Vanity Fair Readalong: Mid-way Point

Friday, March 1, 2013

We’ve made it to the halfway point! I know it’s been a struggle for some, but I hope the story has hooked you by now. Everybody can check in at Trish’s official post here.

Here are a few of my thoughts so far, there will be spoiler for the first half of the book, but nothing after the 34th chapter.

There are a ton of tedious details, but the plot has definitely made it worth while for me. I can’t believe how much Becky Sharp reminds me of Scarlett from Gone with the Wind. Mabel noted on twitter that Gone with the Wind was written before the author read Vanity Fair. If that’s true the similarities are truly amazing! 

Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley have a very Scarlett / Melanie relationship, though I think I like GWTW's Melanie more than Amelia, she's a stronger person. Both women were certainly shaped by what they expected from the world. Becky had no one, so she became sneaky and manipulative. Her ambition made her cold to others. Amelia on the other hand grew up being loved and was promised to a man from childhood. She expected to be loved and cared for and when her father went bankrupt much of that went out the window.

I'm excited to find out the eventual fate for both characters.

Here are a few scenes that really stand out in my memory:

- That opening scene, where Amelia and Becky are leaving Miss Pinkerton's Academy for Young Ladies and Becky chucks the book out the window. I laughed so hard. In one quick motion she made it clear that she needs no one’s pity. What a spunky character! We get such a good idea of who she is with that brief introduction.

- The aftermath of Joseph Sedley’s drunken declaration of love for Becky. It showed us Joseph’s cowardice and how easily he was to manipulate. It also showed us that Captain George Osborne was an absolute snob at heart. It actually reminded me a tiny bit of Mr. Darcy’s actions with Bingley.

- When Becky turns down baronet Sir Pitt Crawley’s proposal and we find out she’s secretly married to his son, Rawdon Crawley! What!!! Becky was working as a governess for him and all of a sudden there’s this amazing opportunity for wealth and status, everything she wants… but she’s already married!

- George Osborne standing up for Amelia in front of his father and sisters. For a second we think he might be a good guy, then he marries her and quickly looses interest. He married her more out of a momentary rebellion than out of love. Then he and Becky begin their flirtation and he truly hurts Amelia.

- We learn that George Osborne died during the Battle of Waterloo and Amelia and Becky are both stuck in Brussels as the panic begins to spread.

- When Amelia confronted Becky for trying to steal her husband and ruin their marriage. Becky tried to act all sweet and innocent, but she’s not fooling anyone!

- Poor William Dobbin, he’s such a sweet character! He does whatever he thinks might make Amelia happy though she doesn’t realize it. I think that man deserves some happiness.

So onward into the second half of the book. I’m hoping Dobbin gets some love and Becky gets her just desserts. Keep reading everybody and come back here on March 15th to share your final thoughts on the book!


Jeanne said...

The delightful thing about Becky is that she's always only doing what she's learned from watching Amelia and the other members of the "upper" class. She is a mirror for them, but can they see that?

JoAnn said...

I'm fascinated with the Vanity Fair/Gone with the Wind similarities and may finally read GWTW this summer.

Sarah said...

Now that Osborne is worm food, I wonder if Dobbin can finally make him move on Amelia? And if she'll see that he's a good guy who will actually be sweet and devoted and if she'll start to show him some more appreciation?

So excited to read on!

Selah said...

When you're done, I'd recommend watching the 1998 BBC version:
Every scene you mentioned here was so well done!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I'm really looking forward to the second half as well. Except for the odd turn back to the Crawleys (Butte's kiddos and Pitt's wedding) I feel like the plot is really beginning to propel into motion. I was SHOCKED when we found out about Becky's marriage to Rawdon and some of the things that George did were absolutely appalling.

I'm glad that Selah mentioned a BBC version of the movie--I was only aware of the Reese Witherspoon version.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Jeanne - Ha, I don't think any of them see it. They all find her so charming until she crosses them.

JoAnn - I know! I'm looking forward to re-reading it. I think it will be interesting to read it after finishing Vanity Fair.

Sarah - I hope so! Stupid Osborne, he was such a jerk!

Selah - Thank you! That will absolutely be on my must list when I finish the book. I was hoping there was a better adaptation than the Witherspoon movie.

Trish - I felt like it really started to pick up speed. George was seriously awful to his wife!

Selah said...

No problem! I watched it through Netflix (disc only) but my local library has it too. I especially enjoyed the actor who played Sir Pitt Crawley. You'll recognize him.

Brooke said...

Jeanne's comment about Becky being a mirror of the society above her is so beautifully observant and accurate. I'd say she's more of a shattered mirror, though. All I hope for the second half is more catfighting between Becky/Amelia and for Dobbin's story to end well!

Kristi said...

I'm going to be lazy and skip the halfway post, but I'm really enjoying this. Becky Sharp needs a slap. I totally understand that as an orphan she had to figure out how to survive so marriage was pretty important. That said, she is so incredibly terrible. So fake to everyone. I wanted to cheer when Amelia confronted her about her flirtation with George. She deserved to be called out.

I so hope something good happens for Dobbins. He's so sweet. I'm pretty sure things don't end well for Becky. She's never satisfied with what she has and I'm pretty sure that will backfire. Thanks for hosting. I can't wait to finish.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Brooke - Yes! She's definitely a shattered mirror. She's trying to mimic their behavior, but it comes across wrong. She never quite gets it right and they never accept her.

Kristi - I was thrilled when Amelia confronted her. She gets away with so much manipulation!