The Importance of Being Earnest

Miss Prism’s Three-volume-novel Symbol Analysis

Miss Prism’s Three-volume-novel Symbol Icon
Miss Prism’s three-volume-novel symbolizes the engrossing nature of fiction and the loss of one’s sense of reality. Miss Prism mentions to Cecily in Act II that she once wrote a “three-volume-novel.” At the end of the play it is revealed that she absentmindedly placed the manuscript of the novel in the infant Jack’s stroller, while placing the Jack in a handbag forgotten in a coatroom at Victoria station. The manuscript, being a work of fiction, and its inadvertent role in Jack’s childhood disappearance, represents the captivating quality of fiction. One may become so engaged in a work of fiction, that like Miss Prism he/she, may lose track of reality.

Miss Prism’s Three-volume-novel Quotes in The Importance of Being Earnest

The The Importance of Being Earnest quotes below all refer to the symbol of Miss Prism’s Three-volume-novel. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Importance of Being Earnest published in 1990.
Act 2, Part 1 Quotes

The good end happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.

Related Characters: Miss Prism (speaker)
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
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Miss Prism’s Three-volume-novel Symbol Timeline in The Importance of Being Earnest

The timeline below shows where the symbol Miss Prism’s Three-volume-novel 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
...novels. Slighted by this comment, Miss Prism reveals that she was the author of a three-volume-novel that was never published because the manuscript was lost. (full context)
Act 3, Part 2
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
Hypocrisy, Folly, and Victorian Morality Theme Icon
...was found three weeks later in Bayswater containing no trace of the baby, but a three-volume-novel. Overwhelmed by incriminating evidence, Miss Prism confesses that she does not know what happened to... (full context)