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The Siren and the domestic ideal

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  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of Vanity Fair
  3. The character of Rebecca Sharp
    1. He stay in London
  4. The character of Amelia Sedley
    1. Amelia's married life and the birth of her son
  5. The difference between the two girls
    1. Becky: The classic siren
    2. Amelia: Simple and modest
  6. The feminine character in both women
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works cited

Written during the Victorian age and in a strict society, Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray was a book all its own. It is mostly categorized as a satire; however, it speaks volumes about the realities of the time. Women were considered as a property, and the men laid down the law. There were some women who chose to acquiesce, and some who chose to rebel. Two female characters in Vanity Fair are the epitomes of this principle: Becky Sharp is the latter, while Amelia Sedley represents the former. These two women went from adolescence to adulthood together, each playing a very different role. Their two stories diverge and come together at different points in their lives, but there is always a comparison between the two.

[...] Eventually she gives Little George to his paternal grandfather to raise because she believes he will have a better life with the rich Osbornes. This development breaks her, and once again she falls into a deep depression. Becky is artful, bold, and unscrupulous. She is the classic siren and consummate actress (Fisher 398). A wolf who is able to move about in different social classes because she was born without one, she uses all of men's weapons (such as double discourse in her speech) and her own: her sex appeal. Becky scorns high society, yet she craves to be one of them. [...]


[...] In an unselfish act of generosity (or perhaps as a final smack in the face), Rebecca finally reveals to Amelia her late husband's unfaithful ways, making Amelia free to love again, and to love Dobbin specifically. Becky again sets her sights on Amelia's brother, who ends up dying under mysterious circumstances once he has left money to Rebecca. The argument can be made that Becky Sharp was a product of her environment and society. Because women were considered possessions during this time, they really had only two choices: they were to either submit to the standard or rebel. [...]

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