How Did Oscar Wilde Portray Victorian Society In "The Importance Of Being Earnest" And What Ideas Did Charles Dickens Express In "Hard Times"?


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Will Martin answered
A few ideas: Wilde portrays Victorian society as hypocritical, snobbish and narrow. People are judged by their wealth and the social position of their families. For example Lady Bracknell isn't too enthusiastic about Algernon marrying Cicely until she hears how rich Cicely is: Then she immediatey describes her as a very "attractive young lady." 

Wilde's society, though seemingly very traditional and solid, is actually quite worried about being undermined by outsiders: Lady Bracknell even compares Jack's being found in a handbag (ie, unknown parents) with "the worst excesses of the French Revolution"!

Dickens, although writing earlier than Wilde, actually portrays a society in much more turmoil. This is because he is writing about the Industrial Revolution, and his characters are mainly middle and working class, unlike Wilde's aristocrats. 
In Hard Times "the self-made man" holds all the power, and more "upper-class" people like Mrs Sparsit are forced to live as parasites. 
However, Dickens' society is just as hypocritical as Wilde's, as we see when Bounderby is unmasked. You could contrast his situation with Jack's.

Hope this helps.

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