The Bonfire of the Vanities Themes & Social Concerns

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T he Bonfire of the Vanities deals with what Wolfe calls the "big, rich slices of contemporary life" that he believes modern authors have too long neglected or completely ignored. These are the details of life in a metropolis — race relations, the mass media, the law, and the class structure — handled in a highly realistic manner.

Sherman McCoy, a prodigiously successful bond trader at a prestigious Wall Street firm, is involved in a car accident in which his mistress, Maria Ruskin, fatally injures a young man, Henry Lamb, in the South Bronx. Seen by some as "the Great White Defendant," Sherman is arrested and arraigned, humiliated by and paraded before the press in a spectacle motivated by the political ambitions of various powerful individuals. Disgraced and ostracized, Sherman quickly loses his wealth, wife, job, home, mistress, friends, all sense of privilege and security, and possibly...

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This section contains 717 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Bonfire of the Vanities Study Guide
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