Vince's Reviews > Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
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May 27, 2008

it was amazing

** spoiler alert ** I read this because I wanted to know what "I felt like Becky Sharp at the end of Vanity Fair" meant. What I learned: good English and vanished forms of politeness. It was astoundingly well-written and totally absorbing. A genteel soap opera / tragi-comedy of manners. What a scamp! What a player she was.

This is a complex text, which I'll probably re-read because going into it I hadn't realized that since so many characters have the same name (Rawdon Crawley, Rawdon Crawley, Jr., Mrs. Crawley, Miss Crawley, Bute Crawley, Mrs. Rawdon Crawley) that it all gets confusing down the line.

The vain side of me loves the descriptions of the high-life and the arch snobbery of the creme-de-la-creme, or Ton of British society. Thackery catalogues the rules of the game and Becky breaks them. I also felt a thrill as she reaches each higher rung of the ladder, happy to be there with her, up in the nether spheres.

Sometimes Thackeray the narrator (consonant with the literary style of his times) steps to center stage and gives a rather long-winded speech, that I most often could have done without: I was breathless to return to the action!

So yes, you must decide whether you like the sly parvenue Becky or hate her. I had some sympathy in early chapters since she simply wanted a better life (a very much better life) for herself, and what other way could she attain one but by buttering up to, but by being amusing to the impossible Miss Crawley and her favorite roué, Rawdon? However, I was as shocked as Miss Crawley to learn that Becky had already married Rawdon. I felt cheated by the novelist. That was a scene that was missing - what a manipulator. If she had waited, she and Rawdon would have inherited and she wouldn't have ended up as she did. I began to hate her at the end when I learned how she got everything on credit and how she ignored her son.

It's a great high-brow soap opera criticizing British society. A must-read for any snob worth her/his salt.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Lady of the Lake I like your review but I am thinking you may want to put a spoiler alert on it? Your review is thorough and well written, very complete for those who have read it but I feel for those who have not may not want to know so much before hand (IMHO) ...great review otherwise!

The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) Arrgghhh, yes, please put a spoiler alert on it. I was looking forward to picking this up and I now know what happens.

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