First I watched the 1998 mini-series of Vanity Fair…and I loved it. Next I watched the movie with Reese Witherspoon…and found it to be abysmal in comparison. Luckily the first was so good, it made me want to read the book.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray is a wonderful read. I found the characters to be very true to life. These were like people I knew. Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley are the 2 main characters although, as the narrator likes to point out throughout the book, there are no heros or heroines in this story. I loved Amelia and hated Becky.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. A short version of the plot is 2 friends leave school to make their way in the world and the story follows these 2 friends.
Becky was easily the most intelligent and brightest character in the book but she uses her wit and charm for evil purposes. Her most notable quote is probably “I think I could be a good woman if I had five thousand a year.”
Amelia, the most sympathetic character in the book, is sweet and timid and believes the best about everyone to her detriment. She falls in love with the wrong man which is the beginning of the end for her in a lot of ways.
There a lot of humorous moments throughout the book. Becky starts out as a governess and there are a lot of humourous moments in that phase of her life. Also, Amelia’s brother, Jos, provides humor throughout the book.
My favorite character is William Dobbin, best friend of Amelia’s fiance, George. He is intelligent and virtuous, and has an impeccable character. His steadfastness is evident throughout and is in contrast to his friend George.