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Free Study Guide-Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray-Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

Chapter 2 - In which Miss Sharp and Miss Sedley prepare to open the campaign.

Summary

Becky is wickedly satisfied with the heroic act she has just performed. She tells Amelia that she was treated with contempt and compelled to teach French at the mall and that she was glad to bid it goodbye.

Amelia, excitedly, shows Becky around her house and gifts her a Cashmere shawl (which her brother had brought for her from India), besides a lot of other things. The knowledge that Amelia’s brother, Joseph Sedley is rich and unmarried fills hope into Becky’s heart and she is determined to make an attempt to woo him.


Notes

The narrator establishes the character of Becky Sharp, in this part. Evident from her name (Sharp), Becky is seen to be wicked, selfish, pretentious, self assertive and rude. Her large green eyes symbolize her envious nature. She regards it a great wrong towards her, that ladies less intelligent and less accomplished than her should have every comfort in life. She was the daughter of a poor artist who gave lessons at Miss Pinkerton’s academy. After his death, Becky was to stay at the academy and teach French, which she had well acquired from her mother.

When Becky finally gets to Chiswick Mall, she is disgusted with the manner in which she is treated. Everybody, besides Amelia, look down upon her and Becky returns their dislike with even more dislike.

Becky Sharp, at this point, seems to be the victim of society’s prejudice. Nobody wishes to befriend her because she comes from a poor origin. She is insulted, ridiculed, hated, and treated like a servant by the other ladies, including Miss Pinkerton. This ill treatment makes Becky hunger after respectability and she is ready to give all she has to achieve it. That is why the information of Jos Sedley being single is viewed as a wonderful opportunity to stretch out for it.

Though the word ‘campaign’ in the title of the chapter seems to be martial, it is actually marital.

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