Английского языка




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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST




The Persons of the Play


John Worthing ['w:]

Algernon Moncrieff ['ldnn 'mnkrf]

Rev. Canon Chasuble ['revrnd 'knn 'tzjbl]

Merriman ['mermn]

Lane [len]

Lady Bracknell ['brknl]

Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax ['nrbl 'wendln 'ffks]

Cecily Cardew ['sesl 'k:dju:]

Miss Prism [przm]


Other Proper Names


p. 281 Half-Moon Street ['h:fmu:n]

p. 283 Shropshire ['rp]

Augusta [:'st]

p. 285 Ernest [':nst]

p. 286 The Albany [':lbn]

p. 287 Thomas ['tms]

p. 288 Bunbury [bnbr]

Bunburyist ['bnbrst]

MaryFarquhar ['mr 'f:kw]

p. 296 Grosvenor Sguare ['rvn]

p. 297 Lady Bloxham ['blksm]

p. 298 Sussex ['ssks]

p. 299 Gorgon [':n]

p. 303 Hertfordshire ['h:fd]

p. 308 Egeria [i:'dr]

Laetitia [l't]

p. 339 Terminus [‘t:mns]

Gervase Park ['d:vs]

p. 346 Bayswater ['bez,w:t]

p. 347 Gower Street ['а]


Assignments


First Act


I. a) Find Russian equivalents of the following phrases.


as far as smth (smb) is concerned; to set smb a good example; to approve of smth; there is no use doing smth; to account for smth; to make out; to give one's consent to, to get into scrapes, to invent (pretend to have) a brother; to have a treat for smb; to be accustomed to smth; to clear up the point; to be aware of smth; to take advantage of smth.


b) Recall the situations in which the phrases are used.


II. Explain in English.

to get into trouble; to know smth; to explain smth; to agree to smth; to make out; to have a fictitious brother; there is no point in doing smth.


III. Answer the following questions.


  1. Why did Jack call himself Ernest in town?

  2. Why did Algernon invent Mr. Bunbury?

  3. Why did Jack Worthing have no parents?

  4. What qualities must an eligible young man possess according to Lady Bracknell?

  5. Why did Gwendolen take fancy to Jack Worthing?


IV. Perform the cigarette case scene and the "interrogation" scene,(pair work)


V. Speak of the structure of Act One. Into how many parts does it logically fall? Entitle each part.


VI. Translate into Russian the following passages.


pp. 288-289 Algernon: "I haven't the smallest intention ... to tell you the rules".

p. 289 Algernon: "My dear fellow ... at Willis's?"

pp. 298-299 Lady Bracknell: "The line is immaterial... the season is quite over."


VII. Write out a few puns and paradoxes from Act One and discuss them.


VIII. Comment on the following utterances.


pp. 288-289 Algernon: "... The amount of women in London ... washing one's clean linen in public."

p. 294 Gwendolen: "...And I pity any woman who is married to a man called John."

p. 296 Lady Bracknell: "I'm pleased to hear it ... What is your income?"


IX. Find the instances of the author's ironic attitude to High Society.


X. Give a brief summary of Act One.


Second Act


I. Find Russian equivalents of the following phrases.


To be in favour of (p. 306); to complain of smth (p. 307); to turn into (p. 306); at a moment's notice (p. 306); to keep a diary (p. 306); to enter smth (notes, one's secrets) into a diary (p. 306); to lead a double life (p. 309); to have faults (p. 312); to be taken aback (p. 319); to break off the engagement (p. 321); to object to smth (p. 322); to be on good terms with smb (p. 325); to bore smb to death (p. 328); a matter of importance (p. 330); to be in trouble (p. 332).


II. Answer the following questions.


  1. How did it happen that Algernon came to Jack's country house under the assumed name of Ernest?

  2. Why did Jack decide to announce the death of "cousin Ernest" ?

  1. Why did Jack make up his mind to be rechristened?

  2. Why did Jack call Algernon a scoundrel?

  3. How did it happen that Cecily fell in love with her guardian's "brother"?

  4. How did Gwendolen and Cecily get acquainted? Why was there some hostility between the two girls at first?


III. Perform any dialogue scene you like best.


IV. Complete the character sketches of the two girls.


Gwendolen is rich and rather spoilt, full of silly romantic notions...

Cecily, less worldly-wise than Gwendolen, is nevertheless nobody's fool...


V. Comment on the following.


  1. Miss Prism's conclusion "As a man sows, so shall he reap". (p. 313)

  2. Canon Chasuble's revelations about carrying his duties in the parish. (p. 313)

  3. Cecily's lines: "It is always painful to part from people whom one has known for a very brief space of time." (p. 318)

  4. Algernon's statement: "Science is always making wonderful improvements in things." (p. 334)


VI. Search Act Two for stylistic devices and say what effect the author achieves.


VII. Give a summary of Act Two.


Third Act


I. a) Find Russian equivalents of the following phrases.


To inspire confidence (p. 339); to produce an effect (p. 335); not to care twopence about smth (p. 341); to stand in one's way (p. 341); to give smb the opportunity of doing smth (p. 341); to be out of practice (p. 348); to be on speaking terms (p. 349).


b) Recall the situations in which the phrases are used.


II. Answer the following questions.


  1. Why did both Jack and Algernon pretend to have a brother?

  2. What was Lady Bracknell's opinion of Cecily as a probable party for her nephew?

3. Why did Jack refuse outright to give his consent to Algernon's marriage to Cecily?

4. What was Miss Prism's story about the child she once was in charge of?

5. How did Jack prove that he was the very child placed by mistake in the handbag?

6. What relationship was discovered between Jack and Algernon?


III. Choose a dialogue from Act Three, perform it in class and make your comments on the scene.


IV. Summarize all the circumstances and coincidences that made the plot complicated and deadlocked.


V. Comment on the comic effect of the suggestive names of two personages of the play (Rev. Canon Chasuble and Miss Prism).


Note: "chasuble" is a loose-fitting sleeveless garment worn by some Christian priests at religious services; "prism" is a solid figure with a flat base and parallel upright edges.


VI. Express your opinion on the following.


  1. p. 336. Gwendolen: "In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing."

  2. p. 337. Gwendolen: "How absurd to talk of the equality of the sexes!..."

  3. p. 347. Lady Bracknell: "I dislike arguments of any kind..."

  4. p. 341. Lady BrackneR: "I'm not in favour of long engagements..."


VII. Give a summary of Act Three.

VIII. Complete the synopsis (summary) of the play.


Young John (Jack) Worthing arrives in London from the country, determined to marry the Honorable Gwendolen Fairfax, lovely cousin of his friend Algernon (Algy) Moncrieff.

Dropping in at Algy's flat, Jack finds that he has to explain that he was adopted by a Mr. Thomas Cardew when he was a baby. He also explains that he calls himself Jack in the country, but Ernest in London, so that he can blame his behaviour in London on Ernest, a fictitious brother.

Their talk is interrupted by the appearance of Gwendolen and her mother, Lady Bracknell. The latter is lured into another room by Algy, and Jack proposes to Gwendolen. Gwendolen confesses that she loves him, but partly because of the name Ernest.

When "interrogated" by Lady Bracknell, Jack is forced to confess that...


FINAL DISCUSSION


  1. Comment on the title of the play and on expressive means and stylistic devices which make the play a blaze of sparkling dialogues.

  2. Choose the funniest scene and say what type of humour (humour of situation or humour of words) is represented in it.

  3. Exchange your impressions of the play. Keep in mind that this is a play in which language is not only the means by which the characters' feelings and beliefs are expressed but an important part of the play. It is used for a witty or comic effect to contrast with the seriousness of the theme beneath.



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