Vanity Fair Essay

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Norvell is an independent educational writer who specializes in literature. She holds degrees in linguistics and journalism. In this essay, she examines the fates of the main characters in Thackeray's novel and considers what lessons he intended readers to take from them.

Thackeray made clear, 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. The first published installment had, on its cover, an illustration of a congregation listening to a preacher; both speaker and listeners were shown with donkey ears. Inside the book, Thackeray explains the illustration thus: "that Becky is allowed to live, and to live well, is perfectly consistent with Thackeray's view of life and morality. ... Losing is vanity, and winning is vanity."

My kind...

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This section contains 1,657 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Vanity Fair Study Guide
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Vanity Fair from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.