Vanity Fair by William Makepeace ThackerayHere I am, 54 years old, and for the very first time reading William Makepeace Thackerays Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero. I disagree with Thackeray. The Hero of Vanity Fair is the steadfast and stalwart William Dobbin; of that there is no doubt. This novel is not the coming of age, or bildungsroman, of Becky Sharp. No, Miss Rebecca Sharp sprang from the womb enlivened with her desire to claw her way to the top. She cant help it, and nor should she; is she really any different than any of us? No, shes not. It is her methods that vary from what you and I might use; or do they?
To me, the narrators voice in the novel was most amazing. It seemed that at every opportune moment, the narrator took a step back and informed us, the reader, of some nugget, some little moral, that placed the actions of the participants in the Fair in context. Vanity Fair is with us, all around us; and many times we never fully understand the roles that the players play. This voice of reason grounds us; makes us understand the joy, the pain, the happiness, and the sorrow that accompanies each of us in our journey through life. If we care to, we can learn to become better parents, better husbands, better wives, and better friends.
I also learned through the course of the novel that I cant outright condemn Becky Sharp. Becky is perhaps not a woman easily liked, but she is an admirable woman, a tough woman, and a woman I can respect. Strong-minded and willed, a terrible mother, but a battle-axe to those who take her head-on. Miss Becky Sharp -- Mrs. Rawdon Crawley -- is committed to living life at its fullest, and not one jot less. She is a woman of purpose, and that is a rare quality in many people.
The novel drips with satire from page to page; it is full of wit and sardonic humor. It is through the use of satire that we realize that the characters at the Fair are us -- have been us, and always will be us -- generation after generation, and nothing will change; only the time will change. There will always be Lord Steynes, Jos Sedleys, Old Osbornes, Mother Sedleys, Sir Pitt Crawleys, Miss Crawleys, the George Osbornes, William Dobbins, and Amelias. Our task, according to Thackeray, is to figure out how best to treat them, how best to interact and understand them, how to live with them. The real challenge, however, is how best to love, appreciate, and care for the Miss Becky Sharps in our lives. We do deserve to know her, to care for her, to appreciate her for whom she is, and she deserves to be brought in from the rambunctiousness and vagaries of the Fair.
In the end, it is Miss Sharp that gains at least some measure of redemption. It is she, and she alone, that removes the mote from Amelias eyes regarding her feelings for William Dobbin. For Becky Sharp does understand honor, virtue, and integrity (or, does she?). Thackeray finishes appropriately -- For truly it can be said, Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied? -- Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out.
A magnificent novel from start to finish.
Vanity Fair Reader’s Guide
Thackeray's upper-class Regency world is a noisy and jostling commercial fairground, predominantly driven by acquisitive greed and soulless materialism, in which the narrator himself plays a brilliantly versatile role as a serio-comic observer. Although subtitled A Novel without a Hero, Vanity Fair follows the fortunes of two contrasting but inter-linked lives: through the retiring Amelia Sedley and the brilliant Becky Sharp, Thackeray examines the position of women in an intensely exploitative male world. Thackeray is a Titan. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Two girls graduate from a finishing school. One, Becky Sharp, is the daughter of an alcoholic, broke art teacher. The other, Amelia Sedley, is the daughter of a very well-to-do middle class investor. Because of their very different childhoods, they have already learned different lessons about the world. Becky has learned that she needs to be totally self-reliant to get anywhere in life, while Amelia has learned that she will always be protected and so can remain a totally passive person. Becky is destined for being a governess, but Amelia takes her home to spend a few days with the Sedleys before Becky's job starts.
It was first published as a volume monthly serial from to , carrying the subtitle Pen and Pencil Sketches of English Society , reflecting both its satirisation of early 19th-century British society and the many illustrations drawn by Thackeray to accompany the text. It was published as a single volume in with the subtitle A Novel without a Hero , reflecting Thackeray's interest in deconstructing his era's conventions regarding literary heroism. The story is framed as a puppet play , and the narrator, despite being an authorial voice , is somewhat unreliable. The serial was a popular and critical success; the novel is now considered a classic and has inspired several audio, film, and television adaptations. In , Vanity Fair was listed at No.
with 43 down make peace
Item is in your basket
The William Makepeace Thackeray classic was first released in as a volume monthly serial. Becky attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English Society, taking her all the way to the court of King George IV, via the Battle of Waterloo, breaking hearts and losing fortunes as she goes. Head of drama, Polly Hill, said of the series: "Vanity Fair feels like the perfect classic to adapt for ITV, and Gwyneth Hughes' stunning scripts bring the novel to life in a way that will really connect with a modern audience. His most famous work is Vanity Fair, published in and , and The History of Henry Esmond, which was released in In his time, he was considered as a rival to Dickens, and his work was well received by the middle classes. As well as writing novels, essays and verses, he also toured the country nationally as known lecturer. In the novel Thackeray places her in the heart of a society where wealth and titles are valued more highly than morality and learning.
Vanity Fair , novel of early 19th-century English society by William Makepeace Thackeray , published serially in monthly installments from to and in book form in The book is a densely populated multilayered panorama of manners and human frailties; subtitled A Novel Without a Hero , Vanity Fair metaphorically represents the human condition. The novel deals mainly with the interwoven fortunes of two women, the wellborn, passive Amelia Sedley and the ambitious, essentially amoral Becky Sharp , the latter perhaps the most memorable character Thackeray created. Amelia marries George Osborne , but George, just before he is killed at the Battle of Waterloo , is ready to desert his young wife for Becky, who has fought her way up through society to marriage with Rawdon Crawley, a young officer from an aristocratic family. Crawley, disillusioned, finally leaves Becky, and in the end virtue apparently triumphs when Amelia marries her lifelong admirer, Captain William Dobbin, and Becky settles down to genteel living and charitable works.