‘Vanity Fair’ by William Makepeace Thackeray

Probably it’s only my twisted mind working this way, but since I stumbled on Thackeray I started looking at the magazine Vanity Fair in a different way.

If – and I’m saying IF – the founders of the magazine were actually referring to Thackeray’s idea of Vanity Fair, then they invented a hell of a metaphor for today’s society!

That’s because Vanity Fair is a game, a circus of masks, where it little matters what you are, when what is really important is what other people are allowed to think of you.

Do the right thing, speak to the right people and say the right things, then you’ll secure your place on the stage and the lights will be on you in the most benevolent way.

Miss any one of these precepts and you’ll be quickly pointed out as the one to blame, the unwelcome to dinner parties and the mock of the evening.

A couple of hundreds years ago, Thackeray tells us it was no different and he introduces to us Miss Rebecca Sharp to give a major example.

Now, Becky Sharp is no hero. This, Thackeray is never tired of reminding us. However, a poor girl without a mother must provide for herself, is it not true? How else could she find husband, if not?

In the London of an early XIX century, it’s hard to keep a stand, with the fearless Boney (meaning Bonaparte) raging across Europe and indirectly affecting everybody’s life.

Emmy Sedley’s life, for example, when the General flees Elba and the stock market collapses, leaving Mr Sedley broke.

Not to consider that the –th Regiment is called to fight this war, taking all of our ‘not-heroes’ on a lovely detour in Brussels, while waiting for their moment to face the General and all of their fears.

Some will live to be heroes, some will lose what is more dear to them. Whether it be right or not, is of little matter in the great stage of the Vanity Fair. And Thackeray is wicked, trust me on that!

Even Becky will pay the price, in the merciless roads of Vanity Fair.


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