Vanity Fair Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 130 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Vanity Fair.
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There is one clear, overarching theme in Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, and Thackeray telegraphs it in his title and subtitle. In the pages of Vanity Fair, all is vanity and all are vain. Some are more vain—more obsessed with self and with the ephemeral treasures of social position and money—than others, but none, in the author's estimation, can be called heroic.

The title is borrowed from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, in which Vanity Fair is a town that exists for the purpose of diverting men and women from the road to heaven. The town's residents are all mean and ignorant, and they all make their living by enticing passersby to spend what they have on worldly vanities—items that offer brief sensual pleasure but have no lasting value. Thackeray transports Vanity Fair to London in the early 1800s and peoples his version...

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This section contains 889 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Vanity Fair Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Vanity Fair from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.