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Anti-heroism in Vanity Fair
2001 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor)Student thesis
Abstract [en]

In my essay, I investigate in what ways the two female protagonists are presented as anti-heroines. Thackeray is both ironical and cynical in his characterisation and presentation of the women. Thus, it is both the author’s depiction of Rebecca and Amelia as well as their actions that make them anti-heroines. Despite the women’s different backgrounds and demeanours, they are comparable in the way that they both have qualities that do not make them worthy of being called heroines. A close reading of the novel displays Rebecca as the manipulative, deceptive, and witty anti-heroine, and Amelia as selfish, jealous, and affectionate. Their prosperity fluctuates, as well as their ensuing anti-heroic acts. On the one hand, Rebecca ascends the social ladder by manipulating noble persons in her surroundings. She has only her own success within the aristocratic sphere in her mind, she uses her husband when she fools him into marriage, she neglects her son and there is no maternal tenderness in her actions or emotions, she lies to her creditors and leads a luxurious life without owning as much as a penny, and maybe she is even a murderess. Consequently, Rebecca falls at the end of the novel. On the other hand, Amelia is depicted as a weak character, who is highly selfish regarding her son and husband. When it comes to her son, Amelia’s treatment of him is portrayed as destructive since he is far too overprotected. Moreover, her selfishness and naivety makes her blind to her husband’s negative characteristics. Further, her treatment of the honourable Major Dobbin is immoral. Nevertheless, she regains a great deal of prestige at the end of the novel when she gives up her son and her family is thereby restored to some prosperity. Certainly, the protagonists do not behave basely all through the narrative, they both have positive characteristics, such as Rebecca’s wit and ambition, and Amelia’s friendliness. However, Thackeray’s condemnation of them is clearly evident when Rebecca is accused of murder and Amelia is thwarted of happiness.

Abstract [en]

In my essay, I investigate in what ways the two female protagonists are presented as anti-heroines. Thackeray is both ironical and cynical in his characterisation and presentation of the women. Thus, it is both the author’s depiction of Rebecca and Amelia as well as their actions that make them anti-heroines. Despite the women’s different backgrounds and demeanours, they are comparable in the way that they both have qualities that do not make them worthy of being called heroines. A close reading of the novel displays Rebecca as the manipulative, deceptive, and witty anti-heroine, and Amelia as selfish, jealous, and affectionate. Their prosperity fluctuates, as well as their ensuing anti-heroic acts. On the one hand, Rebecca ascends the social ladder by manipulating noble persons in her surroundings. She has only her own success within the aristocratic sphere in her mind, she uses her husband when she fools him into marriage, she neglects her son and there is no maternal tenderness in her actions or emotions, she lies to her creditors and leads a luxurious life without owning as much as a penny, and maybe she is even a murderess. Consequently, Rebecca falls at the end of the novel. On the other hand, Amelia is depicted as a weak character, who is highly selfish regarding her son and husband. When it comes to her son, Amelia’s treatment of him is portrayed as destructive since he is far too overprotected. Moreover, her selfishness and naivety makes her blind to her husband’s negative characteristics. Further, her treatment of the honourable Major Dobbin is immoral. Nevertheless, she regains a great deal of prestige at the end of the novel when she gives up her son and her family is thereby restored to some prosperity. Certainly, the protagonists do not behave basely all through the narrative, they both have positive characteristics, such as Rebecca’s wit and ambition, and Amelia’s friendliness. However, Thackeray’s condemnation of them is clearly evident when Rebecca is accused of murder and Amelia is thwarted of happiness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. , 18 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53657Local ID: ENG C-12OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53657DiVA: diva2:1102217
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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