Study Help Essay Questions

1. Give examples of Thackeray's use of symbolism in figures of speech and in names.

2. How can it be said that Amelia mistreats those who are humblest before her?

3. How does Thackery use his own experience as a source in Vanity Fair?

4. What faults make this novel difficult to read?

5. Contrast the two main female characters.

6. Give four of Thackeray's opinions on women. Is he usually complimentary or uncomplimentary?

7. What is Becky's greatest asset? Her greatest fault?

8. How does Rawdon change during his ten years of marriage?

9. Why does Miss Matilda leave her money to Pitt? (Characters) What unselfish action on the part of Pitt leads indirectly to his inheritance?

10. What is important to the citizens of Vanity Fair?

11. In what way does Vanity Fair represent other than a physical setting? Explain.

12. Give examples of Mrs. Bute Crawley's domineering actions.

13. What characteristics do Mrs. Clapp, Mrs. Frederick Bullock, and Becky have in common?

14. How does Thackeray excuse the behavior of his characters? Give three examples.

15. Discuss and illustrate Becky's acting ability.

16. How does poverty change a character? Illustrate. How does wealth change a character? Illustrate.

17. Discuss Joseph Sedley, his weakness, his virtue. How does he show his vanity?

18. Why does Thackeray call this a novel without a hero? Explain the irony involved.

19. Compare and contrast George Osborne and William Dobbin.

20. Illustrate Thackeray's use of the classics to point up characterizations.

21. How does Rebecca outsmart herself and bring about her downfall?

22. What is the conflict in Vanity Fair? How do plot and idea support each other?

23. Give three methods of presentation that Thackeray uses in this story.

24. Define satire and show how Thackeray makes use of it in Vanity Fair.

25. Do you believe people today act like those in Vanity Fair? Illustrate.

26. Show how Thackeray's definition of gentleman applies to William.

27. How is hunger a weapon in Vanity Fair? Is it a weapon today? Explain.

28. Does Thackeray respect motherhood? If so, what type of motherhood?

29. Do Thackeray's characters seem real to you or like puppets? Why or why not? Illustrate.

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