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Archived Group Reads 2018 > Vanity Fair: Week 4: Chapters 29-35

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message 1: by Lady Clementina, Moderator (last edited Mar 27, 2018 02:18AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

What an unexpected turn of events this week. The army has moved on to Belgium in preparation for battle but as when we’d left off last week, one still gets the feeling from the arrangements, and indeed life when they get there, that this is no more than an excursion for pleasure. Balls, parties, dinners, gambling―that’s all that seems to go on―Vanity Fair in its full glory, it would seem―with plenty of hypocrisy as well. George Osborne continues to spend his money as though his father has already relented (he still expects that he will), and is back to his old habits of gambling, and flirting causing Amelia much pain. And it hasn’t even been six weeks of marriage. With Becky and Rawdon coming into town, George’s attentions are diverted to Becky, who so clearly outshines poor Amelia. Becky at once seems to both to be pleased at causing Amelia suffering (though I suspect her real reason has to do with getting back at George for what he did to her), and alongside also caring a little for her, feeling sorry and also sending in Mrs O’Dowd when she knew Amelia needed someone―some shades of being ‘human’ still visible in her, then.

But then marching orders arrive and the reality of why they’re in Belgium dawns. George, so far pretty much unchanged by marriage, seems to feel some compunction at his treatment of Amelia, and for the first time seems to reflect on money matters and what she’d do if something actually happened to him on the battlefield. At the same time, there is obvious regret about getting into the marriage at all. In contrast stands Rawdon, totally (well, almost) changed by his marriage and feeling his parting with Becky far more deeply than George, and indeed Becky herself. In our heroines, we see a similar contrast, Amelia brought to tears, and illness even by the depth of her feeling for George (his misdemeanours seemingly forgotten―something I felt was a bit too extreme as usual)―and on the other hand, Becky, who let alone any feeling is more focussed on her financial position, and in the process some revenge against the society that has she feels has wronged her.

Meanwhile the cowardly Mr Jos, who seems to have promised to look after his sister to more than one person, hasn’t any compunctions turning tail when danger approaches too near and making a hasty retreat. In his defence, though he did try to take his sister along.

And then come an unexpected turn of events, with poor George dead, and Amelia alone (almost) in the world with a little boy to look after and next to nothing to live on, and Rawdon, not only safe but having advanced in rank with the clever Becky ensuring that life for them (more so herself) is full of gaiety, and so far as possible problem-free. And she ensures she is a grand social success. Becky might be assuming a false persona, but George when he was alive was not very far behind with his sham coat of arms.

On the other side, back in England, while a war might be on in the continent and their own people fighting in it, life is going on much as usual (at least till news of the casualties begins to come in) and the Crawleys who remain there are all out to curry favour with old Miss Crawley. Pitt isn’t having much success, not as much as he’d have hoped anyway while Mrs Bute’s latest (and only possible) pawn, her son James ends his attempt rather infamously. Becky has of course not given up on her attempts making sure Aunt Crawley stays informed of her husband’s triumphs, but her attempts to fail, backfire even though she manages to evade its effects. But where Pitt and Mrs Bute failed, the birth of Rawdon and Becky’s son, and Pitt’s sister-in-law Lady Southdown between them accomplished, taking the old lady’s establishment out of her control for good.

George is gone, his father is not willing even to look at Amelia, and while Dobbin is clearly willing to take his place, Amelia’s love for George is now transferred to little Georgey and she is unwilling or rather unable to look elsewhere.


message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda | 115 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

What an unexpected turn of events this week. The army has moved on to Belgium i..."


Two hurrays for Amelia in this section. First, she displays an inner strength by confronting Becky about George. It certainly came out of the blue for Becky (and for me- it was the most surprising moment in this section). Does Amelia truly believe George repented before he left for battle? And did George repent or was he only remorseful because he was staring at the possibility of death? I have a hard time attributing moral motives to him. It seems they are only a thing of the moment and he returns to his selfish and vain behavior. His death does put an end to that. The letter he gave to Becky will obviously play a part in the future of these characters, but how? Amelia’s second hurrah is for her return to life with a purpose (much better than pining after George in life or death) after the birth of her son. Perhaps she will again find inner strength as she nurtures and protects him.
Becky has obviously come into her own with her successful planning and scheming in Brussels and social success in Paris. But is the narrator being sarcastic when he calls her a heroine in Brussels for being able to plan in the face of doubts and difficulties? She’s a survivor and not a coward, but a heroine?
Mr. Osborne is certainly high on the list of the stupidly vain. He obviously loves and mourns George as the memorial in the church demonstrates, but why does he persist in blaming Amelia? She has done nothing wrong, George is the one who pursued her after her father’s bankruptcy and as Dobbin asks about George’s son, why should the children be punished for the actions of their parents? Mr. Osborne has a chance at happiness with his grandson, but doesn't even recognize it as his pride gets in the way.
Lastly, poor Dobbin. Still the most moral of the characters. Honored as a soldier and committed to Amelia and little George’s happiness, but failing (so far) to win what he wants most. I can’t believe he won’t end up with Amelia, but we’ll see.


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Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

What an unexpected turn of events this week. The army h..."


Agreed in the first hurrah- but not so much the second. Yes, like you I was glad to see Amelia tell off Becky- and she deserved it. Though her actions were pretty contradictory in this segment- on the one side showing some concern fro Amelia and the other being deliberately responsible for her troubles.

Re the second hurrah- while you're right Georgy did give her purpose in life, what I don't like/can't understand about her is the depth to which she is invested in one thing and one thing alone- like George first and Georgy now- to me it makes her somewhat impractical - not just speaking from the perspective of relationships but even considering the time when George left for war, instead of falling ill and being a burden to everyone, I'd have thought being strong for him for have been much greater help.

Re George, I don't know that it was repentance as such but again I felt it supported my idea that he does care a little for Amelia (albeit in a very superficial way, and yes, despite regretting his marriage)- I don't think he is capable of any deeper feeling - no more than Becky is, all he is interested in is his own pleasure and happiness - so at that level, in his own self-interested way, he isn't entirely unfeeling towards her. So overall, I do agree, it was just a consequence of staring at possible death- and he would have gone back to being what he was had he returned.


message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda | 115 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

What an unexpected turn of events this we..."


I agree that Amelia does obsess- first George and then her son. I was just glad that her role as mother seems to be more positive and strong, at least for now, then teetering on the edge of death in deep depression. I was really getting tired of that. Why is it that so many Victorian women- in novels- fall into these near death depressions about a man? I much prefer the stronger female characters- either a 21st century attitude or else my age. When I was a teenager, such romanticism was appealing!


Laurene | 158 comments Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

What an unexpected turn of events this week. The army h..."


I am also hoping Amelia sees the one standing by her, Dobbin. Dobbin has always loved/love Amelia but could not act on his feelings because his friend George was in the way. People can have their differences -- Mr Osborne lost his son but now he has a grandson, Georgey. Before Mr. Sedley's bankruptcy Amelia and George's engagement and marriage was agreed upon by both families. Mr. Sedley and his role as a stock broker is the reason why Mr. Osborne has all the money that he has. But how fast that fact was forgotten. It is hard to imagine being separated from your child, Mr. Osborne's fault, then losing your son then ignoring the needs of your daughter in law and grandson.


Laurene | 158 comments Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

What an unexpecte..."


I think the women of the Victorian age were viewed and valued less. There job was to bide by their husband's wishes and take care of the children. So without their man they were nothing in society's view. Without their husband's ability to earn a living or inherit money from the family, they would live a life in poverty. A women who was in her mid twenties was view as an old maid.


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Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Laurene wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

Wha..."


True- the only option was to go out as governess as Becky here and Mrs Kirkpatrick/Gibson in W&D and look at the way the are treated/looked upon when in that position.


Lois | 186 comments Laurene wrote: "I am also hoping Amelia sees the one standing by her, Dobbin. Dobbin has always loved/love Amelia but could not act on his feelings because his friend George was in the way. ..."

I dunno Laurene...it seems quite definite that Amelia is not in the least bit attracted to Dobbin (sadly) and now with the baby, can she come around, I wonder.


Lois | 186 comments Linda wrote: "Mr. Osborne is certainly high on the list of the stupidly vain. He obviously loves and mourns George as the memorial in the church demonstrates, but why does he persist in blaming Amelia? She has done nothing wrong, George is the one who pursued her after her father’s bankruptcy and as Dobbin asks about George’s son, why should the children be punished for the actions of their parents? Mr. Osborne has a chance at happiness with his grandson, but doesn't even recognize it as his pride gets in the way. "

Sigh. I know; proud and spiteful man. I think he wants to blame someone for George's folly (in his choice of wife) and so blames Amelia for taking George away from him. And naturally, when he died, his anger and pain is further directed towards her.

I really hope he comes around on baby Georgy. It would be nice if he could love the child more than he ever could his own son.

Despite his anger, I found the sections of him going to Brussels and visiting the battle ground where his son died, quite moving. I can't help but imagine this father's pain at his loss. Repositioning his seat in church so that he faces George's memorial...quite sad.


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Lois | 186 comments Despite the rather serious turn of events in this section, there was still comedy for us readers in the form of Jos and his mustachios and James Crawley and his pipe! LOL.

Poor boy. All he wanted to do was enjoy the view! :D That bit about the 'Senior Wrangler' being "at the other shop" was a nice (and unintentional) nod to Roger Hamley of W&D in my mind.

I didn't think Pitt Crawley capable of being artful given his pious nature but he's quite smart in bringing his "artless" intended to Lady Crawley, who in the end, upon reading about Rawdon and Becky's baby announcement, did indeed write in her will that the bulk of her inheritance was to go to them. So there goes the money. What will Becky do now?!

Anyone else surprised by this line: "Jos's death was not to be of this sort, but his comfort was exceeding, ..." (chap 28)

Yikes. So it is certain that Jos is going to die next/soon, given that Thackeray did the same when foretelling Lady Crawley's demise in a previous section and now she is gone in this one.

Everything happened so quickly on the battlefield, that honestly, reading about George, I was emotionless. I don't want to be mean and say that he deserved it, but I'm glad his bit comes to an end.

Compared to Rawdon, he was a terrible husband. Becky doesn't deserve Rawdon and neither does George deserve Amelia. I hope Rawdon can see his wife for what she is. In fact, I think he does already.


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Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Lois wrote: "Despite the rather serious turn of events in this section, there was still comedy for us readers in the form of Jos and his mustachios and James Crawley and his pipe! LOL.

Poor boy. All he wanted..."


One does feel a little sorry for Rawdon- somehow I don't for Amelia because I keep feeling she is just much too obsessive in her love for people, invests herself far too much for not only her own good but others as well. Even if George did love her more genuinely, her nature might well have driven a rift at some point.


Laurene | 158 comments Lois wrote: "Laurene wrote: "I am also hoping Amelia sees the one standing by her, Dobbin. Dobbin has always loved/love Amelia but could not act on his feelings because his friend George was in the way. ..."

I..."


I think I am trying to guess where Thackeray is headed. Amelia's brother Jos could possibly support her or the romantic part of me puts her together with Dobbin, who truly loves her. Wondering also!


Laurene | 158 comments Lois wrote: "Linda wrote: "Mr. Osborne is certainly high on the list of the stupidly vain. He obviously loves and mourns George as the memorial in the church demonstrates, but why does he persist in blaming Ame..."

Like your post and completely agree. In chapter 31, "The war chroniclers who write brilliant stories of tithe and triumph scarcely tell us of these. These are too mean parts of the pageant: and you don't hear widows cries or mothers' sobs in the midst of the shouts and jubilation in the great Chorus of Victory."

"Their hearts were with the column as it marched farther and farther away. Dreadful doubt and anguish - prayers and fears and griefs unspeakable - followed the regiment. It was the women's tribute to the war. It taxes both alike, and takes the blood of the men, and the tears of the women."

Those two quotes got to me. So I figured someone was going to be killed. And who would be most effected -- Amelia and Mr. Osborne.
Thackeray pulled out all the elements of grief -- the before and after.


Laurene | 158 comments Lois wrote: "Despite the rather serious turn of events in this section, there was still comedy for us readers in the form of Jos and his mustachios and James Crawley and his pipe! LOL.

Poor boy. All he wanted..."


I was surprised by that line --- it is the part Thackeray takes as the narrator giving ur forewarning about upcoming events.

Loved the humor Thackeray injects into the chapters -- especially the incident of the pipe and the money ending up with Pitt and Jane.
:D


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Lois | 186 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "One does feel a little sorry for Rawdon- somehow I don't for Amelia because I keep feeling she is just much too obsessive in her love for people, invests herself far too much for not only her own good but others as well. Even if George did love her more genuinely, her nature might well have driven a rift at some point."

Yes, I suppose Thackeray has intentionally made Amelia of a weaker spirit thereby making her less likeable to his readers.

But I can't help feeling sorry for her though. She's only loved one man all her young life and despite being married only for 7 weeks (and a tumultuous one at that), she still dedicated her heart and soul to him as was expected of a good wife.

It must have been hard for someone like her to lose her husband at so young an age and then given the chance to love again (and to heal her broken heart), she dedicates her life to her son. At least she had her son to focus on now rather than wilt away in her misery.

But you're right of course; her nature is one as such that she can't hold interest for long.


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Lois | 186 comments Laurene wrote: "... Those two quotes got to me. So I figured someone was going to be killed. ..."

There are a few lines that are so insightfully written that I come to appreciate Thackeray more the more I read him. Like this one from Chap 33:
Who has not seen how women bully women? What tortures have men to endure, comparable to those daily repeated shafts of scorn and cruelty with which poor women are riddled by the tyrants of their sex? Poor victims!

And this paragraph from Chap 32:

All of us have read of what occurred during that interval. The tale is in every Englishman's mouth; and you and I, who were children when the great battle was won and lost, are never tired of hearing and recounting the history of that famous action. Its remembrance rankles still in the bosoms of millions of the countrymen of those brave men who lost the day. They pant for an opportunity of revenging that humiliation; and if a contest, ending in a victory on their part, should ensue, elating them in their turn, and leaving its cursed legacy of hatred and rage behind to us, there is no end to the so-called glory and shame, and to the alternations of successful and unsuccessful murder, in which two high-spirited nations might engage. Centuries hence, we Frenchmen and Englishmen might be boasting and killing each other still, carrying out bravely the Devil's code of honour.

Still applicable now, isn't it. *sigh*


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Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Lois wrote: "Laurene wrote: "... Those two quotes got to me. So I figured someone was going to be killed. ..."

There are a few lines that are so insightfully written that I come to appreciate Thackeray more t..."


True- the more one reads older books one realises, nothing much has changed in the wrold


Laurene | 158 comments Lois wrote: "Laurene wrote: "... Those two quotes got to me. So I figured someone was going to be killed. ..."

There are a few lines that are so insightfully written that I come to appreciate Thackeray more t..."


Love those sentences --- starting to appreciate Thackeray more and more. And yes, it is still applicable today which is why it strikes several chords.


Laurene | 158 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "Lois wrote: "Laurene wrote: "... Those two quotes got to me. So I figured someone was going to be killed. ..."

There are a few lines that are so insightfully written that I come to appreciate Tha..."


The optimistic me always has hope -- that we learn from our mistakes to never make them again. But . . .


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Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Lois wrote: "Laurene wrote: "... Those two quotes got to me. So I figured someone was going to be killed. ..."

There are a few lines that are so insightfully written that I come to appreciate Thackeray more t..."

Also struck me, perhaps that's why classics are classics- because they bring out truths/ aspects of human nature that remain the same no matter the time


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

What an unexpected turn of events this week. The army h..."


Great comment, Linda.

You say "Mr. Osborne is certainly high on the list of the stupidly vain. He obviously loves and mourns George as the memorial in the church demonstrates, but why does he persist in blaming Amelia? She has done nothing wrong,"
Osborne father blames her for having married his son George. It's 19th century: men didn't know a lot about women's mind. They were enigmas for them. Even if men thought women were less intelligent than they were themselves (I didn't dare to say "stupid"!), men also thought that women had misleading and dishonest intentions that they did not understand.

"why should the children be punished for the actions of their parents?"
Again, it's 19th century: in France, I guess it was similar in England, children born out marriage were named bastard children and children born in marriage but whom parents had faulted were named adulterous children. These children, in yhe law, had not the same rights, they were not equal to legitimate children. Here, it's it's a whole different state of mind that we must keep in our minds while reading...

"Lastly, poor Dobbin". I would just add: "Please, Dobbin, DO something! Because, now, you seem to me like Molly Gibbson in the first chapetrs of WandD!" :)


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

What an unexpected turn of events this we..."


I absolutely agree with you, LadyC.
Amelia was first a good daughter, then a good wife, and now she's a "good mother". I put it in quotation marks, because being entirely devoted to one's child isn't for me being a good mother. A child isn't a god. He must be loved but not adulated.
If one day Amelia wakes up, she'll realize that she forgot to live for her; does she even knows who she is?

And I agree about George: he only hopes to cheat on God in case He exists, and to secure a place in Paradise for himself. What he may be wrong in, a man like him would be better fun in Hell! ;)


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Laurene wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

Wha..."


Right!


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Lois wrote: "Despite the rather serious turn of events in this section, there was still comedy for us readers in the form of Jos and his mustachios and James Crawley and his pipe! LOL.

Poor boy. All he wanted..."


I don't agree about Rawdon: he's weak! Even him recognize that without his wife, he would be ruined. And he doesn't want to be poor and honnest. For the moment, Becky does more his husband than he does for her.


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Laurene wrote: "Lois wrote: "Linda wrote: "Mr. Osborne is certainly high on the list of the stupidly vain. He obviously loves and mourns George as the memorial in the church demonstrates, but why does he persist i..."

Yes, Laurene. What Thackeray writes about war is moving.
I especially liked this passage:
"and you and I, who were children when the great battle was won and lost, are never tired of hearing and recounting the history of that famous action. Its remembrance rankles still in the bosoms of millions of the countrymen of those brave men who lost the day. They pant for an opportunity of revenging that humiliation; and if a contest, ending in a victory on their part, should ensue, elating them in their turn, and leaving its cursed legacy of hatred and rage behind to us, there is no end to the so-called glory and shame, and to the alternations of successful and unsuccessful murder, in which two high-spirited nations might engage. Centuries hence, we Frenchmen and Englishmen might be boasting and killing each other still, carrying out bravely the Devil's code of honour."
Thackeray is right: humiliation leads to revenge and revenge leads to war: that's what happened between France and Germany: one first war in 1870 brought WWII which brought WWIII. Stupid, sad...


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Lois | 186 comments Gabrielle wrote: "I don't agree about Rawdon: he's weak! Even him recognize that without his wife, he would be ruined. And he doesn't want to be poor and honnest. For the moment, Becky does more his husband than he does for her."

I never said Rawdon was a good husband though Gabrielle. ;)

I only meant that compared to George (and in terms of how much they loved their respective wives) at least he, before going off to war, took account of his possessions and instructed Becky on what needs to be done to protect herself should she find herself widowed. Becky of course, is wayy smarter than him and didn't need much guidance from him; but in that respect, at least Rawdon comes off to me as someone who cared more for his wife than George did for Amelia.

I'm not blaming George either for being a "terrible husband" (as I put it) - he is a product of his nature and his upbringing - but at least Rawdon was aware of his duties even if he wasn't the sharpest tool in the box.


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Lois wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "I don't agree about Rawdon: he's weak! Even him recognize that without his wife, he would be ruined. And he doesn't want to be poor and honnest. For the moment, Becky does more hi..."

Oh? Ok, yes, you're right.


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Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Gabrielle wrote: "Lois wrote: "Despite the rather serious turn of events in this section, there was still comedy for us readers in the form of Jos and his mustachios and James Crawley and his pipe! LOL.

Poor boy. ..."

True he is weak but since his feelings are more genuine, one feels for him more than for George or Becky, and even Amelia since he doesn't go over the top.


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "Lois wrote: "Despite the rather serious turn of events in this section, there was still comedy for us readers in the form of Jos and his mustachios and James Crawley and his pipe!..."

I agree, LadyC.


message 30: by Linda (new)

Linda | 115 comments Gabrielle wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

What an unexpected turn of events this we..."


Absolutely agree that Amelia was a convenient scapegoat for Mr. Osborne to blame for trapping George into marriage, even if it wasn’t true.
I guess I wasn’t being clear about blaming children for the actions of their parents. I was referring to Amelia. Mr. Osborne blames Mr. Sedley for his ruinous financial decisions and this leaks over into his opposition to Amelia and George’s marriage. He is, in effect, blaming Amelia for the actions of her father and now opposing a marriage he had helped to arrange many years before. I know in his egotistical mind it makes perfect sense. He has no desire to be related to a family which has lost its social/financial standing and whose patriarch has been responsible for financial decisions which have negatively affected him. Mr. Osborne twists the reality of events in many ways to suit his prideful nature. He is responsible for his own sadness so I have very limited sympathy for him.


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Linda | 115 comments Lois wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "I don't agree about Rawdon: he's weak! Even him recognize that without his wife, he would be ruined. And he doesn't want to be poor and honnest. For the moment, Becky does more hi..."

I think Radon is a good husband in that he loves Becky, does care about her fate as he goes off to war and additionally recognizes her value as a smart and conniving partner in their unethical lives. He is willing to let Becky take the lead in duplicity as she is a master. But he is immoral, both before he marries Becky and afterwards.


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Linda wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Apologies for the delay on this one―work things got in the way and I didn’t get the time to put this one up on time.

What an unexpected turn..."


I agree with you, Linda when you say: "He is responsible for his own sadness so I have very limited sympathy for him"!


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Linda wrote: "Lois wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "I don't agree about Rawdon: he's weak! Even him recognize that without his wife, he would be ruined. And he doesn't want to be poor and honnest. For the moment, Becky..."

Absolutely, it's very convinient for Rawdon to look like the "nice guy" who loves his wife while he let her ("forces" her in a way) be the bad girl. Alone, as a young girl, Becky had to use any ways to earn her own money, to reach the high society. Now, with Rawdon, she has to do it for her and for him. Who can say what she would have become if she had marry a strong and rich husband who loved her, and was more ethical than Rawdon?


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Lois | 186 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "True he is weak but since his feelings are more genuine, one feels for him more than for George or Becky, and even Amelia since he doesn't go over the top."

*emphaticheadnod* :)


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Lois | 186 comments Linda wrote: "I think Radon is a good husband in that he loves Becky, does care about her fate as he goes off to war and additionally recognizes her value as a smart and conniving partner in their unethical lives. He is willing to let Becky take the lead in duplicity as she is a master. But he is immoral, both before he marries Becky and afterwards."

I like Rawdon because of the things you've pointed out Linda.

But the question for me now is, does an "immoral" person make a "good" husband. I mean, doesn't one have to be morally correct to be good person and thereby a good husband? Hmm... you've given me something to think about.


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Lois | 186 comments Gabrielle wrote: "Absolutely, it's very convinient for Rawdon to look like the "nice guy" who loves his wife while he let her ("forces" her in a way) be the bad girl. Alone, as a young girl, Becky had to use any ways to earn her own money, to reach the high society. Now, with Rawdon, she has to do it for her and for him. Who can say what she would have become if she had marry a strong and rich husband who loved her, and was more ethical than Rawdon?"

Hmm...but does he force her to be bad though, Gabrielle? Didn't she make that choice for the both of them? I don't think Rawdon had much say in anything in that marriage; IMO, Becky wore the pants and took over the reins in that relationship.


message 37: by Lady Clementina, Moderator (last edited Apr 04, 2018 06:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Lois wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "Absolutely, it's very convinient for Rawdon to look like the "nice guy" who loves his wife while he let her ("forces" her in a way) be the bad girl. Alone, as a young girl, Becky ..."


No I don't think he forced her at all- I agree with Lois that he had no say in the marriage at all- he may not have been moral but he wasn't unfeeling- perhaps I'm not being the most PC but look at his attitude to little Rawdon vis-a-vis Becky's. Becky was never scrupulous to start with and she knew exactly what she was getting into though she may have miscalculated as far as Miss Crawley was concerned.


message 38: by Linda (new)

Linda | 115 comments I agree that Rawdon did not force Becky to do anything. Her unscrupulous nature was formed from childhood- it served her survival well. I don’t know if her personality would have allowed a husband to be the dominant force in their relationship because she was such a strong individual whose focus was herself. Rawdon was along for the ride (as long as it suited her purposes).

To Lois’s point as whether a “bad” person can be a “good” husband, I think that unless an author creates a two dimensional stereotypical character, all the characters should have good and bad elements. Real people are not totally moral or immoral (obviously to different degrees). So I think it is more realistic that Rawdon can be a good husband, and also a good father as Lady C pointed out, while behaving immorally in other aspects of his life.


message 39: by Lady Clementina, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "Real people are not totally moral or immoral (obviously to different degrees). ..."

Exactly- I think Thackeray has tried to present his characters as real people, though they are extremes in one way or other, Becky shows a hint of feeling every now and then when Amelia is concerned (sending Mrs O'Dowd to her, for instance), Amelia can speak up once in a way, even George had a hint of feeling towards Amelia (though I know not everyone agrees with me on this one)- Miss Crawley and Sir Pitt were ruthless and nasty but they suffered as humans when they were "managed" by Mrs Bute or in Sir Pitt's case mistreated by the maid.


message 40: by Lois (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lois | 186 comments Linda wrote: "To Lois’s point as whether a “bad” person can be a “good” husband, I think that unless an author creates a two dimensional stereotypical character, all the characters should have good and bad elements. Real people are not totally moral or immoral (obviously to different degrees). So I think it is more realistic that Rawdon can be a good husband, and also a good father as Lady C pointed out, while behaving immorally in other aspects of his life. "

While I agree that everyone is a bit grey on the morality scale and that Thackeray obviously is showing us all sides of their natures, I just can't see Rawdon as a good husband even after taking into account his flaws.

To me a "good husband" would have done more in the relationship rather than stand back and watch his fellow officers like George openly flirt with his wife. There is this bit from Chap 29 that stands out:
George was only half pleased to be asked to dinner on that particular day when the General was not to dine. "I will go in and pay my respects to your wife," said he; at which Rawdon said, "Hm, as you please," looking very glum, and at which the two young officers exchanged knowing glances.

Whatever his thoughts and feelings were at that moment, it nonetheless feels as though despite his better self he was pimping her out.

But of course a good wife would have brought out his better side, the more moral side and the more paternal side that is just under the surface in him. No doubt he was a (view spoiler)


message 41: by Lois (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lois | 186 comments Lady Clementina wrote: " ... even George had a hint of feeling towards Amelia (though I know not everyone agrees with me on this one) ..."

Oh, I've always agreed with this statement Lady C; it is just that when analyzing George's behaviour by taking into account the circumstances and perhaps the duress of the situation that manifested those feelings, it makes me imagine that his love for Amelia is held by a fine thread, ever under the stress of breaking when his mood shifts or his environment changes.


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "Lois wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "Absolutely, it's very convinient for Rawdon to look like the "nice guy" who loves his wife while he let her ("forces" her in a way) be the bad girl. Alone, as a young..."

What means PC, please?

Yes, Becky is Becky from the beginning.
What I meant is: in a couple, the more one goes in a way, the more the other one has to go in another way. I knew an old couple, everyone said: oh, the man is kind, he isn't doing much, but he isn't doing bad. And about the woman, people said: oh, she's too sharp, she wants to have the control of everything.
But the fact is that in front of a husband (in this case), who doesn't handle with anything, the wife had to do more.
And you can't blame for what he's done someone who does nothing, so the one who does things and sometimes does them wrong or in a too hard way, is the one who's blamed.

Maybe I should just read and shut up! 😕


message 43: by Lady Clementina, Moderator (last edited Apr 05, 2018 08:59AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Gabrielle wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Lois wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "Absolutely, it's very convinient for Rawdon to look like the "nice guy" who loves his wife while he let her ("forces" her in a way) be the bad..."

Politically correct- why I said that was perhaps it isn't fair (and it is a bit stereotypical) to say that just because Becky is a woman, we would expect her to be maternal- but still one can't help but compare that side of her character with Rawdon's who shows more feeling


message 44: by Lois (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lois | 186 comments Gabrielle wrote: "Maybe I should just read and shut up! 😕 ."

Aww..don't be so hard on yourself Gabrielle. Just because I may not agree on a point you raise, doesn't mean that I don't understand the point you make. :)


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Lois

Lady Clementina

Thank you!


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments I forgot to mention how I liked the part in Belgium, my husband's country. As I visited it, I could see the towns, it was fun!


message 47: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1861 comments Mod
Gabrielle wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lois wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "I don't agree about Rawdon: he's weak! Even him recognize that without his wife, he would be ruined. And he doesn't want to be poor and honnest. For the..."

I’m not sure Becky would have been better off without Raedon. She may have become more like Emma Bovary; never satisfied and always seeking more. I had the impression that she chose him because she thought he had good prospects of inheritance. She certainly seemed very regretful when she had to admit to Sir Pitt that she was already married. (Or at least that was my impression.


message 48: by Lady Clementina, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Renee wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "Linda wrote: "Lois wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "I don't agree about Rawdon: he's weak! Even him recognize that without his wife, he would be ruined. And he doesn't want to be poor an..."

She is in a way already like her- wanting more and more.


message 49: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1861 comments Mod
I really enjoyed this section. Things are starting to move along and I was unaware of the foreshadowing enough so that George’s death was a surprise. (Although, it shouldn’t have been)

I would like to read this back to back with War and Peace one day. They both address the battlefields society as well as of war. (But not today. That’s a lot of reading!)


message 50: by Lady Clementina, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1056 comments Mod
Renee wrote: "I really enjoyed this section. Things are starting to move along and I was unaware of the foreshadowing enough so that George’s death was a surprise. (Although, it shouldn’t have been)

I would lik..."


Good to hear that Renee- this and W&P together? That will be some task- but I see what you mean on the points in common- though W&P takes as deeper into and reflects more deeply on the war question.


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