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Thackeray's Satire on British Society of the Early Victorian Era Through

Thackeray's Satire on British Society of the Early Victorian Era Through





Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements to Obtain the Sarjana Pendidikan Degree in English Language Education

By Nadia Octaviani Student Number: 021214111




We are what we imagine

Our very existence consist in our imagination of


Our best destiny is to imagine who and what we are

The greatest tragedy to befall us is to go unimagined

N. Scott Nomaday

This thesis is dedicated to my family, to my friends, and to my self.




I would like to thank those who have given me their affection, support, guidance and criticism in finishing every part of my thesis.

First of all, I would like to bestow my gratitude to Allah s.w.t. for guiding and keeping me not to stray from His path and finally finish my thesis. My deepest gratitude is given to my beloved dad and mom, Pak Kun and Mama

Ning, who have given me their never-ending affection and prayer to support me through the life. I also thank them for keeping asking patiently on the progress of my thesis. I would like to thank my two little brothers, Danang and Damar, for kindly sharing their fight and laugh with me.

My greatest appreciation is addressed to my sponsor Ibu Henny

Herawati, S.Pd., M. Hum., who believed and convinced me that I am able to finish and defend my thesis, though I hesitated in myself. I really thank her for her patient guidance, suggestion, time and ideas in improving this thesis. My thankfulness goes to Ibu Agnes Dwina Herdiasti S.Pd., M.A., who had checked my thesis in such a short time. I also would like to thank to all PBI lecturers for the experience and knowledge that I could be proud of myself as a student of PBI.

My thanks are given to Mbak Dani and Mbak Tari for helping me in every administration problems.

Big thanks to my Ndul, Handy Inderata, for opening up my eyes to the world that I had never seen before. Through laughter and cry, I thank him for those unforgettable moments that have been coloring my life. All those support, faith, happiness, hope and love that he gives have shaped me as who I am. My



gratitude also goes to all of my comrades who have kept me away from a dull life.

Sasha, Echie, Ita, Mawar, I thank them for always welcoming me. Thanks for the never “jaim” friendship lesson. It has been six-wonderful-year friendship. To all my 2002 companions, Ook, Udjo, Metty, Uchiel, Lissa, Wida, Regina,

Andre, Miko, Galih, Reni, Ikas, Rika, I am proud to know them all. I also thank

“Black Jacket” and “Wizard of Oz” plays performance squads for showing the fun of self esteem. For Endra 14a girls, I thank them all for sharing the same roof

Uwi for delivering the meal, Chiwi for swimming lesson and special thanks for my insomniac companion Ayu, for her late night sharing and grammar-checking session. I also thank Dian and Diah who had been my whip to finish this thesis.

Last but not the least; I am grateful to those whom I cannot mention one by one. Thanks would not be enough to show my gratitude.

Yogyakarta, April 16, 2008

Nadia Octaviani





TITLE PAGE ...... i









ABSTRACT ...... xii

ABSTRAK ...... xiii


1.1 Background of the Study ...... 1

1.2. Problem Formulation ...... 4

1.3. Objectives of the Study ...... 4

1.4. Benefits of the Study ...... 5

1.5. Definition of the Terms ...... 5


2.1. Review of Related Theories ...... 8

2.1.1. Theory of character ...... 8



2.1.2. Theory of characterization ...... 10

2.1.3. Theory of Critical Approach ...... 11

2.1.4. Theory of Satire ...... 12

2.1.5. The Relationship between Literature and Society ...... 14

2.2. Review on British Society of Victorian Era ...... 16

2.1. Governmental and Political condition ...... 16

2.2. Economic Condition ...... 17

2.3. Social Condition ...... 18

2.3.1. High Class Society ...... 18

2.3.2. Middle Class Society ...... 19

2.3.3. Lower Class Society ...... 19

2.2.4. Moral Values ...... 19

2.3. Criticism ...... 21

2.4. Theoretical Framework ...... 22


3.1. Subject Matter ...... 24

3.2. Approach of the Study ...... 25

3.3. Method of the Study ...... 26


4.1. Character Analysis of Rebecca Sharp ...... 28

4.1.1 Social Traits ...... 29

4.1.2. Physical Traits ...... 32



4.1.3. Psychological Traits ...... 33 Cunning ...... 33 Clever ...... 35 Independent ...... 37 Selfish ...... 39 Hypocritical ...... 40 Ambitious ...... 42

4.2. Satire on British Society ...... 44

4.2.1. Thackeray Satirizes British Society is Materialistic ...... 46

4.2.2. Thackeray Satirizes the Importance of Social Status ...... 48


5.1. Conclusions ...... 51

5.2. Suggestions ...... 53 5.2.1. Suggestions for Future Researcher ...... 53 5.2.2. Suggestion for Teaching Learning Activities ...... 53


APPENDICES 1. Summary of the ...... 58 2. Biography of William Makepeace Thackeray ...... 63 3. Lesson Plan for Teaching Speaking ...... 66 4. Material for Teaching Speaking ...... 68 5. The works of Thackeray ...... 71 6. Chronology of Thackeray’s Life ...... 72 7. The Crawleys’ Family Tree




Octaviani, Nadia. 2008. Materialism and Social Status: Thackeray’s Satire on British Society of the Early Victorian Era through Rebecca Sharp Character in Vanity Fair. Yogyakarta: English Language Education Study program, Department of Language and Arts Education, Faculty of Teachers Training and Education, Sanata Dharma University.

This study is conducted to analyze the characterization of Rebecca Sharp, one of the main characters in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. This study also analyzes Thackeray’s portrayal upon British society in the early Victorian era. Vanity Fair is categorized as a social novel, a novel which mostly describes the relationship between people in a society. Through the social novel, the readers may see the life and the shape of a particular society as well as the conflicts that exist within it. This study is conducted based on the reasons that through a character’s eyes, the readers may see the world and the society. There are similarities of situation between the society in the novel and the society where Thackeray lives. Therefore, this study aims also to find out how Thackeray’s view and on the society. There are two main questions that are going to be discussed in this study, namely (1) how the character of Rebecca Sharp is described in the novel, and (2) how Thackeray satirizes the British Society of the early Victorian Era. The data gathering method used was library research. The data was collected from the novel itself as the primary source and criticisms of the novel and other sources related to the novel as the secondary data. This study used the socio-cultural approach. The theory of character and characterization were employed in order to answer the first question. These theories were used to find out Rebecca Sharp’s characterization. To answer the second question, the theory of character, the theory of satire, the relationship between literature and society, and review on British Society at early Victorian era are used. The result of the analysis shows that Rebecca Sharp is described as a beautiful, charming, independent, hypocritical, selfish and ambitious person who comes from low-class society and tries to make her way to be accepted in the high-class society. Based on Becky’s characteristics, it can be drawn that first, Thackeray attempts to satirize British society as a materialistic society. He shows his satire using Becky’s cunning, selfishness, and ambition, along with the influence of society on Becky’s materialism. Second, Thackeray satirizes the importance of social status in British society. He shows his satire through Becky’s marriage that is not based on love, but on her wish to elevate her social status.




Octaviani, Nadia. 2008. Materialism and Social Status: Thackeray’s Satire on British Society of the Early Victorian Era through his Character in Vanity Fair. Yogyakarta: Program Studi Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris, Jurusan Pendidikan Bahasa dan Seni, Fakultas Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan, Universitas Sanata Dharma.

Studi ini disusun untuk menganalisis karakter Rebecca Sharp, salah satu tokoh utama dalam novel Vanity Fair karya Thackeray. Studi ini juga menganalisa gambaran Thackeray terhadap masyarakat Inggris pada awal jaman Victoria. Vanity Fair termasuk dalam kategori novel sosial, sebuah novel yang kebanyakan menceritakan tentang hubungan antar orang dalam sebuah masyarakat. Melalui novel sosial, para pembaca dapat melihat kehidupan dan bentuk dari sebuah masyarakat tertentu, demikian juga dengan konflik-konflik yang terdapat didalamnya. Alasan studi ini disusun adalah bahwa melalui mata sang karakter, para pembaca dapat melihat dunia dan masyarakat. Terdapat persamaan situasi antara masyarakat di novel dan masyarakat dimana Thackeray hidup. Oleh karena itu, studi ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui bagaimnana pandangan dan sindiran Thackeray terhadap masyarakat tersebut. Ada dua permasalah mendasar yang akan dibahas dalam studi ini, yaitu (1) bagaimana karakter Rebecca Sharp dideskripsikan didalam novel, dan (2) bagaimana Thackeray menyindir masyarakat Inggris pada awal jaman Viktoria. Metode pengumpulan data yang digunakan adalah studi pustaka. Data dikumpulkan dari novel itu sendiri sebagai sumber utama, kritik mengenai novel, dan beberapa sumber lainnya. Teori karakter dan karakteristik digunakan untuk menjawab pertanyaan pertama. Teori-teori tersebut digunakan untuk mencari tahu karakteristik Rebecca Sharp. Sementara untuk menjawab pertanyaan kedua menggunakan teori karakter, teori sindiran, hubungan antara literatur dan masyarakat, dan review mengenai masyarakat Inggris pada awal jaman Victoria. Pendekatan yang digunakan pada studi ini adalah pendekatan sosio-kultural. Hasil dari analisis menunjukan bahwa Rebbeca Sharp dideskripsikan sebagai orang yang cantik, menarik, mandiri, munafik, egois, dan ambisius yang berasal dari masyarakat kelas bawah yang miskin dan mencoba mencari cara untuk diterima oleh masyarakat kelas atas. Berdasarkan dari karakteristik Rebecca Sharp, dapat disimpulkan bahwa Thackeray mencoba untuk pertama, menyindir masyarakat Inggris sebagai masyarakat yang materialistik yang mementingkan status sosial. Thackeray menunjukan sindirannya melalui karakter Becky yang licik, egois, dan ambisius. Kedua, Thackeray menyindir pentingnya status sosial dalam masyrakat Inggris. Dia menunjukan sindirannya melalaui perkawinan Becky yang tidak dilandaskan oleh cinta, tetapi oleh keinginannya untuk meningkatkan status sosialnya.




This chapter consists of the background of the study, objectives of the study, problem formulation, benefits of the study, and definition of terms. The background of the study focuses on the reasons why Vanity Fair was chosen. The objectives of the study section explains the purpose of this study. The problem formulation part gives the general description of what is going to be discussed in this study. The section that talks about benefit of the study is the explanation of the advantages of the study and those who can get the benefits from this study.

The definition of terms explains about the terms that are used in this study.

1.1 Background of the Study

Literary works can be categorized into three major genres: , poems, and dramas. According to Walker, among many other literary works, novel is “the most democratic of all, because it makes least demand for education and training and puts the smallest strain upon the intelligence of the reader” (612). It is relatively easier to enjoy a novel rather than the other literary works.

Reading novels can give the reader not only pleasure but also knowledge contained in it. By reading adventurous novels of Conrad or Kipling, the readers can “experience” traveling to Far East without spending a penny, and even without moving from your seat (Eagleton 36). Another benefit that is offered from reading novels is that readers can get the picture of the novel’s world, as De



Bonald says that “literature is an expression of society” (qtd. in Wellek and

Warren 110). Through Dickens’ , readers may see the cruel and hard life of London’s street from the eyes of a child, or having known about the wizard’s world from Rowling’s famous novels of Harry Potter.

Henkle proposes what he calls social novels, along with three other basic modes of novels: the psychological novel, the novel of symbolic action, and the modern romance. Social novels flourished in the nineteenth century. They usually

“describe entire societies, have varied casts of characters, are filled with action, and depict life over a period of time” (Henkle 22). These novels seem realistic because the world and the people of the novel are created similar to those in real life. It presents life-like characters in familiar and possible social situations.

Social interaction is one of the important activities of these novels. They describe the relationship between people in a society. The readers can get the description of a country, classes of people, and subcultures of the time from reading these novels. The main characters of these novels usually define themselves through interaction with other characters. Therefore, “much of what takes place in social novels is not internalized within the individual; rather it transpires in the open between people” (Henkle 23).

From a social novel, readers can learn about life, about the shape of the society, and conflicts that exist within it. Since the people and the social problems faced by the characters are much alike the readers’, another objective of a novel of this kind is to draw the readers into the experiences vicariously. Consequently, the readers are asked to interpret their own lives because “the fictional and the real are



too close to avoid transferring meaning from one to others. The fuller a novel’s portrayal of society is, the more likely we are to feel as if we are part of it”

(Henkle 26-27). In portraying the society, the author can also express his or her own opinion on the society. This opens up to the possibility for the author to try to satirize the society. By analyzing the author’s satire conveyed in his novel, readers can also find out how the society looks like.

Like many other social novels, which “describe entire society and have many casts of characters” (Henkle 22), Thackeray’s Vanity Fair also serves much information about the condition of society and characters. It tells about the life journey of two best friends, Rebecca Sharp and Amelia Sedley, who come from different classes in the society. Being a child of a poor painter father and a French artist mother, Rebecca, or often called Becky, has suffered from poverty since she is a little girl. Her friend Amelia, on the other hand, has a better life because she is born from a merchant family. The setting takes place predominantly in ,

Belgium, and France during the around 1815 between France and England. The novel further reveals how those two women try to meet their ambitions; Becky, with her obsession with money and being accepted into high class society, and Amelia’s obsession with true love.

Money and the importance of one’s status are two topics that are constantly discussed in this novel. Vanity Fair tells about how people are moved by their needs. Understanding how the author satirizes the society’s view on money and social status, and what people can do to achieve them, is also another



interesting experience in reading this novel. However, we all know that money, power, and social status do not always determine one’s happiness.

Thackeray portrays the perception of a particular society towards money and social status through his characters in the novel. Though there are many characters in the novel, the most relevant character to be explored further in this study is Rebecca Sharp. Rebecca Sharp is considered the best representative to portray the society. She represents both the life of a lower-class and high-class society. She is a girl without money and social status, but later in her life she can lift up her status and enter the glamorous life of high-class society

1.2. Problem Formulation

There are two problems that will be discussed in the study:

1. How is the characteristic of Rebecca Sharp described in Thackeray’s

Vanity Fair?

2. How does Thackeray satirize the British society of the early Victorian era

through Rebecca Sharp’s character in Vanity Fair?

1.3. Objectives of the Study

This study aims to find out how the character of Rebecca Sharp in the novel is described by the author. It also attempts to understand how Thackeray views the British Society of the early Victorian era. Through Becky’s characteristics in the novel, Thackeray expresses his satire toward the society.



1.4. Benefits of the Study

There are two groups of people who can get the benefits from this study.

The first group is the readers in general. The readers can get a better understanding not only the story being told, but also the background of it.

Hopefully, from this study, readers become aware that there are many more important things in this world besides money, power, and social status. The second group is the readers who are going to conduct studies on this novel. They can use this study as one of their sources. There is also suggestion in implementing Vanity Fair to teach speaking.

1.5. Definition of the Terms

There are several terms that will be discussed in the definition of the terms. These terms need to be clarified in order to give better understanding of the study.

The first word is materialism. The term materialism that is used in this study signifies an ethical attitude. A person is called a materialist, in this sense, if

“he is interested seriously in sensuous pleasure and bodily comforts, and hence in the material possession in bringing these about” (The New encyclopedia

Britannica volume 6 612). In this ethical sense, a man might be called a materialist without having to believe the metaphysical theory, and conversely. A materialist, in this study, is a person who considers material possessions, including money and properties, as the most important things.



The second word is social status. According to Gary Day, status means “a legal term designating any mark of distinction which placed an individual in a defined position in society in relation to others.” Status can also be defined in terms of honor or prestige. “It is perfectly possible for a profession to carry a high prestige factor, for example a priest, while at the same time having a low remuneration” (10). A similar statement is also made by Richard T. Schaefer. He says status refers to “any position of the full range of socially defined positions within a large group or society – from the lowest to the highest position” (112).

Status often conveys connotations of influence, wealth, and fame. Schaefer categorizes status into two parts, ascribed status and achieved status. “Ascribed status is “assigned” to a person by society without regard for the individual’s unique talents or characteristics” (112). He describes that this assignment takes place at birth, therefore, one’s racial background, gender, and age are considered as ascribed statuses. While achieved status is “attained by an individual largely through his or her own effort” (Schaefer 113). One must do something to acquire an achieved status, for example go to school, or learn some particular skills.

Teachers, parents, soldiers are the example of achieved statuses. In this study, nobility, or family name, is considered as an ascribed status. As they are determined at birth, it is difficult to change an ascribed status, although in some cases people can change it by marriage. For example, by marrying Rawdon

Crawley, Becky was able to use the Crawley name.

The third word is society. A society means “a variety of people of different occupations, ages, and natures, living in a way that creates a web of



interrelationships” (Henkle 23). The society in this study refers to the British society in the early Victorian Era. The society, here, also includes the customs, perceptions and attitudes, beliefs and values, even the economic, social, governmental, and political conditions.

The fourth word is Victorian. The term Victorian in English literary criticism often implies disapproval of certain attitudes; for example, materialism, hypocrisy, insularity, complacency, and censoriousness. While the term Victorian that is related with a certain era, or Victorian Era, means the period during which

Queen Victoria ruled Britain from 1837-1903. Abrams used the year 1870 to divide “Early Victorian” from “Late Victorian.” This period is considered as the period of invention, scientific discovery, and changing economic, political, and social ideas (The New encyclopedia Britannica volume 10 422). Both of explanations of the Victorian terms above are used in this study. The first term relates to English literary criticism is used to represent the attitude and the perception of the characters in Vanity Fair. The second term relates to the period or era used to show the time when Vanity Fair takes place.





This chapter presents discussions on review of related literature. The discussions are divided into review of related theories, review on British society of the early Victorian era, criticism, and theoretical framework. In the review on related theories, there is a discussion about theory of character, theory of characterization, theory of critical approaches, theory of satire, and the relationship between literature and society. In the review of British society of

Victorian era, explanation about the British society of Victorian Era is presented.

The theoretical framework covers why and how those theories are applied in order to answer the problems.

2.1 Review of Related Theories

There are five things that will be discussed in the review of related theories; those are: theory of character, theory of characterization, theory of critical approaches, theory of satire, and the relation between literature and society.

2.1.1. Theory of Character

Character, according to Robert Stanton, can be defined into two ways. He says that “it designates the individuals who appear in the story and it refers to the mixture of interests, desires, emotions, and moral principles that makes up each of



these individuals” (17). In other words, character is both the people in the novel and their personalities or characteristics.

Character is one of the most important aspects in the novel. Through the eyes of the characters, the readers can experience not only the characters’ life but also see what Henkle said as “a vision of a world” (48). The characters tell the story of the novel and put across the picture from their world. The readers, therefore, can identify the novel’s world through the characters. Wellek and

Warren also say that the author expresses his idea and knowledge about his society in the world of literature by using language as a medium in his fictitious characters. The use of fictitious characters in fiction, such as heroes and villains afford interesting indications of social attitude, which is similar to the characteristics of the people in his society (104). Elizabeth Langlard also states that by looking at the interaction between characters, we can see the society or the world of the novel. “This society may also be revealed through human relationships, through characters patterned interactions and their common expectations from one another” (6)

The character in the novel, or what E. M. Forster calls as “Homo Fictus”

(38) reflects the qualities of ordinary human beings. They are named, given sexes, provided with personalities complete with physical and psychological aspects.

The difference is that the characters in the novel, if the author wants to, can be understood completely because their inner and outer life can be exposed (Forster

32). The explanation on how the author describes the inner and outer life of the characters will be explained further in the theory of characterization.



Forster divides characters into flat and round. Flat characters are easily recognized, “they are constructed round a single idea or quality” (47). They change only a little part from the beginning to the end of the story. On the other hand, round characters are more complex than the flat characters. They are more dynamic and can change. The changes will influence the character. The action of this character is often unpredictable by the readers.

2.1.2. Theory of Characterization

According to Holman and Harmon (81), the technique the author uses to reveal the characters of an imaginary person in the story is called characterization.

By knowing the technique that the author uses, the readers can get descriptions about the characters of the novel. The descriptions of the characters can help the readers to know and understand them better. The techniques the author uses may vary from one to another.

There are many ways in characterizing characters. The following are nine ways Murphy says the author can employ “to make his characters understandable to, and come alive for, his readers” (161).

The first way is by personal description. The readers can identify someone’s characters by describing the physical appearance (161). The second is by seeing from other characters. Besides describing a character directly, the author can also describe his character through the eyes and opinions of other characters.

The readers can know one’s character by knowing other characters’ opinion and point of view about him or her (162). The third is by speech. Whenever a



character says something or has a conversation with other characters, he gives the readers some clues to his characters (164). Next is by exploring the character’s past life. The pictures of the character’s past life can be traced and learnt to help us figure out the character’s action of the present time. (166). The fifth is by seeing from conversation of others. The clues to one character can be revealed through the conversation with other characters (167). The sixth is by reaction. The response or the reaction of a character to something may give the readers clues to one’s character (168). The seventh way is by direct comments. In this way, usually the author of the novel acts as a narrator. The author describes one’s character by giving a comment directly (170). The eight is by thought. The readers can know the character’s inner ideas and thoughts by looking at what one is thinking about directly, or by other characters’ though about him or her (171). The last way is by seeing one’s mannerism. The readers can get clues of one’s characters by his mannerism, habits or idiosyncrasies (173).

2.1.3. Theory of Critical Approaches

Mary Rohrberger and Samuel H. Woods, Jr. presents that there are five approaches that can be used as a means of observing a novel critically. These approaches are the formalistic approach, the biographical approach, the socio- cultural historical approach, the mythopoeic approach, and the psychological approach (6-15). The first approach is the formalist approach. This approach is concerned with demonstrating the harmonious involvement of all the parts to the whole and with pointing out how meaning is derived from structure and how



matters of technique determine structure (6-7). The second approach is the biographical approach. This approach emphasizes the necessity for an appreciation of the ideas and personality of the author to an understanding of the literary object. Critics try to learn as much as they can about the life and development of the author and apply this knowledge in their attempt to understand his writing (8-9). The third is the sociocultural-historical approach. Two factors are present here. Firstly, accuracy in the presentation of historical facts is of value to the historian, but not necessarily to the author. Secondly, a work of literature might have historical significance, but not necessarily literary significance (9-11).

The fourth is the mythopoeic approach. The critics use of mythopoeic frame of reference try to discover certain universally recurrent patterns of human thought, which they believe exist in significant works of arts (11-13). The last approach that Rohrberger and Woods present is the psychological approach. This approach involves the effort to locate and demonstrate certain recurrent patterns. In applying this theory, we must be careful not to take the part for the whole and reduce a piece of literature to a mere statement of a behavior pattern (13-15).

2.1.4. The Theory of Satire

The Nineteenth century became a period of satire. Most of literary works; such as poetry, drama, essays, novels, and criticisms took on the satirical manner.

“Although the Victorian period was not noted for pure satire, the writers; such as

Dickens, Thackeray and others produced novels that showed an excellent vehicle for social satire” (The Concise Oxford Companion to 569).



According to Holman and Harmon, a satire is “a literary manner that blends a critical attitude with humor and wit for the purpose of improving human institutions or humanity” (447). While Abrams says that a satire is “the literary art of diminishing or derogating a subject by making it ridiculous and evoking toward it attitudes of amusement, contempt, scorn, or indignation” (187). Though both of them are using laughter and comedy as tools, a satire is different from a comic. In comic, comedy evokes laughter mainly as an end, while satire evokes laughter as a weapon, and against an object that exists outside the work itself. A satire is an author way of criticizing a certain object that he dislikes or disagrees. “A satire is an author’s style to criticize the root of the matter which the author is taken as a fancy and does not agree with” (Abrams 187).The object of a satire can be many things, included an individual, a type of persons, a class, an institution, a nation, or even the whole human race (Abrams 187).

Both Abrams and Holman and Harmon divide satire into two major types; they are formal (direct) satire and indirect satire. In formal (direct) satire, the satiric voice speaks out, usually in the first person, directly to the reader or to a character, or to an object that is being satirized (Holman and Harmon 448). On the other hand, in indirect satire, the satire is expressed through “narratives of the characters or groups who are the butt are ridiculed not by what is said about them, but what they themselves say and do” (Holman and Harmon 448). According to

Abrams, the most common indirect form is a fictional narrative. In fictional narrative, “the objects of the satire are characters who make themselves and their opinions ridiculous or obvious by what they think, say, and do, and sometimes



made even more ridiculous by the author’s comments and narrative style”

(Abrams 188)

2.1.5. The Relationship between Literature and Society

According to Langlard, society means “not merely people and their classes but also their customs, conventions, beliefs and values, their institutions – legal, religious, and cultural-- and their physical environment (6). It means that society can be defined as two; a group of people and the system that embodied in them.

She divides society into two; they are the world that exists in the novel and the world in which a writer lives. The two can influence each other. The world in which a writer lives may influence the world in the novel in a way that there are similarities between the two. On the other hand, the world in a novel may influence the world in which a writer lives in a way that it is the author’s way in expressing his opinion or criticisms towards it. It means that the readers may find out that while reading along the novel, they may find the messages or values that the author conveys.

The question of values has strong mimetic implications. Analyzing the values …allows us to address questions of why novels mean what they mean to us and why they can affect us powerfully. Society, as depicted in the novel, thus comments on the roles and possibilities of society in our lives (Langlard 6).

According to Wellek and Warren, the relationship between literature and society may appear in the sociology of the writer, the influence of literature on society, and the social context of the works themselves. The first is the sociology of the writer. It also deals with the writer’s social background, social status, and



social ideology. “Since every writer is a member of society, he can be studied as a social being” (96). The main source is his biography, but the information about where he came and in which he lived becomes another important point to explore.

His opinion of what happen in his society matters in analyzing his work.

The second is the influence of literature on society. It has a connection in a way that the writer is not only being influenced by society but also influencing society. The work that he produces is also influencing the shape and behavior of society. People learn how to live their lives based on what they read in the book

(Wellek and Warren 105).

The third aspect is the main focus of this thesis. The context of the works also deals with the implications and social purpose of the works. The most common relation between literature and society is that the study of works of literature is considered as social documents and assumed as the pictures of social reality. As a social document, literature can be used to give the outlines of social history. But studies of literature as simply social documents are not enough if critics do not go beyond it. They should know the artistic method of the being studied - in what relation the picture stands to the social reality. Is it realistic by intention? Or is it, at certain points, satire, caricature, or romantic idealization?

(Wellek and Warren 102-104). The writer has his own opinion about the social issues in the society where he lives. Though not like a history work, the opinions of the writer about those social issues can be traced in his work of literature.



2.2. Review on the British Society of the Early Victorian Era

2.2.1 Governmental and Political Condition

The parliament was ruled mostly by the high class. They ruled the government and created laws that must be obeyed by others. One of the requirements for being a Member of Parliament is the ownership of the land, as

George King said “Ownership of the land was an eligibility requirement for the member of Parliament” (qtd. from the New Encyclopedia Britannica Volume 3

261). Therefore, people from lower class society did not have rights in the


There are two major groups that existed in that period, and the middle class Anti-Corn Laws League. The Chartism was aimed at parliamentary reform, containing six points: annual parliament, universal male suffrage, the ballot, no property qualifications for the members of Parliament, payment for members and equal electoral districts. The Chartism was existed because of the grievances of the . They were discontent because of bad harvests, industrial unemployment, and high food price that made them hungry.

The second group is the middle class Anti-Corn Laws League. This league was established by the middle class people who disagree with the Corn Law of

1815. The Corn Law was created by the agriculturalists, who were predominant in

Parliament, attempted to protect their economy position by raising the prices of grain and rents. The league aimed to repeal the Corn Laws, by doing so, the league believed that it would manage the problems of guaranteeing the livelihood of the poor and securing the prosperity of industry (The New Encyclopedia

Britannica Volume 3, 261-6).



2.2.2. Economic Condition

Industrial Revolution in the Victorian Era can be translated with the changes in making good from hand labors to substituting machines. The use of machines is increasing since the steam was invented. This condition forces the changes from the agrarian society into industrial society. The labors did not have any jobs anymore since the machines can handle their works. Therefore, wages are extremely low because using machines are considered less expensive. The working hours are also very long, almost fourteen hours a day. The women and the children are also hired. The also makes the cities where the factories built, becomes slums and crowded. Snyder and Martin say that “The

Industrial Revolution which had begun during the later part of the 18th century, reached its climax just before Victoria came to throne” (311). The development of machinery had brought many workers to the starvation because businessmen considered buying machines and building factories more profitable. The government policy of laissez-faire, or keeping hands off a man’s private business, permitted each businessman to have a law that was created by him to use women and children as workers and force them to work as hard as they could. At the same time ‘the fencing off, or enclosing on the valid plea of improving agriculture made the villagers hurt while the land owners happy” (Snyder and Martin 311).

The whole system was based on money or the cash-nexus. Both agriculture and industry had become thoroughly dominated. For people who had power, wealth, and position, it was a good opportunity to get richer and richer. On the other hand, those who were lack of properties, and considered as lower class,



had no chance to make a better life. Betsky says that the aristocrats or high class society and middle class society were the people who obtained the benefits from this economic revolution in England.

2.2.3. Social Condition

Generally, there are three social classes that occur in the Victorian Era, namely high class society, middle class society, and lower class or working class society. Each social class has its own characteristics. High-Class Society

The high class society or the aristocrats was the richest class that had power upon the economic, politic, military, and intellectual policies. This class had the best houses, food, clothes, education, and entertainment. They went to park or party for entertainment and social activities. Palaces, vast lands, luxurious carriages, and other properties were their possession. They also had many servants to serve them fully. They were considered as having high social status, and it was ascribed from family root. Their children went to high quality school built for high class families only. For children who did not go to school, their parents asked a teacher or a to teach them at home (McKay, Hill, and Buckler 846).

The areas of their jobs in the society were the Church, government, navy or the army (Encyclopedia Britannica Volume 19 949).


19 Middle-Class Society

The middle classes were much larger groups and much less wealthy than the lower class. They were composed mostly of the most successful business families, such as those who worked in the industry, banking, and large commerce.

These middle class families were the main beneficiaries of modern industry and scientific progress. They had a number of servants as an indication of wealth and they spent food mostly since a dinner party was this class’ favorite social occasion. They also had big interest in education by sending their children to better advanced education. People from the middle class pretended to be good in the society. The middle class consisted of independent shopkeepers, small traders, and manufacturers (McKay, Hill, and Buckler 847). Lower-Class or Working-Class Society

The lower class society, or often called working class society, was the people whose livelihoods depended on physical labor and who had low levels of living and education. They lived in slums, and they are not appropriately dressed.

Their characterizations were lack of properties and dependence on wages. These conditions were associated with low levels of living and education, restricted opportunities for leisure and cultural activities, and exclusion from the spheres of important decision making (The New Encyclopedia Britannica Vol. XVI 949).

2.2.4. Moral Values

Victorians, according to Arnstein, may be generalized as prudery, hypocrisy, and stuffiness. They often failed to be said thrift, seriousness of character, respectability, hard work, and self help. Prostitute in London was



notorious. Drunkenness disgraces the large town. Yet they tried. There was a famous maxim at that era said “honesty is the best policy”. Especially in business world, this statement was strongly remembered. A merchant or an industrialist established his reputation by gaining reliability of others rather than sharp trading.

A bankruptcy was a horror for businessmen, since “bankruptcy was regarded not merely as financial but as a moral disgrace” (Arnstein 76-7).

Victorian remained as “old-fashioned” when referring to attitudes toward sex. It was taboo at that time to talk about sex. Ideally sex was never to be referred to in conversation or in print. ”The reproduction of the species became the only acceptable justification for sexual activity” (Arnstein 78). The Victorian family was a patriarchal family, meaning that although a wife was not equal with a husband, but she was fully responsible in taking care of her children. Divorce equaled with bankruptcy can be a source of social disgrace.

It is true that the Victorian has a perfect rule to conduct the life of the society. Unfortunately, the society was deficient in sight and sympathy.

Furthermore, it was too easy for the people to degenerate into sins. In fact, there were so may people who broke the social law. It had become a common thing day by day. For on stance, drinking and gambling were kinds of games for some people. The Victorians did these activities to have fun while they were known very well that they were forbidden in this country. People who cared tried to find a way for Victorians who did wrong behaviors to leave the bottle, but this was a very long term solution while the Victorian wanted a prompt and effective answer to this problem.



2.3. Criticism

This criticism was written by Pat Rogers, a professor of Liberal Arts at the

University of South Florida. He wrote the introductory part and edited Vanity

Fair, where this criticism was taken from. He started with commenting the title. It referred to ’s picture of the world as a crowded market place of temptation. Originally entitle with Vanity Fair: A Novel without a , its subtitle also served as another provoking endless interpretation.

The position of a hero is replaced with a heroine. So, it is a novel about a heroine, not a hero. The plot revolves around Amelia and Becky. Rogers also quoted in Chapter 30, “if this is a novel without a hero, at least let us claim to a heroine”, to show that it was Becky that acted like a heroine while she helped her husband calmly preparing his leaving for battlefield.

According to Rogers in his introduction to Vanity Fair, there are some questions concerning the plot of Vanity Fair. On the other hand, the book’s characterization is praised in many ways. One character that is considered successful in achieving the readers’ attention is . “There can be few readers who would fail to recognize the triumph which is Becky Sharp” (xxvii).

Rogers describes that Thackeray depicts Becky’s character with persuasive consistency.

Thackeray knows that Becky is a heartless, self-centered and evil woman, and spares no pains to make sure that we are aware of this. But she is also admirable in more limited ways, on account of her courage, independence, and clear-headed realism (xxvii).

He shows that Thackeray clearly describes Becky from two sides, virtues and vices. Rogers also says that another interesting point from Becky is his position of



Thackeray’s satires. Thackeray uses her both as the butt of the satire and as the tool to show his satire.

Another critic is Seymour Betsky, a Fulbright professor of English,

University of Utrecht. Though Thackeray is not the first novelist who writes the novel about the struggle of middle class or the gross behavior of ,

Betsky says that he is the first novelist who really hates rank and privilege, and shows it in his characters.

But he is the first novelist who, hating rank and privilege in his bones, skins bull-dog teeth into every single abuse of rank and privilege: self- defeating miserliness in a Sir Pitt Crawley; in Rawdon Crawley the prodigality of bloods and dandies; the mediocrity of mind and talents that govern the great nation with a growing empire, exemplified in Mr. Pitt Crawley; extreme brutality in Lord Steyne, trading on its prerogatives.

Betsky also says that the weapon of Vanity Fair that attracts the readers is

Thackeray’s satires. It is a satirical novel. Thackeray shows that there are many moral inequalities in Vanity Fair, but he also predicts that there is no radical change to reform those.

2.4. Theoretical Framework

There are some theories that are applied in this study. Those theories are used in order to answer the problems. To answer the first problem, the theory of character and the theory of characterization are applied. It is important to know the theory of character because the analysis of this study is also dealing with some characters of the novel. Besides explaining about what is meant by character, this theory also explains that the readers can see the novel’s world through the characters’ eyes. Theory of characterization is employed in this study in order to



reveal the characterization of the characters. This theory provides the definition and techniques of characterization. Though not all, these techniques can be used to discover the characterization of the characters. Theory of critical approaches is used to determine the most appropriate approach in analyzing and interpreting the novel.

To answer the second problem, theory of satire, the relation between society and literature, and review on the British society of the early Victorian era are utilized. Theory of satire gives information about what a satire is, and what the function of satire in a literary work. The relation between society and literature is used to know what is meant by society and the correlation between literature and society. This theory is also used to get proves that readers can really know the perception of the British society in the early Victorian era through the characters of the novel. The review on British society provides the information about the governmental, economic, social condition and moral values at that era. Besides getting better understanding about the society, by knowing this information, the readers can also get the social criticisms that the author tries to express in his novel.





There are three parts that are discussed in this chapter, namely: the subject matter, the approach of the study, and the method of the study. Subject matter of the study describes the novel that is going to be studied and a brief summary on what the story is about. Approach of the study gives information about the approach employed in this study. Method of the study explains what kind of research that is used in this study, what sources are used, and steps taken in analyzing the novel.

3.1. Subject Matter

The novel that was discussed in this study is called Vanity Fair. It was written by William Makepeace Thackeray in 1847. It took more than a year for him to finish it in monthly parts from January 1847 until July 1848. The novel used in this study was published by Everyman and edited by Pat Rogers in 1997.

It is six hundred and ninety nine pages long and divided into sixty seven chapters.

Entitled Vanity Fair: a Novel without a Hero, this was considered as one of the best novels that Thackeray ever wrote. Even Charlotte Bronte dedicated her second edition of to Thackeray, praising him as “the first social regeneration of the day”. Thackeray, who was born in Calcutta, 18 July 1811, wrote several other famous novels, such as (1840-1850), Henry

Esmond (1852), The Newcomers (1853-1855), (1857-1859), The

Adventures of Phillip (1862).



Vanity Fair told about the story of two best friends. Becky Sharp, the penniless orphaned of an artist and a French opera dancer, and Amelia Sedley, the sheltered child of a city Merchant. The two have been educated at Miss

Pinkerton’s academy. Becky having failed to attract Amelia’s brother, Jos Sedley, became a governess to the children of Sir Pitt Crawley. She becomes a favorite of

Miss Crawley, Sir Pitt’s rich spinster sister. When Becky confessed that she had married with Rawdon Crawley, Sir Pitt’s youngest son, the young couple abruptly fell from favor with Miss Crawley. They had to live without Miss Crawley’s financial help and dependent on Becky’s wits.

Meanwhile, Amelia’s father had lost all his money and her engagement with George Osborne had been broken off by George’s father, John Osborne. John did not want his son to marry a poor woman from lower class. However, the two were married without the permission of John Osborne.

Amelia and Becky accompanied their husband to Belgium for war. Becky and Rawdon are apart after Rawdon discovered his wife with Lord Steyne. Becky led an increasingly disreputable life on the continental. Rawdon who had become a governor of Coventry Island, died of fever (Adapted from The Concise Oxford

Companion to English Literature 669).

3.2. Approach of the Study

As mentioned in Chapter II, there are five approaches that Rohrberger and

Woods offer. Among them, the one to be applied in this study was the sociocultural-historical approach. The main concern of this approach was the attitude and the action of society in which a work was created. A product of art



was also a product of a society. This product also revealed the social issues and it would “lead to an ethical judgment concerning the truth of an author’s statements”

(Rohrberger and Woods 10). This approach was used because I would like to study the sociocultural-historical aspect of the story as the reflection of the society in the Victorian era, the time when Vanity Fair took place. It helped me to relate the perception of the characters in the novel with the society at that time.

Therefore, the appropriate approach for this study was the sociocultural-historical approach.

3.3. Method of the Study

In gathering the data, library research was used. A Library research was selected since most of the data were found in the library. The references were particularly on the used approach, the literary theories, criticisms on the novel, and the information about review on British society of the early Victorian Era.

There were two kinds of sources that were used in this study. They were primary source and secondary sources. The primary source was the novel itself,

William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, published by Everyman and edited by Pat Rogers in London 1997.

The secondary sources included the books, articles of related theories, reviews on the British society in the early Victorian Era, and the criticisms on the novel and the author. Some of the main sources that were used are Stanton’s

Introduction to Fiction, Henkle’s Reading the Novel, Wellek and Warren’s

Theory of Literature, Langlard’s Society in the Novel, Holman and Harmon’s A

Handbook to Literature, and Forster’s Aspect of the Novels, Rohrberger and



Woods’ Reading and Writing about Literature, and other books and articles related to the study. The complete lists of sources can be seen in the References section.

Some steps were taken in analyzing the novel. The first step was reading the novel, Vanity Fair as the main source of this study and trying to find out what the story was about. The second step was selecting the interesting topics or the problems that were going to be discussed in this study. In obtaining good understanding of the novel, it needed more than once to read the novel. The third step was reread the novel and watched the movie under the same title, Vanity Fair, to find details that were related to the problems. The fourth step was summarizing and taking notes of the points discussed. The fifth step was collecting the information about the related theories and criticisms to analyze the problem, including choosing the most appropriate approach for this thesis. The sixth step was trying to answer the problems. The last step was concluding the result of the study.





This chapter contains an analysis to answer the problems. The discussion is divided into two parts, character analysis and satires on British Society. The first section, character analysis of Rebecca Sharp, is an attempt to answer the first problem, how Thackeray describes Rebecca Sharp’s character. In this part, the character of Rebecca Sharp is revealed along with the method of characterization.

The second discussion is to answer the second problem, what satires toward

British Society that Thackeray tries to expose in Vanity Fair.

4.1. Character Analysis of Rebecca Sharp

“Characterization is an aspect of the novel which Victorians regularly chose to emphasize” (Rogers xxvii). In Vanity Fair, characters play an important role in building the story. One of the many interesting characters is Rebecca

Sharp, or often called Becky. Like ordinary people living in reality, Thackeray describes Becky’s characters from two sides, her strengths and her weaknesses.

Thackeray constantly compares Becky’s virtues with her vices. Thackeray keeps emphasizing that behind Becky’s positive attitude, she is still an evil woman.

As mentioned in Chapter 2, according to Murphy, characters have the qualities of ordinary human beings. They are named, given sexes, provided with personalities and completed with physical and psychological aspects (38).

Therefore, the analysis of Becky’s character will be divided into three parts;



social, physical, and psychological traits. It aims to give more comprehensive analysis. Based on character division, Becky is considered as a round character.

Becky’s conducts are difficult to recognize and often confusing. She often plays different roles at different time. To identify Becky’s characters, the nine methods that Murphy proposes are used.

4.1.1 Social Traits

From social point of view, Becky belongs to low class society. She is born in a poor family. Her father is a painter while her mother is a French dancer and singer at the Opera. At that time, the status of dancer at the Opera is equal with a prostitute. Her school life in Mall has influenced her belief that a poor person from low-class will always be discriminated. She is jealous of the girls in

Chiswick Mall, since they are rich, noble, and well-treated. Meanwhile Becky, who thinks that she is much better and cleverer than them, is not respected because she belongs to low-class society. From that moment, she determines herself to do anything to leave poverty behind.

Becky is a truly social climber. She marries Rawdon Crawley, the youngest son of Sir Pitt Crawley, to have a higher social status. Sir Pitt Crawley is a Baronet and a member of parliament. He is considered as one of well respected men on Great Gaunt Street. Rawdon Crawley himself is a Colonel who is in charge of British victory in Waterloo war. The Crawleys’ reputation is unquestionable. It is seen from how Thackeray himself explains about the

Crawleys. He employs what Murphy says as the direct comment method.



Among the most respected of the names beginning in C, which the Court Guide contained in the year 18--, was that of Crawley, Sir Pitt, Baronet, Great Gaunt Street, and Queen’s Crawley, Hants. This honourable name had figured constantly also in the parliamentary list for many years, in conjunction with that of a number of other worthy gentlemen who sat in turns for the borough (64).

Becky becomes Mrs. Crawley. This marriage of course elevates Becky’s social status because people recognize her as one of the members of the Crawleys.

However, she is not immediately rich. Rawdon’s aunt, Miss Crawley, who always supports his financial, does not give her blessing on the marriage. She stops her financial supports and she even crosses Rawdon’s name out of her heir list.

Becky meets Lord Steyne who helps her not only to present her to the court but also to support her financially. With the help of Lord Steyne, Becky manages herself to be accepted by the London high-class society. This is considered as the best achievement in her life. Her ambition is accomplished. She is rich and accepted by the society. She is invited to many parties and she never misses to attend each of them. She lives glamorously. She literary becomes a member of high class society.

Her turning point comes when Rawdon catches Becky’s affair with Lord

Steyne. Though Becky says “I’m innocent, Rawdon” (538), he is already disappointed with his liar wife. Rawdon divorces her. Becky becomes a widow and the custody of her son is given to Lady Jane, Rawdon’s sister in law. Though she still gets little sum of money from Rawdon, Becky’s social status is dramatically decreasing.

She remained for hours after he was gone, the sunshine pouring into the room, and Rebecca sitting alone on the bed’s edge. The drawers were all opened and their contents scattered about, - dresses and feathers, scarfs



and trinkets, a heap of tumble vanities lying in a wreck. Her hair was falling over her shoulders; her gown was torn where Rawdon had wretched the brilliants out of it. She had heard him go downstairs a few minutes after he left her, and the door slamming and closing on him. She knew he would never come back. He was gone forever (539).

Thackeray uses Becky‘s thought and reaction to emphasize her defeat. It is actually her life which is scattered. She sees her own life that she has buildt ever since she left the school ruins in front of her. She knows that Rawdon will never forgive her and her life as a lady is over.

She lives shabbier than ever now, without money or friends. She used to have many people besides her. Everybody adores her especially men. Now, nobody wants to be with Mrs. Crawley. Even though she has divorced with

Rawdon, she still uses her husband’s name to keep her status and dignity. She feels lonely and lives in exiled. From other characters’ reactions, we can see that

“Mr. Wenham’s business, Lord Steyne’s business, Rawdon’s, everybody’s – to get her out of the country, and hush up a most disagreeable affair” (647). After her leaving from England, she lives in Boulogne, on the northern coast of French just across from the Channel, where “bankrupts and scapegraces from Britain retired” (747). She lives as a vagrant, refused from one place to another. She really tries to get her life back, but there is always somebody who ruins her effort that even Thackeray himself feels pity on her. He says “Whenever Becky made a little circle for herself with incredible toils and labor, somebody came and swept it down rudely, and she had all her work to begin over again. It was very hard; very hard; lonely and disheartening” (650).



4.1.2. Physical Traits

Becky is described as a beautiful woman. Her face is as fresh as a rose and her complexion is as pale as snow. She often lets her hair curl round her neck that makes her neck more dramatically beautiful (379). Whereas physically she is pictured to have small and slight body, her attractive eyes become her appeal that attracted men.

She was small and slight in person; pale, sandy-haired, and with eyes habitually cast down: when they looked up they were very large, odd, and attractive; so attractive that the Reverend Mr. Crisp, fresh from Oxford, curate to the Vicar of Chiswick, the Reverend Mr. Flowerdew, fell in love with Miss Sharp; being shot dead by a glance of her eyes which was fired all the way across Chiswick Church from the school-pew to the reading- desk (16).

From the above quotation, it can be concluded that little Becky has beautiful eyes.

Little Becky is a little bit shy, “eyes habitually cast down”, as she comes of her age; she turns to be a charming and confident woman.

...Mrs. Rawdon Crawley’s debut was, on the contrary, very brilliant. She arrived very late. Her face was radiant; her dress perfection. In the midst of the great persons assembled, and the eye-glasses directed to her, Rebecca seemed to be as cool and collected as when she used to marshal Miss Pinkerton’s little dandies thronged round her (285).

She cleverly attracts people in the party by arriving late. Therefore, when she appears, the crowd will pay attention to her. Though under everyone’s stare, she does not feel awkward or nervous

Another description of Becky’s figure is taken when she attends a party.

All of the guesses are amazed. Her taste in fashion is described as if she is a trendsetter. She always wears her best dress when she goes out to a party.



She came like vivified figure out of the Magasin des Modes – blandly smiling in the most beautiful new clothes and little gloves and boots. Wonderful scarfs, laces, and jewels glittered about her. She had always a new bonnet on: and flowers bloomed perpetually in it: or else magnificent curling ostrich feathers, soft and snowy as camellias (381).

4.1.3. Personality Traits Cunning

As mentioned before, Becky is a beautiful and charming woman. She uses her charms to deceive people. Though she is not rich, Becky always wears expensive jewelry and best dresses. She often gets many gifts from her admirers.

General Tufto is one of her admirers. He gives Becky many presents.

... the General, her slave and worshipper, had made her many very handsome presents, in the shape of cashmere shawls bought at the auction of a French general’s lady, and numerous tributes from the jewelers’ shops, all of which betokened her admirer’s taste and wealth (294).

When she thinks that the time has come for her to enter the London Court, she needs somebody to take care of her. She needs someone who can help her finance and her arrival to the court. She knows that she cannot depend on Rawdon anymore because he cannot adapt easily with the society. One day, when Lord

Steyne visits the Crawleys for playing cards with Rawdon, Becky asks him to be her “sheepdog” (378). She uses the term sheepdog so Rawdon will not be suspicious. She does not mean that she needs a literary dog. Sheepdog or watchdog means a guardian. Becky needs someone to help and present her to the society. As a return, she will do anything that Lord Steyne asks, even committing adultery.

She rose up from her sofa, and went and took his coffee-cup out of his hand with a little curtsey. “yes”, she said, “I must get a watchdog. But he



won’t bark at you.” And, going into the other drawing-room, she sat down to the piano, and began to sing little French songs in such a charming, thrilling voice that the mollified nobleman speedily followed her into the chamber, and might be seen nodding his head and bowing time over her (380).

When she lives in exile, Becky does not have many friends. Thus, when she finally meets her old friend, Amelia, she is very happy. She really needs a friend. To get Emmy’s heart, she even makes false story about the reason why

Rawdon leaves her. She says that she is not guilty and she is as loyal as a wife should be. She tells that Lady Jane, Rawdon’s sister-in-law, has poisoned

Rawdon’s mind to take Rawdy, their son. By lying that her beloved son is taken away form her and she is not allowed to see him anymore, Becky wins Amelia’s heart. She knows that Amelia is fragile when it deals with a son. Becky knows that Amelia lost her son once (668-9). They are friends once more. Amelia shares her house with Becky. Becky lives and eats well there. Amelia also allows Becky to use her possessions, such as her carriages, jewelry or dresses. Amelia even tolerates Becky to have parties in her house though she is never really comfortable in a party (684-7).

Becky also deceives Jos, her old admirer, with the same story. Becky cleverly uses Jos’ old picture that she had. Becky says that she is never apart with the picture and she never forgets him. Jos believes every single of her word. He believes that Becky is really in love with him. Jos is in fact the one who struggle to convince everybody that Becky is a good woman. He often says “I swear to you on the , that she is as innocent as a child” (697). Becky wins his heart. They



travel together. Whenever Jos gets away, Becky is always at his side. She eventually controls Jos’ life and money. Clever

Becky is a smart girl. In order to be able to live independently, she learns as much as she can in Chiswick Mall. Music and linguistics are considered important for women at that time, therefore she learns music and linguistics which become her strengths. Through her thoughts, the readers may see that she is already able to plan her own life.

She determined at any rate to get free from the prison in which she found herself, and now began to act for herself, and for the first time to make connected plans for the future. She took advantage, therefore, of the means of study the place offered her; and as she was a musician and a good linguist, she speedily went through the little course of the study (18).

Then, she makes an agreement with Miss Pinkerton to give her recommendation as a governess of Sir Pitt Crawley’s daughters.

In Queen’s Crawley, Miss Crawley praises Becky as a smart woman.

Through her conversation with Becky, Miss Crawley says “You, my love, are a little paragon – positively a little jewel – You have more brains than half of the shire – if merit had its reward you ought to be a duchess – “(104). Another quotation is taken from conversation between Miss Crawley and her servant, Miss

Briggs. They are talking about Becky’s refusal on Sir Pitt‘s proposal. Miss

Crawley says “Well, Becky would have made a good lady Crawley, after all. She has brains in plenty (much more wit in her little finger than you have, my poor



dear Briggs, in all your head).” (147). Miss Crawley assumes that even a woman as smart as Becky has also a romantic feeling. She thinks that Becky must be in love with some apothecary or painters. In fact, Becky has already married with

Rawdon Crawley, Sir Pitt’s youngest son. So, when Sir Pitt comes to propose her as a wife, she refuses him.

Her marriage with Rawdon is not accepted by the Crawleys, especially

Miss Crawley. Miss Crawley does not support Rawdon’s finance anymore. In chapter 36, how to live well on nothing a year, Becky shows her intelligence to survive with small amount of money and to face her debts. Thackeray uses

Becky’s reaction and mannerism to show her cleverness. She does not panic when she faces the problems. They live happily and comfortably in . Rawdon has already retired from army at that time, so he earns money from gambling with his friends and he is good at it. Apparently, Rawdon’s friends are tired of playing and losing games with him. Becky then uses her charms to entertain her husband’s friends so that they are comfortable and willing to come back for another game.

To support Becky’s passion of parties and glamorous life, they owe many people in both Paris and London. They owe the landlord of the hotel, the shop where

Becky often buys bracelets and watches, and even to their son’s sitter. It is only because of her name, Mrs. Crawley, that she can still owe to everybody. Indeed, it is because of the Crawleys’ wealth and high social status that the creditors still respect them. So, when they hear Miss Crawley is dying, Becky, Rawdon, and the creditor as well are so excited that her inheritance will be Rawdon’s. They are planning to get back to London. Instead of going to London directly, Becky asks



Rawdon to go to first. It seems that in London, Rawdon has also many debts. After making arrangement by cheating her landlord to finish her bills, she goes to London to settle another Rawdon’s debts. She makes negotiation with the creditors and she wins the deal in a brilliant way that most of the lawyers of her creditors compliment her (362-70).

She is also witty. Though they have not known each other for long time,

Mr. Sedley recognized Becky as a humorous girl. On one dinner, when Becky is invited to the Sedleys, she demonstrates it by answering Joseph’s joke on pepper and chili.

Old Sedley began to laugh, and thought Rebecca was a good-humoured girl. Joseph simply said – “Cream-tarts, Miss? Our cream is very bad in Bengal. We generally use goats’ milk; and ‘gad go you know, I’ve got to prefer it!” (27-8)

Miss Crawley also praises her good humor. Becky makes her laugh often by mimicking other people’s behaviors. Miss Crawley enjoys that and in fact she becomes Becky’s adorer. Becky, who is only a governess, the same position as a maid, is welcomed to dine together in the dining table with the Crawleys. “Becky

Sharp! Miss Sharp! Come and sit by me and amuse me; and let Sir Huddleston sit by Lady Wapshot.” (103). Indeed, it is Miss Crawley who invites her. If Miss

Crawley says something, it becomes everybody’s order because everybody wants to be her heir. Independent

From her past life, we know that Becky is an orphan from early age. After her father’s death, she has to be able to support herself. Therefore, she is hired by



Miss Pinkerton, the principal, to be a trainee teacher of French in Chiswick Mall.

Rebecca was seventeen when she came to Chiswick, and was bound over as an articled pupil; her duties to talk French, as we have seen; and her privileges to live cost free, and, with a few guineas a year, to gather scarps of knowledge form the professors who attended the school (16).

Becky is not afraid to confront Miss Pinkerton when she disagrees with her. Once, the principal hears her practicing piano after the school is over. She plays very well. Miss Pinkerton asks her to teach playing piano to the students, but she refuses it. She does not agree with Miss Pinkerton because she knows that Miss

Pinkerton only takes advantage of her. She has a quarrel with Miss Pinkerton over this.

“I am here to speak French with the children,” Rebecca said abruptly, “not to teach them music, and save money for you. Give me money, and I will teach them.” “A viper - fiddlestick,” said Miss Sharp to the old lady, almost fainting with astonishment. “You took me because I was useful. There is no question of gratitude between us. I hate this place, and want to leave it. I will do nothing here but what I am obliged to do.” (18)

From her speech above, we can see that Becky has courage to face Miss Pinkerton when she disagrees with her, though Becky knows that Miss Pinkerton is the principle of Chiswick Mall.

On the day of her leaving the school, Miss Jemima, Miss Pinkerton’s sister, gives Becky Johnson’s Dixonary, but Becky throws it away in front of Miss

Jemima’s feet. She thinks that Johnson’s Dixonary is a reference for women to speak politely. She does not want anything that can remind her of Chiswick Mall.

“But, lo! And just as the coach drove off, Miss Sharp put her pale face out of the window and actually flung the book back into garden” (13).



As an orphan, she knows that she does not have any parents to support her.

Since her father’s death, she has to be able to fulfill her needs. When it comes to find a husband, she really hopes that she has a mother to arrange her marriage.

All she wanted was the proposal, and ah! How Rebecca now felt the want of a mother! –a dear, tender mother, who have managed the business in ten minutes, and, in the course of a little delicate confidential conversation, would have extracted the interesting avowal from the bashful lips of a young man! (54).

In the end, she knows that she does not have a mother. She is completely aware that she needs to rely on nobody. She says “I must be my own mamma” (87).

Then, she continues her adventure in finding a husband.

In Brussels, she is left alone because Rawdon has to go to waterloo war.

She is not afraid to be left alone. While Jos runs away for his safety, she keeps calm when she hears that British has defeated in the war. It is seen from the conversation when Becky confronts Jos’ flight.

“What, you fly?” said Rebecca, with a laugh. “I thought you were the champion of all the ladies, Mr. Sedley.” “I – I’m not a military man,” gasped he. “And Amelia? – Who is to protect that poor little sister of yours?” asked Rebecca. “You surely would not desert her?” (316). Selfish

Becky is selfish. In order to get what she wants, she does not care about anybody else. She does not care of her son, little Rawdon. All she cares about is her position, her pleasure, and her advancement in society. She attends many parties, leaving behind her little Rawdon who needs her affection. She puts little

Rawdon upstairs so he does not disturb the party.



“It’s my cherub crying for his nurse,” she said. She did not offer to move to go and see the child. “Don’t agitate your feelings by going to look for him,” said Lord Steyne sardonically. “Bah!” replied the other, with sort of blush, “he’ll cry himself to sleep”; and they fell to talking bout the Opera (380).

Becky also neglects her husband, Rawdon. It is Rawdon who stays at home to play with little Rawdon. She often attends a party without Rawdon’s guidance. “How is Mrs. Crawley’s husband?” Lord Steyne used to say to him

(380). In the patriarchal society where Rawdon lives, it is considered as shameful thing to be called as one’s husband. He does not have any pride of being Rawdon

Crawley. He is not considered as Colonel Crawley anymore. Becky is more well- known than he is. Hypocritical

After her leaving from Amelia’s house, Becky goes to Queen’s Crawley.

Along the way to Queen’s Crawley, she immediately counts the money that Mr.

Sedley gives her. From Becky’s reaction towards Mr. Sedley’s gift, readers may know that Becky is a hypocrite.

… and as soon as she had taken leave of Amelia, and counted the guineas which good-natured Mr. Sedley had put into a purse for her, and as soon as she had done wiping her eyes with her handkerchief (which operation she concluded the very moment the carriage had turned the corner of the street) … (65).

While she says farewell to the Sedleys, she cries a lot that implies it is the hardest thing to do, to be apart with the Sedleys. She also pretends to refuse Mr. Sedley’s money.



Becky in Amelia’s house and Becky in the Crawleys’ house is quite different character. With the Sedleys, Becky is considered as an arrogant woman.

While with the Crawleys, Becky pretends to be a helpful and obedient woman.

She was quite a different person from the haughty, shy, dissatisfied little girl whom we have known previously, and this change of temper proved great prudence, a sincere desire of amendment, or at nay rate moral courage on her part. A system of hypocrisy; which lasts through whole years, is one seldom satisfactorily practiced by a person of one-and twenty; however, our readers will recollect that, though young in years, but our heroine was old in life and experience (90).

Her speech also shows that Becky is a hypocrite. When she hears that Sir

Pitt’s death, she is happy not sad. This is because she hopes that Lady Jane will introduce her to the society and Rawdon will get a position in Parliament. When she is invited to Sir Pitt’s funeral, she pretends to mourn over (420). She says to

Lady Jane how grateful she is because she has a husband like Rawdon, and she does not get angry to know that it is Pitt Jr. who gets Miss Crawley’s money.

Becky says

“She succeeded in making us poor,” Rebecca said, with an air of angelical patience, “but how can I be angry with a woman who has given me one of the best husbands in the world? And has not her own avarice been sufficiently punished by the ruin of her own hopes, and the loss of the property by which she set so much store? Poor!” she cried. “Dear Lady Jane, what care we for poverty? I am used to it from childhood, and I am often thankful that Miss Crawley’ money ha gone to restore the splendor of the noble old family of which I am so proud to be a member. I am sure Sir Pit will make a much better use of it that Rawdon could” (421).

In fact, she hates Lady Jane and Sir Pitt for being Miss Crawley’s heirs.

When Becky is in Queen’s Crawley, she also pretends that she loves her son, Little Rawdon. She treats him full of affection and very well. She prepares

Little Rawdon’s needs. She tries to show that she is a loving and caring mother.



The truth is Becky really wishes that she does not have to take Little Rawdon with her. It is only because of Lady Jane’s invitation to see her nephew and Rawdon’s assurance that he will take care of Little Rawdon, Becky lets Little Rawdon go with them to the Queen’s Crawley. Along the journey, Little Rawdon sits outside the carriage with his father. Becky is “inside the vehicle, with her maid and her furs, her wrappers, and her scent-bottles” (450). It is winter at that time. The conversation between Little Rawdon and Lady Jane while the two have dinner shows the evidence. Little Rawdon says “I like to dine here. I dine in the kitchen when I am at home”, replied Rawdon Minor “or else with Briggs” (451). It shows that Becky does not care about Little Rawdon in her home. She orders her son to eat in the kitchen with the servants.

After the custody of her son is given to Lady Jane, she never meets or writes to Little Rawdon. She even forgets that she has a son. Until one day she finds out that Little Rawdon becomes the Crawleys’ heir because Pitt and Lady

Jane’s son dies of hoping-cough and measles. She writes him the most affectionate letter and calls him a darling son. Though Little Rawdon replies the letter, he says to Lady Jane “Oh, Aunt Jane, you are my mother, and not – and not that one” (647). Ambitious

Becky is an ambitious person. She says to herself “it will be a fine day when I can take my place above her in the world, as why, indeed, should I not?”

(87). Becky’s ambition is to be rich and to have high social status. She does



everything to get money and elevate her social status. Then, the first step to take is getting a husband. When she is invited to Amelia’s house, she finds out that

Amelia’s brother, Jos Sedley, is still a single. So she makes her moves to get Jos’ and the Sedleys’ heart. Her attempt to Jos Sedley does not work. Her failure with

Jos Sedley never breaks her heart, instead she directly makes some plans how to conquer the Crawleys. She sets her eyes on Rawson Crawley because she knows that Rawdon is Miss Crawley’s sweet nephew and her most probable heir. She is married with Rawdon, but she is still poor because apparently Miss Crawley does not like the marriage.

She makes friend with Lord Steyne though Rawdon has warned her that

Lord Steyne is cunning. Lords Steyne becomes her protector. Becky needs Lord

Steyne to support her finance and to present her to high-class society. She is persistent in getting what she wants. She will do anything to be accepted by the society, so when Lord Steyne asks her to send her son to a dormitory school, she obeys him. She sends little Rawdon to Eton even with objection from Rawdon.

She also commits adultery with Lord Steyne. When Rawdon is in jail, charged of his debts, she makes a lie letter that she is sick and she cannot help him. She also lies that she does not have any money to pay those debts. It is Lord Steyne himself who sets Rawdon into jail. Rawdon is free because of his sister in law’s help. He goes home and finds Becky and Lord Steyne in his bedroom.

Rawdon opened the door and went in. A little table with a dinner was laid out – and wine and plate. Steyne was hanging over the sofa on which Becky sat. The wretched woman was in a brilliant full toilet, her arms and all her fingers sparkling with bracelets and rings,; and the brilliant on her breast which Steyne has given her. He had her hand in his, and was bowing over it to kiss it, when Becky started up with a faint scream as she



caught sight of Rawdon’s white face. At the next instant she tried a smile, a horrid smile, as if to welcome her husband: and Steyne rose up, grinding his teeth, pale, and with fury in his look (537-8).

Rawdon accidentally catches in the act of her infidelity. She has been a mistress of

Lord Steyne, and she gets much money from him, a thousand , more than enough to pay Rawdon’s bill. All the rings and the bracelets and the jewelries that she wears to a party are the gifts from Lord Steyne.

From the discussion above, materialistic and social climber are the most prominent character of Becky. Her conducts are aimed to make her rich and elevate her social status. Her ambition, hypocrisy, cleverness, cunning, independence, and selfishness prove it. Then, after finding out that Becky is a materialist and a social climber, the question continues. What kind of society does

Thackeray want his readers to know in Vanity Fair? What are the satires and how does Thackeray deliver them in his novel? These questions lead to the next discussion of this chapter.

4.2. Satires on British Society

There are two major discussions in this part, materialism and social status.

As mentioned in theory of character in Chapter 2, Wellek and Warren say that the author expresses his idea and knowledge about his society in the world of literature by using language as a medium in his fictitious characters. The characters in the novel may afford interesting indications of social attitude, which is similar to the characteristics of the people in his society. In other words, character may be used to find out what kind of society at that time. In this case,



Becky as a main character is chosen to give description about British society of early Victorian era. Besides describing the society, Thackeray also satirizes the materialism and the importance of social status in British society at that time.

Dealing with the relationship between literature and society in Chapter 2, there is a connection between society and literature. Here, the society where

Thackeray lives influences him on expressing his ideas or opinions in Vanity Fair.

Seymour Betsky says “Thackeray maintain, …, the conviction that his weapon is satire” (145). Vanity Fair is his satire towards the British society.

In delivering his satires, Thackeray uses two ways, which according to the division of satire by Holman and Harmon called, direct and indirect satires.

Thackeray often directly expresses his satires and also uses his characters to show his satires. In this case, Thackeray uses direct satires by directly satirizing Becky, and uses indirect satires by using Becky or other character’s behaviors.

As what Rogers says that

The point about Becky, for Thackeray’s purposes, is that she can be both a target of his satire and its instrument. She embodies much of what is wrong with Vanity Fair, especially its greed and its self-seeking. But, unlike most of the characters, she can always see what the world is like (xxvii).

Thackeray uses Becky as a target of his satire to the society, but at another time, he uses Becky’s point of view to show his satire. The review of British society is also used in this analysis to show the similarity between the society in the novel and the society in which Thackeray lives.

To find out what satires that Thackeray wants his readers know in Vanity

Fair, the following discussion will be divided into two.



4.2.1. Thackeray Satirizes British Society is Materialistic

Thackeray satirizes British society through Becky’s ambition. It is stated in previous discussion that Becky is an ambitious woman. She persistently pursues and does whatever it takes to be rich. While she is in Chiswick Mall, she suffers discrimination from people there. She is discriminated because she is not a rich and noble girl like any girl who study in Chiswick Mall. While other girls sleep in their comfortable and warm bedroom, she sleeps in the garret. She is jealous of them for being loved by everybody.

The happiness – the superior advantages of the young women round about her, gave Rebecca inexpressible pangs of envy. “What airs that girl gives herself, because she is an Earl’s grand-daughter” she said one. How they cringe and bow to that Creole, because of her hundred thousand pounds! I am a thousand pounds cleverer and more charming than that creature, for all her wealth. I am as well-bred as the Earl’s grand-daughter, for all her fine pedigree; and yet everyone passes me by here. And yet when I was in my father’s, did not the men give up their gayest balls and parties in order to pass the evening with me?” She determined at any rate to get free from the prison in which she found herself, and now began to act for herself, and for the first time to make connected plans for the future (18).

It is indirect satire when Becky describes her jealousy to the girls in Chiswick

Mall. He uses Becky’s thought to satirize that society at that time discriminates the haves and the have-nots. The discrimination shows that the society at that time is materialistic. They are money oriented. Furthermore, it influences Becky. She becomes a materialist, too.

Her selfishness shows that Becky cannot find happiness except in possessing money and attending parties that she can wear her beautiful trinkets and dresses. She has already had a loving family. She has a handsome husband



who loves her with all his heart. She also has a healthy and obedient son. She does not care with her family. The only bliss that she gets is when she wears her expensive dresses and jewelry to party.

Becky comes to the conclusion that morality is a matter of money.

Thackeray directly satirizes Becky for this thought. He says “And who knows but

Rebecca was right in her speculations-and that it was only a question of money and fortune that made the difference between her and an honest woman” (425).

She deceives General Tufto to buy her some jewelry. Cunningly, she deceives

Lord Steyne to settle her debts. Lord Steyne gives her sum of money that Rawdon never knows. Her hypocrisy does not always help her as a respected and honest woman. Her greed leads her to ruin. It is her own fault that Rawdon catches her affair. If she is willing to spare her one thousand pound that Lord Steyne gave her,

Rawdon will come home with her and he will not find Becky and Lord Steyne in her bedroom.

Another point about materialism is shown through Miss Crawley character. Sir Pitt and Mr. Bute Crawley are not very friendly to each other, though they are brothers. When Mr. Bute preaches, Sir Pitt will answer it with snoring. On the other hand, Mr. Bute does not like Sir Pitt’s conducts that rather not appropriate as a Baronet. When Miss Crawley comes to visit Queen’s

Crawley, they are quite loving and respecting at each other. Becky says in her letter to Amelia “What a charming reconciler and peace-making money is” (98).

They do not want to show their dispute in front of their sister because Miss

Crawley does want to hear any quarrel. Each of them tries to make her as



comfortable as possible because they aim at her money. Becky learns from the

Crawley brothers’ hypocrisy. So, she also tries to get Miss Crawley’s heart. She cleverly makes jokes to amuse Miss Crawley. She learns that money gives the owner power, even power to make friends. Everybody wants to be Miss

Crawley’s friend, or at least her toady. Thackeray employs indirect satire through the Crawley brothers’ and Becky’s behavior. He scorns at them. Besides using the direct satire, Thackeray also directly satirizes the society to emphasize his satire.

Miss Crawley was, in consequence, an object of great respect when she came to Queen’s Crawley, for she had a balance at her banker’s which would have made her beloved anywhere. What a dignity it gives an old lady, that balance at the banker’s! How tenderly look at her faults if she is a relative (and may every reader have a score of such), what a kind good-natured old creature we find her! (86-7).

4.2.2. Thackeray Satirizes the Importance of Social Status

As we know that Becky is a social climber. She marries Rawdon to elevate her social status. Thackeray directly satirizes that marriage is affected to one’s social status. When Becky is in trial to get a husband, Thackeray says that “… women are commonly not satisfied until they have husbands and children on whom they may centre affection…” (37). For Becky, marriage is a tool to elevate her social status. Thackeray also satirizes the society’s perception on marriage and the role of mother as a matchmaker. Thackeray says that women will work hard to get a husband. They are willing to dance until five in the morning. They labor themselves in expensive lessons to master some pianoforte sonatas or some beautiful songs in a hope they can “bring down some ‘desirable’ young man”

(24). Even Becky uses her talents in singing and playing piano when she attracts



Rawdon and Lord Steyne. Parents when it comes to find a spouse for their daughter, show the same efforts as their daughter.

What causes respectable parents to take up their carpets, set their houses topsy-turvy, and spend a fifth of their year’s income in ball supper and iced champagne? Is it sheer love of their species, and an unadulterated wish to see young people happy and dancing? Psha! They want to marry their daughters, … (24). Miss Crawley does not bless her marriage. She is only a governess. It pictures that the marriage with different social status is still not accepted by the society. Becky and Rawdon are exiled by the Crawleys. They also get difficulty in mingling with the society. Her status as a governess and her mother who was an opera girl follow her. A governess and a gambler are not people whom get respect. Still, she attends every party to keep her exist among the society.

Becky’s ambition to be accepted as a member of high class society is another example of Thackeray’s satire. She does everything to elevate her social status. She pretends that she loves her son so that she can get Lady Jane’s help to support her to the Court. She cleverly deceives Lord Steyne to help presenting her to the court. Lord Steyne is an important person that can help her realizing her dream.

In one of her letter to Amelia, Becky says that Sir Pitt is not what she thinks a Baronet should be. Becky describes his character as rude. He swears a lot.

Though they dine with the finest silver spoons and forks, it does not stop him to speak about how the meal is served. Sir Pitt literary asks the servants how they slaughter the sheep for the meal. Becky also tells how stingy he is. Every person in the house is only allowed to have one candle, though it is put in “a magnificent old silver candlestick” (77). Sir Pitt also asks every change from the servants after



he asks them to buy something. With his entire terrible manner, but people still respect him as a noble. This is because he carries one of the most respected names in England. Direct satire is also found when Thackeray comments on Sir Pitt.

Vanity Fair – Vanity Fair! Here was a man, who could not spell and did not care to read – who had the habits and the cunning of a boor: …, and yet he had a rank, and honours, and power, and somehow: and was a dignitary of the land, and a pillar of a state. He was high sheriff, and rode in a golden coach. Great ministers and statesmen courted him; and in Vanity Fair he had a higher place than the most brilliant genius spotless virtue (85).

He satirizes that ascribed status is more important than achieved status.

People get respected if they belong to high social status, no matter how wicked they are. Lord Steyne is another example of this. Whenever he helps people, he always thinks about the advantages for himself. Becky herself admits that he is cunning and wicked, but he is still more respected that an honest man in Vanity






This study is closed by the conclusion. This part is divided into two parts, conclusions and suggestions. The first part is the conclusion of the study. It sums up the analysis on the two problems of this study. The second part is the suggestion. This part discusses the recommendations for future research on the topic, as well as suggestions on how to apply Vanity Fair to teaching.

5.1. Conclusions

Having analyzed Vanity Fair in the previous chapter, it comes to the conclusion part. There are two problems that are discussed in this study, how

Thackeray describes Becky’s character and how Thackeray satirizes British

Society using Becky’s character.

The first conclusion is dealing with the first problem. Becky is described as a beautiful, charming, independent, hypocritical, selfish and ambitious person who comes from low class. As a cunning woman, she is able to deceive many people using her charms. She also cleverly uses her skills and beauty to attract the people, especially men. Her wit combined with her skills in French and music, become her weapon in conquering the society. She is an independent woman.

Mostly, she does not need anybody’s help in getting her goal, though she asks

Lord Steyne’s help to present her to the court. Her hypocrisy is another way to get what she wants. She becomes an ambitious woman that is able to do and sacrifice



anything, even her family, to achieve her goal. Therefore, it can be concluded that

Becky is both materialistic and a social climber. She does everything it takes to get her ambition; to be rich and to elevate her social status.

From the discussion of Becky’s characteristics, Thackeray wants to show his satires toward the British Society. Through Rebecca Sharp characteristics, it can be seen that the society at that time is a materialist and social climber. First, he satirizes British society as a materialistic society through Becky’s characters.

Her cunning, selfishness, and her ambition tell that she only finds her bliss in pursuing and getting wealth. The society also gives impact in influencing her character. She has suffered discrimination because of poverty since she was a girl.

She is not happy as a poor person, so she determines to be as wealthy as possible.

Another satire that Thackeray tries to reveal is that through money, people can get many friends. He uses Becky’s hypocrisy as well as the Crawleys’ to show his satires. Those show that society at that time is materialistic. The second satire that

Thackeray wants his readers know is his satire on the importance of social status among the British society at that era. As a girl from low class society, Becky determines to elevate her social status whatever it takes. Thackeray satirizes

Becky’s marriage. She only marries Rawdon because of her goal to elevate her social status. By marrying Rawdon, who is a noble man from a respected family,

Becky’s social status automatically increases. Thackeray also uses direct satire by directly commenting the system of marriage in British society. He shows that both parents and daughters are willing to do anything to get a fine respected husband.



He also satirizes Sir Pitt to show the importance of ascribed status than achieved status.

5.2. Suggestions

This part is divided into two parts, the first is the suggestion for future researchers, and the second is the suggestion for teaching implementation.

5.2.1. The Suggestion to Future Researchers

Vanity Fair is an interesting novel that has many other aspects that are worth to analyze. This novel has many interesting characters. There are many minor characters that influence Becky’s character. This can be another subject to analyze. Besides Rebecca Sharp, Thackeray tells the story through another main character, Amelia Sedley. Amelia provides the readers with the story of her never- ending love. Her struggle to keep her love makes her life suffer. The meaning of love for Amelia is also worth to analyze. Thackeray constantly compares the story between the two. It is interesting to know the importance of telling the story between them from Thackeray’s point of view. Since this study uses the sociocultural-historical approach, the future researchers may use the psychological aspects to explore the characters in Vanity Fair.

5.2.2. Suggestion for Teaching Learning Activities

There are many topics that can be used in Vanity Fair for teaching. For example, the role of a mother that Becky shows. Becky shows that as a mother she



does not care much about her family. She also tends to be more powerful than her husband. This can be an interesting topic to discuss in the classroom; therefore, excerpts of Vanity Fair are chosen to teach speaking.

The Implementation in Teaching Speaking

One of the obstacles to encourage the students to speak is the large size of the class. Therefore, group discussion provides many opportunities for the students to speak in the target language because the discussion is conducted in small group and the teacher does not take significant role in the proceeding. There are many activities that can be implemented in speaking class, such as dialogue, discussions, story telling, interview, role-play, presentation, and even debate. The following activity is discussing about the group discussion. There are three stages in the implementation of group discussion in class, pre-discussion, discussions, and post-discussion. In pre-discussion, the students are divided into groups.

Identifying and organizing the topic are also done in this stage. In the discussion stage, the students discuss their topic while partner groups observe and give feedback. In the Post-discussion, the students are concluded their discussion and report it in front of the class. (Green and Lam 226-31). This kind of activity also provides the students with opportunities to improve their critical thinking and also their speaking proficiency.

These following suggestions can be used as an example of the procedure in teaching learning activities. The meeting will be conducted in 100 minutes.

1. Students are already given the selected literary text for discussion in

previous meeting before the class. Chapter 36 and 37 in Vanity Fair is



chosen because it shows how Becky handles her family. They are asked to

read the text and comprehend it before the class.

2. In class, the students are divided into groups of four. Each group members

should be as homogeneous as possible both in their speaking ability and

their personality, considering that the students consist of extrovert and

introvert. Their speaking ability and their willingness to speak are various.

This gives the chance for students to speak evenly in the group.

3. The teacher introduces the topics from the reading by asking questions.

Each group has to identify and organize the topic by using brainstorming

and mind-mapping techniques.

4. They start to discuss about the topic among group members using the

target language. Each group member should contribute the discussion.

They may use certain terms that the teacher gives. Each member of the

group must present his or her pros and cons about the chosen topic. Along

the discussion, the teacher should monitor the proceeding of each group’s

discussion. The teacher may use the teacher’ guide to evaluate the

students’ performance in each group.

5. After all group members have a chance to speak, they conclude the

discussion. One of the group member reports it in front of the class so that

other groups may give their opinion and suggestions on the report.




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Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero is a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray that satirizes society in early 19th-century England.

The story opens at Miss Pinkerton's Academy for

Young Ladies, Chiswick Mall, where the

principal protagonists Becky Sharp and Amelia

Sedley have just completed their studies and are

preparing to depart for Amelia's house in Russell

Square. Becky is portrayed as a strong-willed and

cunning young woman determined to make her

way in society, and Amelia Sedley is a good natured, loveable though simple-minded young girl.

At Russell Square, Miss Sharp is introduced to the dashing and self- obsessed Captain George Osborne (to whom Amelia has been betrothed from a very young age) and to Amelia's brother Joseph Sedley, a clumsy and vainglorious but rich civil-servant fresh from India. Becky entices him and hopes to marry him, though eventually fails as a result of warnings from Captain

Osborne and his own native shyness and embarrassment that Becky had witnessed his foolish behavior at Vauxhall.

With this Becky Sharp says farewell to the Sedleys and enters the service of the baronet Sir Pitt Crawley who has engaged her as a governess to his daughters. Her behavior at Sir Pitt's house gains the favor of Sir Pitt, who after the



premature death of his second wife, proposes to her. However, it soon transpires that she is already secretly married to his second son, Rawdon Crawley.

Sir Pitt's half sister, the spinster Miss Crawley, is very rich. Where she will leave her great wealth is a source of constant conflict between the branches of the

Crawley family who vie shamelessly for her affections; initially her favorite is Sir

Pitt's younger son, Captain Rawdon Crawley. For some time, Becky acts as Miss

Crawley's companion, supplanting the loyal Briggs in an attempt to find favor before breaking the news of her elopement with her nephew. The misalliance so enrages Miss Crawley, that she eventually disinherits her nephew in favor of his elder brother, who also bears the name Pitt Crawley. The couple constantly attempts to reconcile with Miss Crawley and she relents a little. However, she will only see her nephew and refuses to change her will.

While Becky Sharp is rising in the world, Amelia's father, John Sedley, is bankrupted. The Sedleys and the Osbornes were once close allies. The relationship between the two families disintegrates and the marriage of Amelia and George is forbidden. George ultimately decides to marry Amelia against his father's will, primarily due to the pressure of his friend Dobbin, and George is consequently disinherited by his father.

At a ball in Brussels, George gives Becky a note inviting her to run away with him. He regrets this shortly afterwards, and reconciles with Amelia, who has been deeply hurt by his attentions towards her former friend. The morning after, he is sent to Waterloo, with Captain Crawley and Dobbin, leaving Amelia distraught. Becky, on the other hand, is virtually indifferent about her husband's



departure. She tries to console Amelia, but Amelia responds angrily, disgusted by

Becky's flirtatious behavior with George and her lack of concern about Captain

Crawley. Becky resents this snub and a rift develops between the two women that last for years. Becky is also not very concerned for the outcome of the war - should win, she is planning to become the mistress of one his marshals, and meanwhile she makes a profit out of selling her carriage and horses at inflated prices to panicking Britons, seeking to flee the city where the Belgian population is openly pro-Napoleonic.

Captain Crawley survives, but George dies in the battle. Amelia bears him a posthumous son, who is also named George. She returns to live in genteel poverty with her parents. Meanwhile since the death of George, Dobbin, who is his son's godfather, gradually begins to express his love for the widowed Amelia by small gestures directed towards her and her son. Most notably is the recovery of an old piano, which Dobbin picks up at an auction following the Sedley's ruin, which Amelia mistakes as a gesture from her late husband. She is too much in love with George's memory to return Dobbin's affections. Saddened, he goes to

India for many years. Dobbin's infatuation with Amelia is a theme which unifies the novel and one which many have compared to Thackeray's unrequited love for a friend's wife.

Meanwhile, Becky also has a son, also named after his father, but unlike

Amelia, who dotes on and even spoils her child, Becky is a cold, distant mother.

She continues her ascent first in post-war Paris and then in London where she is patronized by the great Marquess of Steyne who covertly subsidizes her and



introduces her to London society. Her success is unstoppable despite her humble origins and she is eventually presented at court to the Prince Regent himself.

At the summit of her success, Becky's pecuniary relationship with the rich and omnipotent Marquess of Steyne is discovered by Rawdon, after he is arrested for debt. His brother's wife, Lady Jane, bails him out and he surprises the couple in a compromising position. Rawdon leaves his wife and through the offices of

Lord Steyne is made Governor of Coventry Island to get him out of the way, after

Rawdon challenges the elderly Marquess to a duel. Mrs. Crawley, having lost both husband and credibility, is warned by Steyne to quit England and wanders the continent. Rawdon and Rebecca's son is left in the care of Pitt Crawley and

Lady Jane. However wherever Becky goes, she is stalked by the shadow of Lord

Steyne. No sooner has she established herself in polite society, than someone turns up who knows her disreputable history and spreads rumors; Steyne himself hounds her out of Rome.

As Amelia's adored son George grows up, his grandfather, Mr. Osborne, relents and takes him from poor Amelia who knows the rich and bitter old man will give him a much better start in life materially than she or her family could ever manage. After the death of old Mr. Osborne, Amelia, Joseph, George and

Dobbin go on a trip to , where they encounter the destitute Becky. She meets the young George Osborne at a card table and then enchants Jos Sedley.

Following Jos' entreaties, Amelia agrees to reconciliation (when she hears that

Becky has had her ties with her son severed), much to Dobbin's disapproval.

Dobbin quarrels with Amelia, and finally realizes that he is wasting his love on a



woman too shallow to return it. However, Becky, in a moment of conscience, shows Amelia the note that George (Amelia's dead husband) had given her, asking her to run away with him. This breaks George's idealized image in Amelia's mind, but not before she has already sent a note to Dobbin professing her love.

Becky resumes her seduction of Joseph Sedley and gains control over him.

He eventually dies of a suspicious ailment after signing a portion of his money to

Becky as life insurance. His death appears to have made her fortune.

By a twist of fate Rawdon Crawley dies weeks before his elder brother whose son has already died. Thus the baronetcy descends to Rawdon's son. Had he outlived his brother by even a day he would have become Sir Rawdon Crawley and Becky would have become Lady Crawley - the title she uses regardless in later life. The reader is informed at the end that although Dobbin married Amelia, and although he always treated her with great kindness, he never fully regained the love that he had once had for her.

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanity_Fair#Plot_summary




Thackeray’s Biography

Thackeray, an only child, was born in Calcutta, India, where his father,

Richmond Thackeray, and his mother Anne Becher, held the high rank of secretary to the board of revenue in the British . William had been sent to England earlier, at the age of five, with a short stopover at St. Helena where the imprisoned Napoleon was pointed out to him. He was educated at schools in Southampton and Chiswick and then at Charterhouse School, where he was a close friend of John Leech. He disliked Charterhouse, parodying it in his later fiction as "Slaughterhouse." Illness in his last year there (during which he reportedly grew to his full height of 6'3") postponed his matriculation at Trinity

College, Cambridge, until February 1829. Never too keen on academic studies, he left the University in 1830.

On reaching the age of 21 he came into his inheritance but he squandered much of it on gambling and by funding two unsuccessful newspapers, The

National Standard and The Constitutional for which he had hoped to write. He also lost a good part of his fortune in the collapse of two Indian banks. Forced to consider a profession to support himself, he turned first to art, which he studied in

Paris, but did not pursue it except in later years as the illustrator of some of his own novels and other writings.

Thackeray's years of semi-idleness ended after he met and, on 20 August

1836, married Isabella Gethin Shawe (1816-1893). The marriage appears to have been a very happy one though beset by problems (an overbearing mother-in-law and sickness). Their three daughters were Anne Isabella (1837-1919), Jane (1837;



died at 8 months) and Harriet Marian (1840-1875). He now began "writing for his life," as he put it, turning to journalism in an effort to support his young family.

He primarily worked for Fraser's Magazine, a sharp-witted and sharp- tongued conservative publication, for which he produced art criticism, short fictional sketches, and two longer fictional works, Catherine and The Luck of

Barry Lyndon. Later, through his connection to the illustrator John Leech, he began writing for the newly created Punch magazine, where he published The

Snob Papers, later collected as The Book of Snobs. This work popularized the modern meaning of the word "snob".

Tragedy struck in his personal life as his wife succumbed to depression after the birth of their third child in 1840. Finding he could get no work done at home, he spent more and more time away, until September of that year, when he noticed how grave her condition was. Struck by guilt, he took his ailing wife to

Ireland. During the crossing she threw herself from a water closet into the sea, from which she was rescued. They fled back home.

In the early , Thackeray had some success with two travel books,

The Paris Sketch Book and The Irish Sketch Book. Later in the decade, he achieved some notoriety with his Snob Papers, but the work that really established his fame was the novel Vanity Fair, which first appeared in serialized installments beginning in January 1847. Even before Vanity Fair completed its serial run,

Thackeray had become a celebrity, sought after by the very lords and ladies he satirized; they hailed him as the equal of Dickens.



He remained "at the top of the tree", as he put it, for the remaining decade and a half of his life, producing several large novels, notably Pendennis, The

Newcomes, and The History of Henry Esmond, despite various illnesses, including a near fatal one that struck him in 1849 in the middle of writing

Pendennis. Thackeray also gave lectures in London on the English humourists of the eighteenth century, and on the first four Hanoverian monarchs. The latter series was published in book form as The Four Georges.

In 1860, Thackeray became editor of the newly established Cornhill

Magazine, but was never comfortable as an editor, preferring to contribute to the magazine as a columnist, producing his Roundabout Papers for it.

His health worsened during the 1850s and he was plagued by the recurring stricture of the urethra that laid him up for days at a time. He also felt he had lost much of his creative impetus. He worsened matters by over-eating and drinking and avoiding exercise, though he enjoyed horseback riding and kept a horse. On

23 December 1863, after returning from dining out and before dressing for bed,

Thackeray suffered a stroke and was found dead on his bed in the morning. His death at the age of fifty-three was entirely unexpected, and shocked his family, friends, and reading public. An estimated 7000 people attended his funeral at

Kensington Gardens. He was buried on 29 December at Kensal Green Cemetery, and a memorial bust sculpted by Marochetti can be found in Westminster Abbey.

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Makepeace_Thackeray




Subject : Speaking IV

Class : 4th Semester of English Educational

Study Program

Topic : The Role of a Mother

Time Allocation : 2 x 50 minutes

I. General Instruction Objectives

At the end of the lesson, the students are able to perform a group discussion to achieve oral fluency and have confidence to communicate actively

II. Specific Instructional objectives:

At the end of the lesson, the students are able to:

1. Express their opinion orally about the role of a mother in a group discussion

based on the selected story.

2. Defend their opinion orally about the role of a mother in a group discussion

based on the selected story.

3. Interrupt other’s opinion orally about the role of a mother in a group discussion

based on the selected story.

4. Argue others’ opinion orally about the role of a mother in a group discussion

based on the selected story.

III. Material:

Taken from chapter 36 and 37 of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair



IV. Teaching and Learning Activities:

Kind of Activities Time Activity Alloc.

Pre-Teaching  Greeting 5’

 Listen to the teacher’s introduction about the selected chapter of Vanity Fair that had been given in the previous meeting

While-  Pre-Discussion

Teaching  The students are divided into groups of four 5’

 The teacher gives the topic based on the text 5’

 Each group identifies and organizes the topic 15’

 Discussion

 Each group discusses the topic by expressing, 35’ defending, interrupting, and arguing their opinion

 The teachers observes the discussion 5’

 Post-Discussion 5’

 Each group concludes their discussion

 Each group has to present the result of the 15’ discussion in front of the class.

 The teacher allows other groups to give comments or suggestions on the report

Post-Teaching  The teacher and the students draw conclusion on 5’ the role of a mother

V. Evaluation:

Students’ oral performance and participation



APPENDIX 4 Pre-discussion questions 1. Does your mother work? What does she do? 2. If yes, do you find any objections for your working mom? 3. Suppose that you are a mother, do you think you will be a housewife or a working mother? 4. Suppose that you are a husband, do you allow your wife to work? 5. Do you think that it is all right for a mother to take the father’s position as a head of the family?

Read the following paragraphs carefully. These paragraphs talk about how Becky, as a mother of a son, treats her family. Becky considers that to elevate her social status is as a long live job.

About the Little Rawdon, if nothing has been said all this while, it is The parting between Rebecca and the because he is hidden upstairs in a Little Rawdon did not cause either garret somewhere or has crawled party much pain. She had not, to say below into the kitchen for truth, seen much of the young companionship. His mother scarcely gentleman since his birth. After the ever took notice over him. He passed amiable fashion of French mothers, the days with his French bonne as he had placed him out at nurse in the long as the domestic remained in Mr. village in the neighbourhood of Crawley’s family, and when the Paris, where Little Rawdon passed Frenchwoman went away, the little the first months of his life, not fellow, howling in the loneliness of unhappily, with a numerous family the night, had compassion taken on of foster-brothers in wooden shoes. him by a housemaid, who took him His father would ride over many a out of his solitary nursery in to her time to see him here, and elder bed in the garret hard by, and Rawdon’ paternal heart glowed to comforted him. see him rosy and dirty, shouting Taken from Vanity Fair chapter 37, lustily, and happy in the making of page 380 mud-pies under the superintendence of the gardener’s wife, his nurse.

Taken from Vanity Fair chapter 36

The room was a low room, and once, when the child was not five year old, his father, who was tossing his wildly up in his arms, hit the poor little chap’s skull so violently against the ceiling that he almost dropped the child, terrified was he at the disaster. Rawdon minor had made up his face for a tremendous howl – the severity of the blow indeed authorized that indulgence; but just as he was going to begin, the father interposed. “For God’s sake, Rawdy, don’t wake mamma,” he cried. And the child looking in a very hard and piteous way at his father, bit his lips, clenched his hands, and didn’t cry a bit. Addapted from Vanity Fair chapter 37, page 381



1. After reading the above paragraphs, identify what kind of a mother Becky is. Discuss the answer among the group. Elaborate your answer by quoting sentences from above paragraphs to support your answer. ______

2. Having analyzed the characteristic of a mother from Becky, what do you think a role of a mother should be? Discuss the answer among the group. ______



Language Feature that can be used in the Group Discussion

Functions Language Used Pronunciation Gestures To prevent Please … I must Voice gets louder Hold up one page interruption and finish … and faster finish speaking Helping somebody I wonder if Amy Stress Amy; voice Smiling; eyes to begin speaking has an opinion rises towards end wide open about this …? of question What do you think Amy? Interrupting to Sorry, but I can’t Stress the negative Eye contact made disagree agree … with speaker I disagree with … Interrupting to What do you mean Stress on Leans forward obtain more by …? uncertain term; information voice falls at the end of question Supporting the I think Peter made Stress good Looks at Peter previous speaker a good point about … Not supporting the Unlike Peggy, I Stress Peggy Looks around the previous speaker think that group for support Adapted form Methodology in Language Teaching, 229

Teacher’s guide for evaluating the students’ contribution

Number of Contribution

Behavior Student Student Student Student A B C D 1. Total number of contributions made 2. Responding supportively 3. Responding aggressively 4. Introducing a new (relevant) point 5. Digressing from the topic Taken from Methodology in Language Teaching, 228



APPENDIX 5 W. M. Thackeray's Works

Contributions to Punch, 1843-1854

 The Book of Snobs  Miss Tickletoby's Lectures on English History  Papers by the Fat Contributor  The History of the Next French Revolution  A Little Dinner at Timmins's


 The Luck of , 1844  Mrs. Perkin's Ball, 1846  Vanity Fair, 1847  Pendennis, 1850  Henry Esmond, 1852  , 1853-55  The Virginians, 1857

Criticism and Reviews

 "Laman Blachard" (essay) originally appeared in Fraser's

Art Criticism

 Thackeray on Turner's Rain-Steam-Speed  Thackeray on Turner's The Fighting Temeraire

Caricature and Book Illustration

 Thackeray as Illustrator — the complete illustrations to Vanity Fair  A selection of Thackeray's other drawings





Chronology of Thackeray’s life

Born in Calcutta, India, the only son of Richmond Thackeray, an East India Company administrator, and Anne Becher Thackeray, the daughter 1811 of distinguished civil servants in India. Father dies, and WMT goes to England to live with his aunt, Mrs. 1816 Ritchie. His mother soon remarries. 1817 Attends school in Chiswick Mall; is unhappy there. 1822- Attends Charterhouse School at Smithfield. 1828 1828 Stepfather prepares him for entrance to Cambridge. 1829- Enters Trinity College, Cambridge; leaves without a degree; travels on 1830 Continent; meets Goethe. Studies law at Middle Temple, London, but gives it up when he inherits 1831- £20,000. Buys the National Standard, a newspaper, and goes to Paris as 1833 its correspondent; it fails. 1834- Studies art in Paris and becomes a caricaturist. Contributes to Fraser's 1835 Magazine. Paris correspondent of stepfather's newspaper, The Constitutional. 1836 Marries a penniless Irish girl, Isabella Gethen Creagh Shawe, daughter of Colonel Matthew Shawe. Speculates and gambles away his inheritance. Hack writer in London; publishes in , Fraser's Magazine, The 1837 New Monthly Magazine, and Punch. Thackeray's wife, who survives her husband by three decades, goes 1840 insane. His two daughters live with his grandmother in Paris. 1842 Visits Ireland and stays with the novelist Lever. Publishes The Irish Sketchbook, the first work to appear under his own 1843 name. 1844 Travels in Far East Publishes From Cornhill to Cairo. Establishes a home for his daughters, 1846 his grandmother, and himself at 13 Young Street in Kensington. Becomes emotionally attached to Cambridge friend's wife, Mrs. Henry Brookfield. 1847- Serializes Vanity Fair (published 1848) 1848 Publishes The Book of Snobs, a collection of portraits that appeared in 1848 Punch. 1848- Publishes The History of Pendennis.



1850 1851 Ends relationship with Mrs. Brookfield at husband's insistence. 1852 Publishes The History of Henry Esmond. 1852- Lecture tour of the on "The English Humorists of the 18th 1853 Century." 1853- Publishes The Newcomes, a sequel to The History of Pendennis. 1855 Second U. S. lecture tour. Publishes , his 1855- Christmas book, and Miscellanies, a four volume-collection of early 1857 writings. Publishes The Virginians, sequel to Henry Esmond; Publishes The 1857- Adventures of Philip on His Way Through the World, the last of his 1862 Arthur Pendennis trilogy; and Publishes Lovel the Widower. 1861- Founds and edits the Cornhill Magazine. 1862 Dies on Christmas Eve in his new home at Palace Gardens of a cerebral 1863 hemorrage. Leaves an unfinished novel, Denis Duval. Buried at Kensal Green.




Lady Sir Pitt Rose Mr. Bute Mrs. Bute Miss Crawley Crawley Crawley Crawley Crawley

Lady Pitt Rawdon Rebecca Violet Rosalind James Jane Crawley Jr. Crawley Sharp

Pitt Matilda Rawdy Binkie