W. M. Thackeray’s Vanity Fair is one of the most outstanding and influential novels in English literature. Thackeray made obvious, 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 of a great importance. The author introduces his extended metaphor of nineteenth-century English society as a fair.
Titled “Before the Curtain”, the preface immediately associates society with spectacle, glitter, and performance, and also casts social relationships in terms of roles, scripts, and performances. A fair is consciously performative; it evokes visions of costumes, theater, shows, games,etc. Vanity Fair is fixated on performance and the way in which we all act out roles for the benefit of those around us. Yet society can also be viewed as a very performative, hidden under the masks of hypocrisy, selfishness and snobbishness. This novel is a perfect example of godless community.
All characters are victims of a society where evil rules the world. There is no any point in describing every individual, because all of them are driven by the worship of wealth, rank, power, and class and are corrupted by them. Everyone is selfish in varying degrees. The selfishness of characters like Becky, Jos Sedley, and Lord Steyne is obvious; however, even apparently selfless characters like Amelia, Dobbin, and Lady Jane are selfish, though to a much lesser degree. Almost every character lives with some or the other vanity, external or internal, physical or psychological, driving the entire bourgeoisie reality.
In todays world, sport stars and other athletes are looked up to by all ages. Everyone loves them. They look great in the eyes of the everyday public. They appear on television, they perform like rock stars, and do this with the entire world watching. No wonder we make heroes out of our favorites. They are seen, as heroes because they can do things that most of us cant. They hit fastballs at 95 ...
It takes many forms in the novel, from Becky’s flirtation with rich, noble men, to John Osborne’s rejection of Amelia. Thackeray firmly proclaims many times in his work that he is devoted to revealing the truth, even though a true portrait of bourgeois society is not an appealing one. All of Thackeray’s characters struggle because they avoid truth. Becky deceives everyone but her schemes eventually turn on her. Amelia refuses to see the truth about George’s playboy nature and his infidelity. Dobbin refuses to accept that Amelia does not love him, and he endures years of torture at her side.
Rawdon refuses to acknowledge Becky’s manipulations. It is also important to mention that almost all inhabitants of Vanity Fair strive after money. The desire to constantly rise higher in the social sphere is the only motivation for action or movement. No character exerts effort unless it’s in the service of finding a better-placed patron, campaigning for a new position, or acquiring a new status symbol. All their goals are deeply materialistic and this bad feature prevent them from real life. The more mankind inclines towards money, the farther it goes from simple humanity. To conclude, W. M.
Thackeray satirizes the society because it is the depiction of the real world. He has portrayed true to life people in all their vices and crudity, thus the consequences of their behaviour are the perversion of love, friendship, hospitality and the inability to love. “The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. ” Thackeray tries to convey the reader that vanities only make man ridiculous and corrode the goodness and simplicity of their hearts. Still, the author has full faith in his readers. He believes that society can change for the better, which is definitely a positive and optimistic notion.