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Friday, January 22, 2010

A Looking Glass

"The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice." (Ch. 2)

Given Becky's past and the fact that she is an orphan, one would expect her to frown at the world, but she seems to have learned the above statement at a very young age. Through the course of the novel, Amelia experiences loses similar to those Becky experienced, but her reaction is much different from Becky's. While neither character ends up happy, Becky refuses to allow herself to become a victim of Vanity Fair.

Thackeray makes the point that how you present yourself is how you will be treated. Becky present herself as someone whose self-worth is very high and who is highly influential. She is close (too close in fact) to Lord Steyne and is able to get Rawdon's brother Pitt introduced to the powerful Steyne. Becky is proactive in the Waterloo incident and is able to secure money for her horses, much more than was reasonable. Amelia, on the other hand, mourns the death of her husband and never recovers from the tragedy. She forgets, however, that he never truly loved her and did not much want to marry her, except to spite his father. Because there is not much pity in the world of Vanity Fair, her son forsakes her and becomes a mirror image of his father.

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