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Monday, May 01, 2006

Chapters 1 & 2 of Vanity Fair

I. Chiswick Mall. Thackeray, William Makepeace. 1917. Vanity Fair, A Novel without a Hero. Vols. V & VI. Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction

Chapter 1

Who:

  • The Misses Pinkerton - Jemima and Barbara (Minerva)
  • Miss Amelia Sedley
  • Miss Becky Sharp
What:
  • Amelia's departure from Miss Pinkerton's Academy
Where:
  • Miss Pinkerton's Academy for Young Ladies, Chiswick Mall, London
When:
  • 1810-1819ish - begins in June
Thoughts:
Character Sketches:
  • Miss Jemima - blinded by devotion to sister, but not as cold/mean as Miss Barbara
  • Miss Barbara - blinded by devotion to herself, importance due to pupils and 'patronage' of Samuel Johnson (dictionary author)
  • Miss Amelia - very nice, pretty, etc. also very shallow, flighty, rich
  • Miss Becky - arrogant, poor, not well liked, scorns Miss Jemima's sympathy


II. In Which Miss Sharp and Miss Sedley Prepare to Open the Campaign. Thackeray, William Makepeace. 1917. Vanity Fair, A Novel without a Hero. Vols. V & VI. Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction

Chapter 2

Who:

  • Miss Amelia Sedley
  • Miss Becky Sharp
What:
  • Expose of Becky's background
Where:
  • In the coach on the way to, and at, the Sedley's house
When:
  • Right after Chap. 1
Thoughts:
"All the world used her ill ... persons who the world treats ill deserve what they get."
There is a 'tug-of-war' for the reader on whether or not to like Becky - she's 'plucky' and interesting - but only looks at people for what she can gain from them - she's sometimes cruel.
Contrast between Becky's exterior arrogance and her feelings of inadaquacy - she feels she needs to justify her ambitions in society and so she invents grand ancestors.
Not a nice person - ridicule of Miss Jemima who had been nice to her Society is the only arena where Becky could excel/advance in life - interesting to consider how she would act in today's society.


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