book ¸ Vanity Fair A Novel without a Hero Å William Makepeace Thackeray
A novel that chronicles the lives of two women who could not be different Becky Sharp an orphan But as we are to see a great deal of Amelia there is no harm in saying at the outset of our acuaintance that she was a dear little creature And a great mercy it is both in life and in novels which and the latter especially abound in villains of the most sombre sort that we are to have for a companion so guileless and good natured a person As she is not a heroine there is no need to describe her person; indeed I am afraid that her nose was rather too short than otherwise and her cheeks a good deal too round and red for a heroineI just chose this passage randomly out of the first few pages of the novel to illustrate how much I love Thackeray's voice He himself is the best character in the novel To use theatre terminology he definitely breaks the 4th wall into the story uite freuently Reading it is rather like watching the play but with periodic pauses for the playwright to jump up on stage and offer his commentary upon the action and also upon his perceptions of the feelings of those watching his creation Thackeray himself terms the Vanity Fair his comment on society in general a sort of play This might sound annoying to some but really it isn't If you're already reading the book critically I suppose it could also be compared to reading a chunk of a book for class and then stopping to discuss your reactions with a professor determined to make you see things beyond the surface and expose whatever prejudices you might have against the book I loved debating with Thackeray in interpreting scenes and actions The margins are filled with my disagreements or indulgence of his point of view And I almost never write in books It was irresistable in this case It is as interesting trying to draw a portrait of Thackeray's character as it is the rest of them He is sometimes defensive sometimes judgemental of his audience at times uietly insightful at times ironic at times as gleeful as a child at some trick he believes he's played upon us You can just see him cackling over his writing clapping his hands when he thinks of something good and scribbling away furiously into the night He makes the tale seem brightly urgently alive just in the sheer immediacy of his feeling and force of personalityRight As to the story itself? Very solid old fashioned tale of love war betrayal money family All the standards for an epic But in the way it is executed it is anything but standard Particularly for its time It was subtitled the novel without a hero by Thackeray It is a book filled with as the best are very grey characters with motivations and actions sometimes very hard to fathom The epitome of this is of course Becky Sharp the main character if not the heroine of the piece Capable of both acts of great kindness and selflessness and sheer naked cruelty when it suits her it is hard to either condemn or praise the woman in the end I grew to root for her anyway though She's awful she really is but she does seem to learn by the end of the book She changes progresses and all while getting everything she's ever really seemed to want She's ambitious and cutthroat but manages to do well in a world that tries to slap her down at every turn Not that she doesn't deserve it sometimes I will admit There is also a standard sweeping love story for those of you in it for the conventional aspects The above described Amelia is involved in that plotlineAlso? This book has the best the longest the most throughly researched and detailed description of the battle of Waterloo that you are likely to find A huge chunk of the book is devoted to that day and the reaction to that day and it is as epic a war novel as one could hope to find for that space of timeIn some ways I feel like Thackeray was trying to encompass his century as a whole not just the very specific time of the Napoleonic wars He deals with class money ambition war roles and rights of women uestions of morality and times that inevitably change and change again pushing the old world and the old ways into ever faster irrelevance Just as the 19th century did I think Becky Sharp might well be a fitting symbol of the whole century she wants to rise high in society she wants as much money as she can get her hands on she wants the appearance of morality but doesn't much care for the actuality she is from the lower class and spends the book working her way up the ladder tooth and nail through representatives of the old guard at any cost to herself or others And yet she still holds sentimental feelings for Amelia for her husband she does what she thinks is best for her son however controversial that might be and at whatever cost in pride and she cannot uite bear to be completely alone I don't know I'm really just remembering things I wrote down when I read this over two years ago re piecing together theories so I hope you'll forgive me if they're a wee incoherentThere is to it than that but I do not think that any review of reasonable length can encompass everything in this book particularly when I've already rambled about my favorite things for so long and things are already this disorganized Fitting I suppose in such a merrily chaotic book So I'll just leave you with the uote that I think explains and drives much of the action and is one of the major points of the novel Vanitas Vanitatium Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? Or having it is satisfied?
William Makepeace Thackeray Å Vanity Fair A Novel without a Hero kindle
Vanity Fair A Novel without a HeroLmate Amelia Sedley a typically naive Victorian heroine the pampered daughter of a wealthy fami I finish the book and wonder how to best convert the muddy puddle of my impressions into some kind of a coherent rich picture of a reviewWell what is is imagine an exhibition of of George Cruikshank's drawings or of those of Gilray perhaps there is wit and fun but after a while maybe they are a little wearisome In this it reminds me of when I was a student and sometimes not knowing any better I'd read The Economist eventually I noticed whatever country or problem was discussed the analysis was the same slash public spending liberalise markets and open them to foreign trade as you open a person's chest for open heart surgery and be smug Then I moved on to Private Eye for a while here the message was aside from the staff and readers of that journal that everybody is stupid and stupidly commits stupid acts everything always has been stupid everything always will be This I felt was worse because it was also depressing About that time I suppose I also read Vanity Fair for the first time view spoiler unless I didn't its hard to tie these things down sometimes it was before I had a computer let alone be introduced to Goodreads hide spoiler