The Importance of Being Earnest vs Sure Thing: Compare & Contrast

The Importance of Being Earnest vs Sure Thing: Compare & Contrast
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Literature tends to mirror societal issues of the time. True literature is the record of contemporary happenings. Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Sure Thing” by David Ives are no different. These stories enable readers to transcend the present, transporting them into an eternal paradigm irrespective of time, society, class, and geographical barriers. “The Importance of Being Ernest” by Oscar Wilde celebrates the theme of marriage, including the obstacles it faces. Class differences and inhibitions are common to elite societies for marriage. Oscar Wilde tries to correct his readers of useless preoccupations. On the other hand, “Sure Thing” by David Ives examines the diversities in relations when a boy meets a girl. Ives shows the issue concerning the patriarch form of society.

Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Ernest” has various themes. The plot of the comedy revolves around the themes of morality, love, and cultural diversity. The play’s action revolves around the clear cultural divide between urban and rural societies. The comparisons of London and rural Hertfordshire are dominant in this play. These places symbolize attitudes towards life. Urbanity symbolizes a superfluous life, whereas rural life symbolizes a life close to nature.  Jack’s comment about rural life retells the theme of the play. “When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. It is excessively boring.” (Wilde, 1899)

Centering around the subtleties of human relations, “Sure Thing” by David Ives is a document about the pickup lines that a man uses in order to impress a woman. Ives uses this situation to examine the critical perspectives of human nature. It shows how a man behaves with a woman and vice-versa. Social vices are given less importance. The play is more concerned about the impression that a man can create in front of a woman¸ including the futile unproductive measures taken by a man often to achieve the impression. The plot is more focused on the battle of sexes, which the author portrays in a mocking tone. The bell that rings in between give the story the feel of a boxing match and this is evident from the following excerpt.

“Bill: That’s a very nice offer, but…
Betty: Uh-huh. Girlfriend?
Bill: Two, actually. One of them’s pregnant, and Stephanie-
Betty: Girlfriend?
Bill: No, I don’t have a girlfriend. Not if you mean the castrating bitch I dumped last 
(Bell). (Hub Pages, n.d.)

This excerpt from the play reinforces the theme of boxing more strongly. The only difference is the boxers are a man and woman.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” is a play that explores human nature based on social background, whereas “Sure Thing” is a testimony about gender issues. It also centers on social issues regarding morality, but the perspective is different. “The Importance of Being Earnest” is concerned with corruption. This severe social vice is scathingly attacked in the play. Whereas “Sure Thing” is more concerned with the morality of a man and woman as their relationship develops.

The plays “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde and “Sure Thing” by David Ives belong to the same genre of comedy, but both the plays evolve differently. Both the plays are written with a very didactic motif. The writers are successful in delivering their social messages. While having some similarities, the differences are greater.


Answers.Com. (No Date). The Importance of Being Earnest. Themes. Retrieved Online on March 06, 2010 

Wilde, O. (1899). The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People. L. Smithers.