Fairfax. darling. I don't think the name suits me at all.JACK: Charming day it has been. Whenever people talk to me about the weather. I don't much care about the name of Ernest. to speak quite candidly. GWENDOLEN: I thought so. and like most metaphysical speculations has very little reference at all to the actual facts of real life. The fact is constantly mentioned in the more expensive monthly magazines.. It is a divine name. JACK: I do mean something else. I am told. Mr. But supposing it was something else? Do you mean to say you couldn't love me then? GWENDOLEN: (glibly) Ah! That is clearly a metaphysical speculation. It produces vibrations. GWENDOLEN: I would certainly advise you to do so. I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. (JACK looks at her in amazement)We live. LADY BRACKNELL (cont'd) JACK: You really love me. JACK: Personally. I knew I was destined to love you.. Even before I met you I was far from indifferent to you. Miss Fairfax. in an age of ideals. a charming name. JACK: And I would like to be allowed to take advantage of Lady Bracknell's temporary absence.. GWENDOLEN: It suits you perfectly. I am never wrong. JACK: Well. I have ever met since.. There is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence. GWENDOLEN: Yes. It has a music of its own. JACK:Yes. And I often wish that in public. I must say that I think there are lots of other much nicer names. I met you. as we know them. and my ideal has always been to love some one of the name of Ernest. GWENDOLEN: Pray don't talk to me about the weather.. I think Jack. and has reached the provincial pulpits. Worthing. at any rate. The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest.. as I hope you know. And that makes me so nervous..

. everything goes around ‘him’. Nevertheless. Lady Bracknell.My chosen extract is from the play ‘Importance of Being Earnest’ written by Oscar Wild and first performed in 1895. for example. And in the extract given above Jack is trying to tell the truth about him being Jack not Ernest. because he is scared of her.. a woman he wishes to marry. especially too serious and unable to find your own actions funny.com/historic/wilde/ 7 . But if we look at Jack. in the play Jack is not the only one who is being mistaken for two persons his friend Algernon follows his friends example and also takes Ernest role which leads to misunderstanding and amusing situation at the end of the play by two young ladies Gwendolen and Cecily. when she speaks everyone listens to her. ever since I met you I have admired you more than any girl. it does not work because Gwendolen do not want to see that.. This name is the central character of the play. She has the social status and she is the one who dictates fashion. I met you’ he is very nervous and even cannot make a sensible sentence when he is just going to propose. ‘ Importance of Being Earnest’ is a play about marriage market In the extract Jack is proposing Gwendolen and saying that he loves her. In a fact. I have ever met since. this thing has been done also in this play when Jack is pretending of being Ernest for Gwendolen. he do not have high social status and in the nineteenth-century social status and money were those aspects which defined man as a good candidate for marriage.. in the Cambridge dictionary word earnest is explained as an adjective which means serious or determined. nonetheless. Jack does not propose in front of Gwendolen’s mother. in this quotation: ‘Miss Fairfax. additionally. in a town and being Jack in a country side. 1 As mentioned in ‘The Literature Workbook’ that pretending and mistaking one person for another which are thought to be two persons are in fact one person is a typical feature of classical comedies and are found in already in the Greek comedies. though. And as other resources show in Victorian age earnest also was a name for a homosexual 1 http://cmgww. But if we look closely to the name Ernest it could also mean a word earnest which is mentioned in the title of ‘Importance of Being Earnest’. There is a malapropism used in the main ‘characters’ name of the play which is Ernest.

As the play ends with marriage arrangements. She has a governess who is teaching her.man. The main reason why Jack wants Cecily to be educated is the possibility of having good chances in the marriage market. she rather spends her free time fantasying and writing her diary. she asks Algernon to come to her diner in order to play German songs instead of French. or when she uses such a phrase like metaphysical speculation. Education of young women was as important in the nineteenth century as being wealthy men in order to have good chances in marriage market. in fact she hates it. it is because of the influence of French revolution and in England high aristocracy was scared that the same thing could happen in Britain. Nonetheless. 2 In one word there can be many meanings meant by the author and with this one word author can play around and make reader to laugh. 2 http://www. Cecily’s attitude towards German language can be seen as a ‘revolution’ in Britain. In the extract reader can notice that Gwendolen is an educated woman and she knows what she is saying. Lady Bracknell has a quite opposite opinion. We cannot see in this particular extract. Despite of Jack’s wishes Cecily is not interested in German language at all.htm 8 . but Jack has a sister and she is quite opposite to Gwendolen. nonetheless. for example. when she asks Jack to stop the small talk (he starts a conversation asking about weather) but instead say what he wants.anglik. it is one more prove that the play is a comedy. The play ends with arrangement of two marriages – Algernon is going to be married with Cecily and Jack with Gwendolen. Cecily is not interested in the studies.net/oscarwilde.

9 .Analyzing comedy is not as easy as I thought in the beginning. finding it is not the thing to relay on. if the women could sometimes find wealthy men with one’s good looks. As one could see it was used in order to make fun of audience with a help of word game. nonetheless. Therefore. reader can see there a double life not only by confusing Jack to be two persons. Oscar Wild had a great talent to play around this subject and make audience laugh at them and their own believes about what women should look like and to pretend to be like. I was not able to find all the features in the play which were mentioned in the workbook. nonetheless. that not only women were under pressure but also men. ‘Confusion of identity’ is another factor that worked in analyzing the play. hyperbole and double entendre. for example. but also between country side and city. In ‘Importance of Being Earnest’ that is one of the main factors what makes this play a comedy. I could see Jack position in the society and how important role men had in the nineteenth-century. Why education of young women is so important in the comedy? As I concluded it is because this aspect influenced and defined if women will have good possibility of having a good husband of not. nonetheless. The thing that worked in analyzing my chosen extract is ‘comedy as a school of marriage’. then men did not have this opportunity they had to be wealthy enough to find a fine wife. it is very much combined with a marriage market. In the chapter which was dealing with the comedy there were several terminologies used. Of course we cannot say that each work of literature ending with marriage is considered to be a comedy. but understanding why it is used. as one can see above. as I draw conclusions it is the main characteristic of drama to be a comedy. In the extract I also found a malapropism.