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Vanity fair
William Makepeace Thackeray
Adult Fiction THACKER

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Avatar for KaliO KaliO said:
There are plenty of less-than-ideal women in Jane Austen’s novels. Lucy Steele is a pert, pretty kiss-up in Sense and Sensibility. Innocent Catherine Moreland is completely taken in by the flirty, wily, money-hungry Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey. The noisy/ nosy Musgrove sisters can’t keep their hands off Persuasion’s dashing Captain Wentworth. Sister Lydia runs off with the wicked Wickham in Pride and Prejudice and cousin Maria is ruined by that charming cad Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park. Not a one of them can hold a candle to Becky Sharp, our delightfully devious anti-heroine of the classic Vanity Fair. Becky, daughter of a starving artist with the barest pretensions to gentility, is a cunning young woman who is determined not to let something as trivial as social status stand in the way of greatness. Becky is the opposite of her fellow classmate Amelia Sedley, a wealthy girl who’s everything a lady should be—delicate, kind, simpering, and simple. Becky, like any good heroine, seeks the security of a good match, but she’s much keener on money and rank than love and companionship. Becky hitches her wagon to the Crawley family, who employs her as a governess and is a perfect target for her sugary charms and seductions. The Crawleys have a handsome son, and Becky can play the sweet young thing to a tee. Becky and Amelia meet again as wives of fellow soldiers and as their fates unfold against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, author William Makepeace Thackeray playfully satirizes both the upper-class society of his day and the novel-of-manners style of literature with this “novel without a hero.” The unscrupulous Miss Sharp has remained a perennial favorite of classic literature due entirely to her wit, charm, considerable sex appeal, and dead refusal to play by the very strict rules of her era. For readers who wish Jane Austen had occasionally pushed the envelope just a bit more, the exploits of Becky Sharp are ideal indeed.
posted Feb 12, 2010 at 1:27AM
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main characters Rebecca "Backy" Sharp
Female
Orphan
Scorned for her lack of money and breeding; manipulates her way through society; uses her wit, charm, and sex appeal to escape her destiny as governess; Rawdon's wife; married poor but wheedles money out of people; abandoned her child whom she dislikes; destroyed her husband; alienated her friends and family; gained posession of Joseph's money.
Governess

Amelia Sedley
Female
Naive
Loyal to her self-centered husband, George.

Rawdon Crawley
Male
Married
Becky's husband; loves sports, gambling, and women.

George Osborne
Male
Married
Amelia's husband; neglects his wife and forgets her when her fortune has vanished and he is disinherited; does not appreciate his friendship with William; infatuated with Becky.

Joseph Sedley
Male
Amelia's brother; loves fine clothes and worships nobility; falls in love with Becky.

William Dobbin
Male
George's best friend; in love with Amelia.



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