Gone With the Wind Fans discussion

Margaret Mitchell > Vanity Fair

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan Bybee (Bybee) | 8 comments Has anyone read Vanity Fair? This must have been Margaret Mitchell's very favorite book, because Becky Sharp and Scarlett O'Hara resemble each other so closely. Also Mitchell gives Thackeray a shout-out during the Wilkes BBQ when Melanie Hamilton is discussing literature, much to Scarlett's disdain. Ultimately, I think Mitchell improved on Thackeray. Unlike Scarlett, who we often admire but deplore but feel as if we know her thoroughly, There's a part of Becky that remains in shadow. If you read VF with a pen and start marking or making a note everytime you're reminded of Scarlett, your book is going to be so marked up!

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I have not read Vanity Fair, but you have made it sound good! Is the movie by the same name that Reese Witherspoon was in the same Vanity Fair? I haven't seen the movie either, but I always wanted to..

message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan Bybee (Bybee) | 8 comments Yes, it's the same.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree. Scarlett and Becky Sharp are very much alike, and I also feel that Mitchell did a better job with bringing her character alive on the whole.

I think the key lies in the fact that Mitchell makes you sympathize with Scarlett, who with all her flaws should be an entirely unsympathetic heroine. She has a more ambiguous position towards her character, because while she often mocks Scarlett's actions, you can tell there is also a certain degree of admiration there. Thackeray has a more straightforward stance towards Becky. You are not supposed to like her, and it is very hard to like her indeed, especially in the second part of the novel.

Some of the initial reviewers of GWTW made this comparison as well, but Margaret Mitchell claimed she only read Vanity Fair after Gone with the Wind was completed. I am not sure whether she had read other works by Thackeray, or she was just familiar with the key aspects of his style and she made Melanie mention him in contrast to Dickens to highlight Melanie's romantic, idealistic nature.

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