Godless society in Vanity Fair

Good Essays
Godless society in William Makepeace Thackeray’s „Vanity Fair”

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

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    Vanity Fair

    • 1233 Words
    • 5 Pages

    VANITY FAIR William M. Thackeray | 1811–1863 Monday, October 29, 12 The Title Vanity: excessive pride in or admiration of one's own appearance or achievements Fair: a competitive exhibition for the amusement of the public In his 1678 allegory “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” John Bunyan called London “Vanity Fair.” A well-known passage of the Bible claims, “All is Vanity.” Monday, October 29, 12 The Title “But my kind reader will please to remember that this history has Vanity Fair for…

    • 1233 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Vanity Fair

    • 1279 Words
    • 6 Pages

    W.M. Thackeray and "Vanity Fair" William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 - 1863) was born to a prosperous middle-class family in India His father was an English official in Calcutta. After his father's death, when the boy was 3 years old, he was brought to England to be educated at school and later at Cambridge University. Being a student, William devoted much time to drawing cartoons and writing verses, chiefly parodies. He couldn't bear the scholastic atmosphere of the University, and as his ambition…

    • 1279 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    vanity fair review

    • 648 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Vanity Fair Vanity Fair: a novel without a Hero is a novel by English author William Makepeace Thackeray , satirizing society in early 19th century Britain. The book’s title come from John Bunyan’s allegorical story The Pilgrim’s Progress published in 1678 and held in a town called Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair is the most famous novel of realism in English literature of the 19th century, which was written under the pseudonym William Makepeace Thackeray and published in 1847. The story begins with…

    • 648 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Bunyan's Vanity Fair

    • 745 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Bunyan’s Intentions in Vanity Fair As a devout Puritan, John Bunyan was heavily influenced by his religion throughout his life. This becomes extremely apparent upon reading his most notable work, Vanity Fair. Mr. Bunyan was not well educated. He was a man that lived an unprivileged lifestyle and he wanted to reach the common people in his message. This is why he wrote Vanity Fair as an allegory. Almost every event in the story has a meaning and each meaning leads back to Bunyan’s main purposes…

    • 745 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    named Vanity Fair and learned a lot from it. In essence, vanity itself is neither right nor wrong. However, when we are motivated by our desires, we are likely to keep some problems in perspective. In the beginning, we set the wrong goals which we actually don’t like and choose the wrong way which are against our wills. That is because we don’t have a good understanding of ourselves and we don’t know what we do want. As far as I’m concerned, we should not attach too much importance to vanity and sort…

    • 1586 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Vanity Fair Essay

    • 1346 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray In the novels of Thackeray, essay is so much mixed up with narrative, and comment with characterization, that they can hardly be thoroughly appreciated in poor editions. The temptation to skip is almost irresistible, when wisdom can be purchased only at the expense of eyesight. We are therefore glad to welcome the commencement of a new edition of his writings, over whose pages the reader can linger at his pleasure, and quietly enjoy the subtleties of humor…

    • 1346 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    “Vanity Fair” book review “Vanity Fair” by William Makepeace Thackeray is a satirical novel of manners, first published in 1848. It has received impressive reviews and is most recognizable out of all Thackeray’s works. Nowadays it is considered to be one of the classic books that everyone should read. The action of the novel takes place in 19th century. The main plot concentrates on lives of two women, Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley, who although friends, are very different from one to another…

    • 288 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Vanity Fair (Book Report)

    • 1330 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Vanity Fair A Novel without a Hero (Book Report) 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…

    • 1330 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Becky Sharp is the central character in Vanity Fair and Amelia Sedley's opposite. She is the orphaned daughter of destitute parents, and she learns early on to look after her own interests in all situations. Becky values money and social status above all and is thoroughly corrupt in her pursuit of them. Her most well-known (though often doubted) observation is that for five thousand pounds a year, she could be a good woman. Selfish, unscrupulous, manipulative, and ambitious, she is capable of appearing…

    • 475 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    [Case/Article Name]: The Enron Wars – Vanity Fair | The Watkins Memo | Questions: 1. Why do you think the whistleblowers we’ve encountered have all been women? The first reason I guess is women are more considering about emotions not about objective facts. Maybe a man won't do anything he thinks it is wrong. He will refuse wrong things immediately. But women judge things by their own standards. For instance, if a woman likes the person who tells a woman to do something wrong based…

    • 369 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays