Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray was the book I finished just before I signed up for Classics challenge. I had read it once during my schooldays but reading it now was really a fresh look at the theme.
The title aptly summarises the story.Vanity Fair according to the author ,symbolises the world with all its temptations ,pleasures and cunning deceptions.All that outwardly attracts but always deceives the one who falls prey to these attractions. He has shown his characters as men and women of pomp and show who are greedy , arrogant without any moral scruples.
The novel takes us through the lives of Amelia Sedley and Rebecca Sharp ,the two central characters, their journey through girlhood to womanhood, during the time when Napoleon Bonaparte was threatening the peace of Europe. These women are complete opposites.Amelia , an innocent, lovely, homely girl who thinks ill of none and Rebecca or Becky as she is called , beautiful, intelligent but a cunning go-getter.
Amelia belonging to a rich family never feels the want of wealth,she always considers love and friendship to the most important acquisitions of ones life. On the other hand Becky ,an orphan always dreams of wealth and power .As the story progresses Becky moves up on the social ladder with no scraps of morality left in her.Her concerns for her son and husband are nil in comparison of her love for power and status. Amelia on the other hand has a bad turn of luck and loses the one she loves the most and is left to care for her family which is bankrupt.What these women find in stored for them in the journey of life is the main plot of Vanity Fair.Though I would like to give a little more of the story line I feel that would remove the curiosity out of the readers who might venture to read it.
Thackeray had described the book as ‘novel without a hero’.Very Right.These women are more than enough to hold your attention. According to me Rebecca Sharpe Crawley is one of the most fascinating heroines you will find in literary history.Though not your ideal nice and sweet girl she still manages to stay in your mind even though the book is completed.Lovers of classics would find it a gripping read.I liked it though I am more of Austen genre..