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Vanity Fair
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Archived 2011 Group Reads > Vanity Fair 13: Chapters 43–46

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message 1: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Happy 4th of July!! Did you get some good reading done on your long weekend?


message 2: by Everyman (new) - added it

Everyman | 885 comments I'm not quite up to date, but I wonder where everybody is -- it seems lonely in this discussion! Are people reading other things, or are they reading along here but just not finding much to say?


message 3: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Maybe they were on vacation??


Juliette I'm still just a bit ahead, and I have to have my book with me to comment because I'm afraid of slipping out some spoilers. OR, I just wait for others to comment and then I know what part of the book is being discussed.


Shea I am with Juliette. I somehow got ahead of the group and I don't want to slip either.


message 6: by Everyman (last edited Jul 05, 2011 05:21PM) (new) - added it

Everyman | 885 comments Juliette wrote: "I'm still just a bit ahead, and I have to have my book with me to comment because I'm afraid of slipping out some spoilers. OR, I just wait for others to comment and then I know what part of the b..."

My solution to that is to have a copy of the e-text open in another tab (all modern browsers today can have multiple tabs open), or if I'm feeling really naughty, to have the Spark Notes edition open in another tab which has chapter summaries and so reminds me quickly what happened in those chapters (of course I never use the Spark Notes in lieu of reading the book!)

Using these, I can quickly see which chapters had what I want to talk about!

So now, no more excuses!!

Here's a free e-text of Vanity Fair:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/599/59...

And here's the free Spark Notes:
http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guid...


message 7: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Oooh, you're good Everyman!


Juliette I should have gotten off my duff and walked down the stairs for the book (my kindle), but this is so much easier.

At this point I'm starting to see that maybe Becky has not rubbed off on Rawdon enough, he seems to be getting a little soft, which in my opinion is a good thing. He shows obvious affection for his son, and I'm beginning to like Rawdon (the senior).

In one of the previous discussions Everyman discusses the theme of parenthood and while I am aware of how children were viewed at that time, I don't get it. Which is why I like Amelia so much and starting to like Rawdon, even George's sister is growing on me since she is showing affection for little George. I would really like to smack Amelia's mother around though.

And yes, I'm a sap. AND gullible. I like characters who are also sappy and gullible, and I buy into the characters who show change even if they might not actually be changing for the better.


Juliette I think Becky picks her battles. She can work with children because when she was the tutor to Sir Pitt's children, they liked her. In her opinion putting in the effort for her son's approval does not have the same payback potential, if she doesn't get anything out of it, or much out of it, why do the work? The same with Lady Jane, Becky could probably work hard enough to get on the woman's good side, but why bother when Lady Jane's husband is so much easier to flatter and fawn over.


Ellen Librarian (ellenlibrarian) | 164 comments I've been thinking about the comments from people not liking Becky. It started me thinking that while we have (or it seems that way to me) pretty good insights into other people's feelings, I don't think we ever know what she's feeling - only how she's maneuvering or manipulating. The epitome of Vanity Fair, I suppose.

So it also started me thinking that we're not supposed to like her in this "novel without a hero."

Going back to our GWTW comparisons, I think this is another distinction between Becky and Scarlett. At the end of the day, we like Scarlett even as we dislike what she does. She's a real character. But Becky is like an empty shell. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy her immensely and admire her Vanity Fair mojo but it's hard to know what, if anything, she cares about or feels.

I think that's one reason Thackeray has so many other characters - or at least they're the reason the book works (for me, anyway). Scarlett was the character always in focus in GWTW, but I don't think we could stand being with Becky so intensely. Rawdon et al. may operate as merely her foils, but they also seem like the "real" people in the book.


message 11: by Everyman (new) - added it

Everyman | 885 comments I loved this passage from Chapter 43 as to why Dobbin doesn't "fall for" Glorvina:

... this dashing young woman was not bent upon loving the Major, but rather on making the Major admire HER—a most vain and hopeless task, too, at least considering the means that the poor girl possessed to carry it out. She curled her hair and showed her shoulders at him, as much as to say, did ye ever see such jet ringlets and such a complexion? She grinned at him so that he might see that every tooth in her head was sound—and he never heeded all these charms.... It was not jealousy, or frocks, or shoulders that could move him, and Glorvina had nothing more.


message 12: by Everyman (new) - added it

Everyman | 885 comments Juliette wrote: "I'm beginning to like Rawdon (the senior)."

I'm starting to be forced to the same view, too. I'm resisting it with all I can, but his obvious love and caring for his son, and his behavior at Queens Crawley, is breaking down my resistance. But then I realize that they are still ruining the landlord, the butcher, and everybody else in sight, and that works to overcome his favorable points and harden my heart against him again.

If he ever came up with enough money to be honest, and quit gambling, I would probably come to like him a lot more than I do now.

But I do agree with you that he's growing better as the book proceeds.


message 13: by Everyman (new) - added it

Everyman | 885 comments Juliette wrote: "I think Becky picks her battles."


I agree completely. And she is very smart about picking them, and very effective at winning them.

So, of course, are Jackals. :)


Wendy I really like the Biblical allusions Thackeray sprinkles throughout the book. The Samson and Delilah reference at the end of Ch. 45 is a gem. It's kind of sad that Rawdon has just turned into a boob.....Becky and Rawdon are no longer equally yoked. She's just climbed up on top of him and launched herself off to bigger and better.


message 15: by Bob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob Everyman wrote: "I'm not quite up to date, but I wonder where everybody is -- it seems lonely in this discussion! Are people reading other things, or are they reading along here but just not finding much to say?"

I'm afraid I too am a bit "disgusted" not only with Becky, but with the whole passle of Vanity Fair characters. I've lost a bit of my interest in them, and find myself speeding along trying to get to the point of their comeuppance. But I'm enjoying your and the other contributors' comments very much.


Amanda I've been staying out of it because I a)was behind and afraid of spoilers and b)because I am now ahead and was afraid of revealing spoilers! I've just finished chapter 53 and I am absolutely BURNING to talk about it!

I have to say that after the very serious note taken in the chapters about the war in Europe that seemed to just drag on forever, these latest chapters are of an altogether much more thrilling pace despite the fact they are merely about the trivialities and vanities of society. I've started to wonder what this reveals about me as a reader...

I have to say though that my heart is really going out to poor Amelia. I hope she catches a break soon. Poor Rawdon junior too!


message 17: by Shea (new) - rated it 3 stars

Shea I am hoping better things come for Amelia, Dobbin and little Rawdy in future chapters. I am glad Dobbin, despite his lonely pining, could not be coerced into a relationship with someone who doesn't truly care for him. He deserves better. I am surprised Rawdon Sr has lost so much of his character strength. He is a complete cuckold (I believe is the historically accurate term). She may not be having a full out affair but she certainly is not a faithful wife.


Bookworm Adventure Girl (bookwormadventuregirl) Juliette wrote: "I should have gotten off my duff and walked down the stairs for the book (my kindle), but this is so much easier.

At this point I'm starting to see that maybe Becky has not rubbed off on Rawdon en..."


I agree Juliette!
I think if motherhood comes naturally for Amelia and Rawdon can see the benefits have spending time with his son and saying flattering things about him then there must have been some emotional involvement with children of the time. Becky definitely missed the message on that one but I like that Rawdon calls her on it and insists on spending time with Rawdon assuring her that she won't have to deal with him.


Deana (ablotial) I just finished this section and I have to say I think it is the first section that I actually genuinely liked. I went through it MUCH faster than previous sections and it kind of makes me wish I'd gotten around to reading it sooner.

I completely agree with what Juliette said in Message 10 - it is just not worth Becky's time to befriend her child. She is very interested in 'what's in it for me?' and while you would THINK there would be benefits to her to raising her child herself (she could train him to be like her! To help her on her conniving missions! Cute little boys are great at winning people over...) I guess she missed that potential.

I really liked seeing the characters in these 4 chapters, though. I agree that Rawdon has come out better here in his interactions with his family, and that the new Sir Pitt is ... bleh. I am glad Dobbin didn't settle for Glorvina because she was definitely not right for him, but I -do- wish he could find some nice lady who would be "good enough". And the bit about the letter from his sister and him running off has me concerned. I wonder what he is planning...

I also am glad to see old Mr. Osborne coming around in terms of the boy, even if Amelia isn't ready to give up her son quite yet. Does show he's not entirely an old sourpuss...


message 20: by Bob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob Deana wrote: "I just finished this section and I have to say I think it is the first section that I actually genuinely liked. I went through it MUCH faster than previous sections and it kind of makes me wish I'd..."

Looking back at these chapters, I feel that Becky's total lack of interest in her child is a key clue to her character - it is striking to encounter a mother with ZERO affection for her child.


message 21: by Liz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liz I am just amazed by Becky in this section. She's always been conniving & looking out for her own gain, but she is so openly hateful of Lady Jane & her own son in this section. I liked her before for her spirit, but this section really made me dislike her . . . a lot. Thank goodness little Rawdown has a father who shows him so much love. I'm definitely liking Rawdon Sr. more. He's become much more selfless throughout the story (although he still has his major gambling problem), while Becky has become even more hateful (actually, she's probably just as hateful & selfish as she's always been).

And although Amelia loves her little boy so much, she drives me nuts with her overprotective mothering. She's turning her little boy into a completely spoiled brat. It's interesting to me that sweet Amelia's child is turning out as selfish & entitled as he is while cruel Becky's little boy is so sweet (not from his mother's example, that's for sure).


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