W.M. Thackeray’s Vanity Fair is one of the most outstanding and influential novels in English literature. Thackeray made obvious, both in his role as the narrator of Vanity Fair and in his private correspondence about the book, that he meant it to be not just entertaining but instructive. Like all satire, Vanity Fair has a mission and a moral of a great importance.
The author introduces his extended metaphor of nineteenth-century English society as a fair. Titled “Before the Curtain”, the preface immediately associates society with spectacle, glitter, and performance, and also casts social relationships in terms of roles, scripts, and performances. A fair is consciously performative; it evokes visions of costumes, theater, shows, games,etc. Vanity Fair is fixated on performance and the way in which we all act out roles for the benefit of those around us. Yet society can also be viewed as a very performative, hidden under the masks of hypocrisy, selfishness and snobbishness.
This novel is a perfect example of godless community. All characters are victims of a society where evil rules the world. There is no any point in describing every individual, because all of them are driven by the worship of wealth, rank, power, and class and are corrupted by them. Everyone is selfish in varying degrees. The selfishness of characters like Becky, Jos Sedley, and Lord Steyne is obvious; however, even apparently selfless characters like Amelia, Dobbin, and Lady Jane are selfish, though to a much lesser degree. Almost every character lives with some or the other vanity, external or internal, physical or psychological, driving the entire bourgeoisie reality. It takes many forms in the novel, from Becky's flirtation with rich, noble men, to John Osborne's rejection of Amelia.
Thackeray firmly proclaims many times in his work that he is devoted to revealing the truth, even though a true portrait of bourgeois