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Vanity Fair (Book Report)

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Vanity Fair
A Novel without a Hero
(Book Report)

Passed by: Maegan Rhyzelle C. Rivero

I. Book title: “Vanity fair: A novel without a Hero”
II. Author: William Makepeace Thackeray
III. Theme: Thackeray wants his audience to realize how vanity itself can affect how people act. It is mainly a story about two girls with different outlooks in life; entangled in problems that neither of them could face well.

IV. Main Characters: Miss Barbara Pinkerton – presiding over an Academy for Young ladies Jemima Pinkerton – sister of Barbara Amelia Sedley – will be the wife of Mr. George Osborne John Sedley – father of Amelia Mrs. Sedley – wife of John Sedley Joseph Sedley – brother of Amelia Mrs. Blenkinsop – housekeeper for the Sedleys Sambo – servant for the Sedleys Rebecca Sharp – will be the wife of Rawdon Crawley Sir Pitt Crawley – a miserly, old baronet Rose Crawley – second wife of Sir Pitt George Osborne – godson of Mr. Sedley Rawdon Crawley – falls in love with Rebecca Other Characters: Miss Swartz Rose Crawley (daughter of Sir Pitt) Violet Crawley Pitt Crawley (son of Sir Pitt) Horrocks Miss Horrocks Rev. Bute Crawley Mrs. Bute Crawley James Crawley Frank Crawley Mr. Osborne Jane Maria Miss Wirt Miss Crawley Miss Briggs Mrs. Firkin Bowls Mr. Raggles Capt. William Dobbin Countess Southdown Lady Emily Hornblower Lady Jane Sheepshanks Mr. and Mrs. Clapp Miss Mary Clapp Frederick Bullock Ensign Stubble Ensign Simple Major O’Dowd Peggy O’Dowd Glorvina O’Dowd George Osborne Jr. Rawdon Crawley Jr. George Gustavus Lady Steyne Lady Gaunt Mr. Moss Fifine Capt. Macmurdo Mr. Wenham Rev. Mr. Veal Rev. Beilby Binny Isidor Kirsch Fiche

V. Point of View: The story is told from a 3rd Person’s point of view. It is practically limited omniscient. The narrator comments every once in a while, and states his opinion about what he wanted to happen. It is quite interesting to have such an amazing author playing with the narrator’s role every time something intriguing in the story happens.

VI. Conflict: There is no main conflict in the story in “Vanity Fair” as Thackeray has specified. He believes that “in reality, there are only human, and lesser human characters, but no chivalric heroes”. The very main problem in the story, however, is vanity itself for it has brought them to an indefinite number of paranoid conclusions; like when Amelia Sedley chooses to believe the lie that George Osborne has stayed true to her.

VII. Setting: 19th century in the United Kingdom

VIII. Plot: Introduction: The story begins at Miss Pinkerton’s academy for young ladies where Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley have just graduated from the academy and they are about to leave the place where they have lived for years. Complication: As Amelia has already fallen in love with George Osborne, at a ball in Brussels, George invites Amelia to run away with him. Climax: At the height of both Amelia’s and Rebecca’s lives, they both face such chances which leave one happy, and the other sad. Amelia’s husband, George dies in battle, which forces her to move back with her parents. Rebecca on the other side is very well financially but in the wrong ways. Rawdon, Becky’s husband, gets his income from gambling and cheating his way through winning cards. Becky earns her own money by selling the little trinkets men give her. Anti-Climax: Becky’s pecuniary relationship with the Marquess of Steyne is discovered by her husband Rawdon. He eventually leaves Becky, and challenges the elderly Marquess to a duel. Becky leaves the United Kingdom, and wanders Europe for a place she could belong to. Denouement: After George Osborne’s death, the Sedleys go on a trip to Germany where they find Rebecca Sharp. Becky meets Jos once again, and enchants him yet another time. Becky over the years has lost her appeal to men as she is now drinking heavily, and has lost her amazing beauty. Rawdon dies, in a sudden twist of fate, which leaves his son, Rawdon Jr., to take the place of his father. He agrees to financially support her mother as she still sells her trinkets in small fairs.

IX. Synopsis: Vanity Fair is a story of the lives of two girls, entangled with the problems of each other’s memories and loved ones. One girl, Amelia Sedley, is a very lucky girl who falls in love with a certain George Osborne. On the other hand, Rebecca Sharp is a girl which didn’t like her life one bit while living in the academy for young girls. Their lives are completely different although they find a lot in common with themselves as Becky lives with Amelia for about a week. Both of them start their own love lives, and go their separate ways and find themselves in the middle of catastrophe when George Osborne, Amelia’s husband, dies in battle, and when Rebecca’s love affair is discovered by her husband. Amelia and Rebecca meet once again in Germany by sudden twists of fate…

X. Devices: -Figures of Speech Simile Metaphor Oxymoron Irony Hyperbole Satire Synecdoche Ellipsis -Tone The tone of Vanity Fair darkens as readers go further and further into the story. At the start of the story, Becky and Amelia seemed to enjoy life as it is after leaving the academy. But as the story progresses, both their lives are given twists they practically couldn’t take. -Foreshadowing Thackeray uses foreshadowing as his e of intriguing his audience all through-out the book. Whether noticed or not, he did a great job using this device.

XI. Comments/ Recommendations/ Analysis: Thackeray is one of the best authors of his time, and in ours, in my opinion. He realized and saw what others couldn’t. He wrote what he believed in, and stayed confident to whatever he wrote down. “Vanity Fair” is known as his greatest work, and I do agree. In the book, all characters are flawed realistically. It shows how people deal with opportunities and problems; demands and needs. This book is compared to other great novels like, “War and Peace” by Tolstoy. My only concern with the book is that he explained every little detail way too much that it prolonged the story in a bad way. Some of it wasn’t necessary, at least for me, to understand and get the same feeling. His choice of words are impeccable and remarkable in every sense, and he could’ve written much more , if it wasn’t for his untimely death at the age of 52. “Vanity Fair” has inspired many authors today to write such amazing novels. It has also been remade into a TV Series, silent movies, and sound film versions. Thackeray’s theory of characterization proceeds generally on the assumption that the acts of men and women are directed not by principle, but by instincts, selfish or amiable—that toleration of human weakness is possible only by lowering the standard of human capacity and obligation—and that the preliminary condition of an accurate knowledge of human character is distrust of ideals and repudiation of patterns. There is not a person in the book who excites the readers respect, and not one who fails to excite his interest. Every character in the book is intriguing in every way as they do not fail to reach past that imaginary boundary we are used to. Amelia is the image of a girl living with fortune and luck. She’s beautiful, and smart; selfish for others. A hard find, she is. Rebecca is the type that almost every town in the entire planet would have a version of. Rebecca is more realistic in terms of origin and attitude. Every now and then, the characters end up in twists which lead us wanting more; it feeds our interests slowly, and carefully. Thackeray’s work of “Vanity Fair: A novel without a hero” will never cease to amaze me. I can read it over and over again, and I will never get tired of the story.…...

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