The Importance of Being Earnest

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Diaries Symbol Icon
Normally diaries document real life events, but diaries In the Importance of Being Earnest tend to document fictions. Cecily writes about her fictional engagement to “Ernest” in her diary, showing it to be a conflation of fantasy and fiction, rather than a record of fact. Gwendolen also travels with a diary, in which she records her engagement to “Ernest,” a fictional character, rather than a real man. Because diaries are more like fictions, or novels they highlight the conflict between fact and fiction that courses throughout the play.
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Diaries Symbol Timeline in The Importance of Being Earnest

The timeline below shows where the symbol Diaries appears in The Importance of Being Earnest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Part 1
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction  Theme Icon
Cecily begins writing in her diary, “things that never happened and couldn’t possibly happen,” but Miss Prism directs her to put... (full context)
Act 2, Part 2
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction  Theme Icon
Men and Women in Love  Theme Icon
...But Cecily insists that they have already been engaged for three months. Taking out her diary, she relates their elaborate romance, complete with a ring, a broken engagement, and love letters. (full context)
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction  Theme Icon
The Pursuit of Marriage  Theme Icon
Name and Identity  Theme Icon
Men and Women in Love  Theme Icon
...Shocked, Gwendolen asserts that she is in fact, “Ernest’s” fiancée, reading an entry from her diary as proof. (full context)