Character Analysis Amelia Sedley


Exactly opposite from Rebecca, Amelia has many advantages. Miss Pinkerton describes her as industrious, obedient, sweet, and beloved. She has mastered these accomplishments: music, dancing, orthography, embroidery, and needlework. However, Miss Pinkerton suggests that she use a backboard for four hours each day for the next three years to improve her carriage, "so requisite for every young lady of fashion." The author indicates her need of "backbone" by suggesting the use of the backboard. Whereas Rebecca's chief quality is ruthless ambition, Amelia exhibits weak humility and blind loyalty. Only in protection and care of Georgy does she rise above her natural submission to defend her own ideas. Once she prevents her mother from giving Georgy medicine, causing a rift between herself and her mother. She objects when old Osborne wants Georgy. In both cases, she returns to a sweet and reasonable attitude when she has convinced herself of her own selfishness.

Protected by doting parents, Amelia leads a sheltered existence saddened by George's neglect and his apparent willingness to forget her when her fortune has vanished. Sweet, lovable, refreshing, she has not the sparkle nor the mentality of Becky. She does have the lifetime devotion of William Dobbin, who sees that George marries her; and looks after her when George dies. Amelia's loyalty and long, blind devotion to George amount almost to stupidity. Any fault in George she interprets as a fault in herself and accuses herself of guilty love to account for his having been killed. The fate of Europe is the fate of her lover to Amelia.

Amelia's innocence and ready belief in other people make her unbelievably good in contrast to Becky's unbelievable duplicity. Both attract young men, but for different reasons. Becky's wit and physical charm win a following, whereas Amelia's goodness and sweetness charm all who meet her. Becky can cry when she wants to; Amelia cries over a dead canary, a mouse, the end of a stupid novel, or the slightest unkind word to her.

She remains blind to Dobbin's goodness throughout much of the book and although her eyes have been opened to a certain extent regarding Becky, yet when she thinks Becky needs a friend, she returns to comfort and help her.

Amelia depends on others for her opinions, and this is why it takes a sharp companion like Becky to set her straight — to make her see realities. One negative reaction was jealousy of George, and she had ample reason for that emotion, but it did not lessen her love for him. At the end of the book Thackeray calls her a "tender little parasite." She has changed little from the beginning of the book. Sheltered as she has been, she has had little chance for growth.

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