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Vanity Fair is one of the greatest literary works ever written by William Thackeray. This book shows us that despite all the wealth and material possessions one can't be guaranteed happiness. One should be grateful for whatever he/she has. A person can ruin his/her life in the pursuit for wealth. Thackeray has proved the point by chronicling the life of Becky Sharp. Her path to massive wealth and social status led to her ultimate ruin.
Rebecca sharp is the main protagonist of Vanity Fair. She does not have any social status as she was born into a poor family. Rebecca is the daughter of a penniless artist father and French opera dancer mother. Her parents' line of work was frowned upon in Victorian times and thus gave her family a bad reputation in society. This is one reason why she has been treated with a lot of disrespect and humiliated on several occasions. Her father is penniless and spends most of time drinking in the taverns or running up his debts. Her mother passed away early in her lifetime.
These circumstances force Rebecca to face the cruel world at an early age. She manages to use her wits and charm to face the challenges of society. Perhaps this is one reason this is why she has focused all her energy on achieving her goals. Rebecca is a staunch opponent of the unfair rules of society. There is a lot of envy inside her, as she can't stand to see girls from affluent families being fawned over. She feels that these girls are only fawned over and treated with respect because of their affluent backgrounds. It irritates her to a great extent that they don't have any real talent except for being rich.
Beauty and Talent
Rebecca's low class background is compensated for by her beauty. She also possesses a lot of physical charm. She has a very beautiful figure, fair skin, green eyes and great chest. Rebecca is a multi-talented girl. She is a great singer, excellent piano player, sketch artist, dancer, actress and great mimic. She can speak French very fluently. Her overpowering personality attracts the attention of Lord Styne. She manages to charm and outwit him into giving her money. Her charm is so mesmerizing that he keeps giving her money even when he realizes that he is being outwitted. She has perfected the art of pretending. They are so realistic that she manages to fool everybody. This leads people to believe that she is the most wronged person in the world.
Emotions and Intelligence
Rebecca manages to land a job teaching French at Miss Pinkerton's. (This is due to the fact that her mother was French). We get a glimpse of Rebecca's intelligence over here when she creates an honorable ancestry for herself. It is evident that Rebecca is a very selfish and hostile person at heart. However she can pretend to be simple, gentle, modest and witty when she feels the need for it. It is very simple for her to fake her emotions. She does not find it hard to shed tears. The only time she sheds genuine tears is when she has to turn down Sir Pitt Crawley's marriage proposal. This is due to the fact that she is already married to his son Rawdon. These tears aren't for love but more for the love of money.
Rebecca has been stung by the cruelties of society. She has never forgotten the years of humiliation had to face. It is her determination to become a respectable woman in society and avenge her humiliation. At this point we can see that Rebecca is a very intelligent but slightly crooked person. It appears that she is not a sincere person and has no sense of morals. She is a great actress as she can pretend to please anyone very easily. It is easy for her to understand the other person's intentions.
One of her greatest goals in life is to be rich. She does not want to work hard to achieve that goal. Becky wants to move up the social ladder and for this she wants to marry a rich gentleman. She moves like a black widow spider to entrap her potential victim. She is initially successful in winning over Joseph Sedley. It is easy for her to win him over as he is a vain person and loves to be flattered. However it doesn't last for long as he manages to slip away.
It is a very important goal for her to be respected and given a place in high society. She is a very ambitious person as she forsakes her family and friends in order to make her dreams come true. This point is proved when Rebecca writes a letter to Amelia after she goes to Queen's Crawley. She says, "At least I shall be amongst gentle folks -- and not with vulgar city people. You might lodge all the people in Russell Square in the house, I think, and have space to spare." (Chapter 8)
She does not give up hope as she makes an effort to win over other people in society. Becky uses her immense knowledge and intelligence to win over the heart of Sir Pitt. This is despite the fact that she has no love for Sir Pitt Crawley. She feels that he as an old, stumpy, short, vulgar, and very dirty man In a similar order she charms Miss Crawley and lady styne with her music. All the characters in the book become fond of her due to her style. Rebecca in fact makes a lot of effort to endear herself to everyone.
She tries to entrap Amelia's brother Joseph into marriage. However her chances are ruined when Amelia's beau George Osborne ruins her chances. Rebecca is very intuitive. "Her woman's instinct had told her that it was George who had interrupted the success of her first love-passage" (Chapter 14)
Rebecca does not let failure slow her down. Failure helps her to make a strong comeback. There have been several times when she has had to face failure in her life. She manages to accomplish her goals, only to suffer a setback when things fall apart at the last moment.
This is a very challenging and unachievable task for her. It is her fierce determination, which helps her get closer to her much-cherished dream. The proof of her had work and determination can be seen when she tends to an ailing Miss Crawley. It is easy for her to take care of her as her nerves seem to be made of steel and it hardly affects her to see Miss Crawley in such a state. The only reason why she puts up with it is that Miss Crawley is a rich woman. Becky forsakes her sleep in order to take care of her and maintains a pleasant attitude whenever she is spoken to. However her efforts are in vain as she does get any positive results of her hard work. This is when she implements crooked ways to make her dreams come true.
It can be seen that Becky has been hurt really bad. She realizes that she needs to be ruthless in order to achieve her goals. Her new selfish attitude hurts people whom she is closest to. She manages to hurt Amelia, her only true friend. Amelia was her only friend who accepted her when she was friendless. Becky takes advantage of people like miss Briggs, raggels and her creditors. She easily manipulates them with her honest looks and glib of her sweet tongue. This talent of hers is evident when she convinces her creditors into letting her leave Paris without paying any debts. Rebecca stops at nothing to climb the…[continue]
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Lovel brings to the novel, which is the male dichotomy when dealing with social etiquette. While the two bicker, they reveal how important it is for men to behave in a certain manner. The Captain's response to the entire event also brings our attention to the importance of male social behavior in the novel. Men, too, must be aware of how to behave in social situations and clearly, Mr. Lovel