What other important events were happening in England, France and elsewhere in the year this novel was published?
What would the title have suggested to its first readers? In what tone would they have expected the novel’s subjects to be treated?
What seems the significance of the subtitle, “A novel without a hero”? Will this be entirely correct, and if so, why? (novel does seem to have a villainess) How may this claim affect the reader? (waits to see if it’s true)
The narrator at one point claims that the character portrayed on the title page is his image. Can this be true? What is implied by his claim?
What is added to the novel by the illustrations throughout? Does it affect the reader’s understanding of the novel to know that the illustrations were provided by the author?
The first illustration presents “The letter before Waterloo”? What can the viewer tell about the characters s/he will encounter from this picture?
What are some suggestions inherent in the metaphor of the novel as a stage performance? What role does it give to the author? The characters?
What tone does the narrator predict that he will adopt, and why? As you look back, do you think he has carried out this intention? What is the effect of comparing each of his characters to dolls, including the Wicked Nobleman? (characters will represent types)
What role do we expect this narrator to play in the novel? Is this borne out by the text which follows?
NUMBER 1 Chapter 1: Chiswick Mall
What do we learn about Miss Pinkerton’s establishment and the character of its proprietress and her sister? What seems to be Thackeray’s view of the education offered to young women of the time?
What do we learn about the divergent characters of Amelia Sedley and Rebecca Sharp? Do their names carry any linguistic or literary associations?
To what extent is the narrator satirizing the attachments of schoolgirls and the emotions encouraged by a young ladies academy?
What seems the narrator’s judgment of Amelia? Is the epithet “a dear little creature” unmixed praise? Why do you think he explicitly states that “she is not a heroine”? (14) Which of her traits does he emphasize? (sentimentality, kindness, innocence, unsuspiciousness)
How are the departures of the two young women contrasted? How has the academy prepared, or failed to prepare, the female protagonists for their future lives?
How does the narrator make the point that his sphere of interest is ordinary middle-class life? (satirizes the silverfork novel by representing his characters as lords and ladies)
Chapters 2: In Which Miss Sharp and Miss Sedley Prepare to Open the Campaign
What do we learn of Becky’s farewell to the Miss Pinkertons? Her behavior to others?
What do you make of the Rebecca’s gesture of tossing the book from the carriage?
(even unpleasant to Miss Jemima, who had tried to please her)
What comments does she make to Amelia as they ride away? (wishes revenge) How does the narrator respond?
What do we learn of her past? What had been her father’s character? (painter abusive to family) Her mother’s nationality and occupation? (French opera singer)
What motivates Becky’s first intended conquest? (learns of Amelia’s wealthy unmarried brother)
Chapter 3: Rebecca is in Presence of the Enemy
Who constitutes the “enemy”? (the Sedley family)
How does Rebecca win the goodwill of other members of the Sedley household? What are some of Rebecca’s lies/forms of deceit? (pretends to like curry)
What do we learn of Joseph Sedley’s social life? The internal relations of the Sedley family?
Chapter 4: The Green Silk Purse
What allusions are embedded in this chapter title? Is it humorous?
How do the other Sedleys respond to the prospect that Joseph might propose to Becky? What is revealed of the characters of each by their responses?
What is George Osborne’s response to the prospect of Rebecca as sister-in-law? Amelia Sedley’s?
What means does Rebecca use to attract Joe Sedley’s affections? (her song about lonely orphan on wasted moor, etc.)
What do we learn of Mr. Sedley Sr.’s character? What views does he hold on race? Are these views shared by others in his circle?
Do you think Thackeray is satirizing racist attitudes, or does he implicitly normalize them? Or both?
What is amusing about the scene in which Joseph Sedley is asked to help Rebecca with her netting?
What characterizes the narrator’s account of standard social amenities and platitudes? Do they bear up well under scrutiny?
NUMBER 2 Chapter 5: Dobbin of Ours
What are some implications of this chapter title? Why “of Ours”? (his attachment is taken for granted)
What had been Dobbin’s early traits and his background? (father a grocer, loves his mother) What are his physical characteristics? (clumsy)
What treatment does he receive at school, and on what grounds? (all mock him because of his allegedly lower social station and slight lisp) What attitude toward him is expressed by young Osborne? (contempt)
What do we learn about the fagging system, and the boys’ response to the bully Cuff?
What act on Dobbins’ part gains Osborne’s affection?
What seems to be Thackeray’s view of the boys’ public schools of the day? Of the characters of its graduates? (fickle, power-worshiping)
How does George describe Dobbin’s fight against Cuff in his letter to his father, and what does this reveal about his character? (narcissistic)
At what subject does Dobbin excel? Which subject attracts little interest? Can this be explained on the basis of his background? (father a successful merchant)
Chapter 6: Vauxhall
What does the narrator tell us in his discourse on method? What parody does he give of alternate novel forms--the high society novel and the gothic horror story?
What causes Rebecca’s plans to entrap Joseph Sedley to fail? Who may be partially responsible for his bad behavior, and with what motive? (George)
Who steps in to help the situation, and how has he been treated by the foursome? (entirely neglected)
What features of the servant’s speech are emphasized? (dialect)
What attitudes do George and Rebecca feel toward one another? What seems revealed by the fact that they alone understand each other’s manipulations?
What sickness results from Joseph’s overindulgence, and what decision does he take upon recovery? (decamps to Scotland)
Are we expected to feel sympathy for Rebecca because of her lower class position? Are there other less-privileged characters in the novel who do behave rightly?
What account of Rebecca do the servants give after her departure? Are their views significant? Does Amelia’s defense entirely exonerate her?
What indirect observation is made on the uncertain position of Victorian governesses? (servant remarks that Rebecca considers herself above them although not paid more, a form of income/status incongruity)
Whom does Becky blame for Joseph’s departure, and is she largely correct?
Chapter 7: Crawley of Queen’s Crawley
What tone is used in describing the history and pedigree of the Crawley family? Which features receive special parody?
What are some unexpected qualities of Mr. Pitt Crawley? (can’t spell, crude, extremely tight-fisted, harsh to his tenants and dependents, quarrelsome at law) Is he appropriately named? (name suggests pitt bulls, crawling)
What had happened to his first wife? Who was their son and what are some of his traits? What had been the background of his second wife, and how is she treated?
NUMBER 3 Chapter 8: Private and Confidential
What is parodied by the title of this chapter, and to what does it refer?
What are some of the contents of Becky’s letter to Amelia? (self-pitying, condescending, careful to note sources and trappings of wealth)
How does Sir Crawley treat his horses, and with what results? What kind of landlord is he? (rackrents) How are animals treated on the estate?
What are Rebecca’s view of Lady Crawley? Does she sympathize with a mistreated woman?
On what grounds does the narrator defend his subject matter? What does he claim is his relation to his characters (hates the villains), and does this entirely convince you?
What role is played by servants throughout the novel? Are they given respectful treatment? Are they employed solely to give sharp commentary on their employers and alleged superiors?
Chapter 9: Family Portraits
What kind of husband is Sir Crawley? (horrible) What are the social circumstances of Rose Crawley’s life? (no one will visit)
What characterizes the behavior of Sir Pitt Jr.? (self-righteous, vain, fashionable in manner)
What forms of religion and politics does he espouse? What does the narrator think of these? What subculture of the period is Thackeray satirizing? (Independent, i. e., Dissenting in religion; reformist or philanthropic in politics)
What jokes are made about “rotten boroughs”? What benefit does Sir Pitt gain from his?
What do we learn about Sir Pitt’s financial management? (atrocious) What opinion does the narrator give of him?
What motivates the attentions showered on Miss Crawley, his sister? (desire for her wealth)
Chapter 10 Miss Sharp Begins to Make Friends
How does Rebecca adapt to the Pitt Crawley home? (makes a friend of Sir Pitt) What does she tell the Crawleys about her own antecedents? (fake pedigree)
What is her opinion of Amelia?
What kind of governess is Rebecca? (fails to instruct)
How is Mr. Crawley Jr., the Rector, described? Miss Crawley the aunt? Rawdon?
Chapter 11 Acadian Simplicity
What sarcastic points are made by the chapter title? How does the Rev. Bute Crawley comport himself? (socializes throughout county) Who writes his sermons?
What seems to be the narrator’s attitude toward his clerical conduct?
What arouses Mrs. Crawley’s suspicions regarding Rebecca, and whom does she write for information?
What attitudes are expressed in Miss Pinkerton’s letter? Does this cattiness and snobbery cause the reader to feel sympathy for Rebecca? (we know she will survive)
What proposal of marriage does Rebecca refuse? (country surgeon)
What use is served by Rebecca’s epistolary “friendship” with Amelia? (we learn her point of view)
What effect on the family’s behavior is caused by visits from Miss Crawley? (all behave cordially to one another in her presence)
What do the servants think of Rawley? (like him--kindest of family) What ominous background fact do we learn about Rawley? (an attempt has been made to arrest him for debt)
What causes his aunt to be fond of him? (he’s not pious) How does his brother characterize him? (a drunkard and gambler, has killed a man, engaged in a duel) Is his description accurate?
How does Rebecca entertain Miss Crawley? (malicious gossip, caricature of family members)
What false distinctions does Miss Crawley claim not to respect? (gradations of rank) Does the reader expect that this claim will be tested?
NUMBER 4 Chapter 12 Quite a Sentimental Chapter
How do George’s sisters react to Amelia, and on what grounds?
How does George treat his fiancée? (neglects her) What kind of letters does she write him?
Why does the narrator specifically remind us that she is not a heroine? Do you think his claim is sincere? (that is, will she be to some extent a heroine, or if not, why not?)
Chapter 13 Sentimental and Otherwise
To what does the title refer? What constitutes the “otherwise”?
How does George respond to Amelia’s frequent letters? (casually, burns one) Who looks on this with distress?
When Dobbin urges George to better behavior, how does George respond? (with hostility) What more do we learn of their relationship? (he has borrowed from Dobbin)
For what purpose does Dobbin give George additional money, and what does he in fact do with it? (instead of purchasing a gift for Amelia, chooses a diamond pin for himself)
What hints does the narrator give of George’s future fate? (metaphor of fallen tree, once stout timber)
When George visits his father to ask for money, what do they discuss? What life does Mr. Osborne wish his son to live? (associating with wealthier and more titled)
How does Mr. Osborne respond to his son’s debts? (angry) Against what does he advise him and what is George’s response? (gambling) Do father and son confide in one another?
What does Mr. Osborne think about a possible alliance between his son and Amelia? (she is too low in station; wishes his son to marry into the nobility)
How does George behave toward Amelia after this conversation? (kinder and more attentive) What is his motive? (nostalgia; thinks he may be forced to renounce her)
Chapter 14: Miss Crawley at Home
What relationship does Rebecca establish with Miss Crawley? Who becomes attached to her during this period? (Rawdon)
Who suggests to Rawdon that his father is fond of Rebecca? What is her motive? (Mrs. Bute Crawley)
Under what circumstances have Rawdon and George been acquainted? (Rawdon has beaten him at gambling)
How do George and Rebecca respond to one another and how is this displayed? (mutual dislike, subterranean cattiness in conversation)
Is Miss Crawley a good patient? (not at all) What is her mental condition as she nears death? (lonely, angry)
What other death occurs at this time? Does Sir Pitt attend his wife in her last hours? (no, attended only by her son)
What startling event concludes this chapter? (Sir Pitt proposes!) What reasons does he give for wanting her presence? (his accounts are out of order; he needs her to manage his affairs)
With what equally startling news does Rebecca respond? (she is already married)
What attitudes seem revealed in her response to Sir Pitt’s offer? (would have been glad to take it)
NUMBER 5 Chapter 15: In Which Rebecca’s Husband Appears for a Short Time
What irony is incorporated in this chapter title? Why won’t we see him for a long time?
Under what circumstances does Rebecca elope? (writes letter under assumed name letting Rawdon know when they will be unobserved)
Why does Rebecca delay in confessing whom she has married? What has been her motive for her choice of husband?
Who has overheard Sir Pitt’s proposal? (servants) What is their motive for telling their mistress, and how does she respond?
Chapter 16: The Letter on the Pincushion
What is Rawdon’s attitude toward Rebecca? (admires her)
What does he do to arrange their wedding? (makes purchases)
What does the narrator think might have prevented Miss Crawley’s wrath?
What letter does Rebecca leave for Briggs? Who inopportunely arrives at this moment and attempt to interfere in the young couple’s prospects? (Mrs. Bute Crawley)
How does Sir Pitt respond to the news of Rebecca’s marriage to his son? (frenzied, throws her possessions about)
What do the young couple plan to do should Rawdon not inherit?
What do you make of the final reference to Sampson and Delilah?
Chapter 17: How Captain Dobbin Bought a Piano
What do we learn of George’s behavior when with his fellow male soldiers? (gambles foolishly)
How are we apprised of the change in the Sedley fortunes? (sale at Sedley home) Why do you think Thackeray gives us the news indirectly?
How does Dobbin respond to the news that Amelia’s piano is to be sold? (purchases it)
Who else makes a purchase, and of what? (Rawdon and Becky purchase a picture of a man on an elephant)
Is Captain Crawley a good husband? (fond of wife, admires her) What is her view of him? (lacks intelligence)
What problems appear on the horizon? (his debts)
What does Rawdon predict will be George’s response to Mr. Sedley’s bankruptcy? (will wish to be free of his engagement) Is he correct?
Chapter 18 Who Played on the Piano Captain Dobbin Bought?
How does Mrs. Sedley respond to the news of their loss? (with love and comfort)
What unpleasant knowledge has come to Amelia, and why is she alone with her anxieties? (realizes that George is untrustworthy; cannot speak to anyone about her fears)
What events are happening concurrently in the wider world?
How does John Osborne behave towards his former benefactor (Mr. Sedley)? (with anger and resentment)
Who tells Amelia that she must break off her engagement? (John Osborne)
Does the narrator evince respect for her grief?
How do Dobbin’s sisters respond to the news of the Sedleys’ losses? Who defends Amelia against their criticisms? (Dobbin)
What is the tone of the letter Amelia writes George to accompany the return of his tokens and gifts? (agonized) How does he respond? (is briefly disheartened but indecisive)
Who has returned her piano to her, and to whom does she ascribe this gift? Why doesn’t Dobbin claim credit for his generous act?
When Dobbin visits the Sedley family, in what condition does he find Amelia? (breaking down from grief)
NUMBER 6 Chapter 19 Miss Crawley at Nurse
What views of Rebecca does Mrs. Bute convey to Miss Crawley, and with what intention?
What message does Miss Crawley send to her nephew? (refuses to speak to him) Will she soften? (no)
Chapter 20 In Which Captain Dobbin Acts as the Messenger of Hymen
What do you make of the narrator’s claim that Amelia has become a slave?
What European event has caused Mr. Sedley’s bankruptcy? (Napoleon’s successes have limited British trade)
What is Dobbin’s motive for urging his friend to behave well by Amelia? (fears she will die?)
What attitude does George take toward the visiting Caribbean woman? (laughs at her black skin)
What had been Miss Schwarz’s relationship with Amelia? (had been fond of her) Is Miss Schwarz presented favorably?
What effect does George’s reappearance have on Amelia? (is restored to happiness) What emotions does she feel toward Dobbin? (fails to notice him)
Chapter 21 A Quarrel about an Heiress
Why does John Osborne want his son to marry a black heiress? Is he in financial straits? (no)
On what grounds does George decline? Are his remarks racist? (yes) Does Thackeray seem to disapprove? (disapproves of the cynical behavior toward the heiress; seems to find their attitudes themselves reasonable)
What attitudes on her part engage his better feelings? (she had been attached to Amelia)
Under what circumstances does George defend Amelia? (his finest hour) Does this surprise you?
Chapter 22 A Marriage and Part of a Honeymoon
What do you make of the narrator’s remark that Dobbin has told him the incident described? Is this claim to personal knowledge rather sudden?
What is Dobbin’s emotional response after witnessing the wedding of George and Amelia? (lonely, longs to see Amelia) Is this the first time that we have been privy to his deepest emotions?
What foursome continues to socialize? (Rawdon and Becky, George and Amelia)
Where is the regiment ordered to go? (Belgium)
NUMBER 7 Chapter 23 Captain Dobbin Proceeds on his Canvass
What actions does Dobbin take in order to aid Amelia and George’s case? (strives to talk with all those who might be unsympathetic)
How does he attempt to include George’s sisters to favor his case? What do we learn about the attitude of one of the latter toward him? (wants to marry him) Why do you think this detail was included? (shows Dobbin’s desirability)
Is he successful in gaining her support? (she becomes at least somewhat less unsympathetic on the surface)
What is his intention of telling her that the marriage has occurred? (she will tell George’s father)
Chapter 24 In Which Mr. Osborne Takes Down the Family Bible
What symbolic act does Mr. Osborne perform? (removes George’s name from family bible) How has his own anger and grief affected him? (is shaken)
Are his motives for disinheriting his son commendable? (is angry because his son has married a good-tempered and loving woman)
Does Dobbin visit Miss Osborne again as promised? (no, too busy with departure)
How is Dobbin regarded within his regiment? (esteemed, considered their most competent and intelligent soldier) What roles does he fulfill toward others? (helpful and encouraging; teaches small boy to use his sword)
Chapter 25 In Which All the Principal Personages Think Fit to Leave Brighton
On what grounds does Mr. Osborne give 2000 pounds to his son? (in lieu of an inheritance from him, he gives him what he had inherited from his mother)
What does this immediate gift imply? (he will leave him nothing)
What is his immediate reaction on receiving his father’s letter? (blames Dobbin for his marriage!)
What should George do with this money in the face of the possibility of his impending death? (should preserve it carefully for his wife, who will have no income should he die) Who reminds him of the value of this legacy? (Dobbin)
What is revealed by George’s claim that he cannot live on his salary plus two thousand pounds? (an unrealistic spendthrift)
How does Amelia respond to the news of his loss of an inheritance from his father? (concerned only to be with him)
What decision does she make when George is ordered to the mainland? (will accompany him)
To whom must George repay debts before leaving? (Rawdon)
What relief will leaving his native land bring to Rawdon? (is fleeing his debts)
For what does Rebecca reproach Rawdon? (hasn’t been bolder when meeting his aunt again) What is his response? (he is hurt)
What complaints does Miss Crawley make on her deathbed? (they all want her money)
How much does she give Rawdon? (20 pounds, far below his expectations)
What are we to make of a world in which young men make no attempt to live on their incomes and exist in permanent debt?
NUMBER 8 Chapter 26 Between London and Chatham
What emotions does Amelia experience after nine days of marriage? (disillusioned and unhappy; knows that George is unworthy and unloving)
Whose presence does she fear, and why? (Rebecca attracts her husband)
When George collects his two thousand pound legacy, what comment is made by the clerk? (he will be in gaol in two years--he means that George will be imprisoned for debt)
Who is Frederick Bullock, and what response does he have to the behavior of his prospective brother-in-law? Whom does he tell of George’s actions? (Mr. Osborne)
Chapter 27 In Which Amelia Joins Her Regiment
What purpose is served by the introduction of Mrs. O’Dowd? What are her virtues and foibles? Are these used for contrast with the other female characters?
How do his fellow soldiers respond to George’s wife? (admiring) during this period? What may prompt Captain Dobbin to remain awake and brooding throughout the night? (battle about to break out, Amelia unloved)
Chapter 28 In Which Amelia Invades the Low Countries
What is unexpected about this title? (the British army had invaded the Low Countries)
What comment does the narrator make about himself? (he had visited scene of battle) Is this the first time he has introduced himself? (earlier remarked that Dobbin had told him something, asserting that the novel is essentially a case of indirect narration)
What are some possibly ominous features of the narrator’s description? (English invaders prosperous, country rich) According to his account, were the English soldiers well-behaved invaders? (helped peasants with their tasks)
What account does he give of the atmosphere directly before the battle? (gay, excited, frivolous) What concerns preoccupy the novel’s characters?
What part in all this is played by Jos Sedley? (hanger-on, pretends to military rank)
What ironic comments on the political state of Europe are made by the narrator? What effect did Napoleon’s escape from Elba have upon potentially warring nations?
How does George spend his time during this period? (chases after the Bareacres, aristocrats who distain him)
How does George behave toward Mrs. O’Dowd? (draws her out to make fun of her) Towards his wife? (bored)
What familiar couple arrives in Brussels at this time? How does Amelia respond to the news of their arrival?
Chapter 29 Brussels
On what terms does the acquaintance of the young couple develop? What unwise behaviors does George engage in? (gambles and loses to Rawdon, flirts with Rebecca)
Who are Rebecca’s admirers at the opera? (a general and George) What motivates her to speak to Amelia? (to increase general’s jealousy, “lust and fury, rage and hatred”)
What has the latter done for Rebecca and her husband, and how are we to interpret this choice? (lives with them, presumably an affair or near-affair)
What is Dobbin’s response to Rebecca? (a destructive hypocrite) Is he the sole character who dislikes her? (servants do also)
What causes some estrangement between Dobbin and George? (he suggests that George give up gambling)
How does Amelia react to forced social occasions with the Crawleys? What unexpected admission does Becky make to George? (didn’t care for either him or Amelia)
Is Amelia aware of her husband’s evasions and deceits? (yes)
What sinister events occur at the final ball before the battle? (Amelia left alone; Rebecca condescends to her; George passes note to Rebecca)
In what mood does George leave the ball? (elation) In what unwise behavior does he engage? (drinks to excess in what will be the night before battle) What news does Dobbin convey to him?
In what state is Amelia awaiting him? What reflections occur to him as he bids farewell?
NUMBER 9 Chapter 30 “The Girl I Left Behind Me”
What is the significance of the chapter’s title? How are the different leavetakings contrasted--of the Osbornes, Mrs. Dowd and her husband, Rawdon with his wife?
What good traits does Rawdon reveal as he plans for Becky’s welfare should he die? What types of possessions does he leave her? (needless and extravagant)
Is she anxious at his departure? How much does she believe their/her possessions are worth? (six or seven hundred pounds)
How does Amelia respond to the news that her husband must leave for war?
On what errand does Dobbin visit Joe Sedley? (to remind him of his duty to his sister) Is he reassured? Will Joe in fact help Amelia in her hour of need?
With what emotions does George leave for war? (excited) What remarks does the narrator make on the romance of soldiering? Is he sarcastic?
Chapter 31 In Which Jos Sedley Takes Care of His Sister
How are we to interpret this chapter title in view of its actual contents? (ironic)
What is revealed by the reaction of Jos and his valet to George’s departure? (he had behaved badly to both)
How does Jos’s servant view the chances of the impending battle? (hopes and expects English will lose and he will inherit his master’s possessions)
What general remarks does the narrator make on the topic of servants?
What rumors prompt Jos to plan his flight? Is this a historically accurate detail? (yes)
What advances does Rebecca make to him at this juncture, and what may she have in mind? (wishes either to sell him horses or to obtain a means of escape)
What accurate accusations does Amelia make when visited by Rebecca? (accuses her of attempting to alienate the latter’s affections)
Is her firmness at this juncture unexpected? Does it alter slightly the reader’s opinion of her? (she is blunt, perceptive, direct) How does Rebecca respond? (“she knows nothing”)
What alarming signs does Amelia show of the grief these events have caused her? (seems to be losing her reason) Who visits her in her extremity to offer help? (Mrs. O’Dowd)
With what ominous sound does the chapter end? (sound of cannon)
Chapter 32 In Which Jos Sedley Takes Flight, and the War is Brought to a Close
Who brings false rumors to the Sedley household? (lover of Amelia’s servant)
Why does Jos shave off his moustache? Why is this considered worth mention?
How does Becky respond when the Countess, Lady Bareacres wishes to purchase one of her horses, and what is given as her motive?
To whom does she finally sell her horses, and at what price? (enough to provide a pension for her in later life)
What prevents Jos’s departure? (news of victory)
Who are the first persons to arrive from the battlefield? (wounded) Who do they include? (Tim Stubbles has been shot) How have George and Dobbin reacted to his injury? (George kills the man who had wounded him and Dobbin carries him to safety)
What reason do the inhabitants of Brussels have to fear for the future? (city endangered)
How do the thoughts of Rawdon and Becky differ as they part? (he thinks of her sadly, she is little affected and begins to plan for possibility of single life)
What remarks does the narrator make on the ongoing French-English rivalry? Does he see a purpose in England’s wars? Does he blame one side more than another? (no)
How is the death of George described? Is this an effective end to a section?
NUMBER 10 Chapter 33 In Which Miss Crawley’s Relations Are Very Anxious About Her
What do we learn about Rawdon’s letters, and how does Miss Crawley receive them? (enjoys them, although she knows they are composed by Becky)
What do we learn about Rawdon’s professional life? (has been promoted to Lt. Colonel)
What behavior is exhibited by Mrs. Bute Crawley, and with what result? (Miss Crawley dislikes her) By Sir Pitt? (dissolute)
What marital tie does the younger Pitt Crawley contract? What seems the narrator’s attitude toward Lady Southdown’s religious and missionary activities?
Chapter 34 James Crawley’s Pipe Is Put Out
Who is James Crawley, and with what motives does he visit his great aunt? What behavior causes his attempts at ingratiation to fail? (drinks excessively, smokes, can only talk of sports and food)
Does he seem a likely son for the Bute Crawleys?
What have been Becky and Rawdon’s activities in Paris? Whose name has Rebecca used to improve her social position, and how does Miss Crawley learn of this?
Who finally inherits Miss Crawley’s money? In what house do they reside? (had lived with her and now own house)
Chapter 35 Widow and Mother
How do members of the Osborne family respond to news of the death of George? Who seems especially affected? Is the reader encouraged to feel sympathy for him? (a mixed character--commits wrongs but also feels sorrow)
What is Mr. Osborne’s attitude toward his widowed daughter-in-law and grandson? (angry at her and takes no interest)
Why does Thackeray include the detail of the construction of the funeral monument? (displaces emotion on public display)
How has William Dobbin’s status changed? (has been promoted) What final services had he performed for his friend? (has recovered his body and arranged for his burial)
Under what circumstances does Mr. Osborne encounter Amelia, and with what result? (hates her, Dobbin recognizes him and speaks)
What helpful services for Amelia has Dobbin performed? (pays for her return, helps with her removal)
What role does he come to play in her and little George’s life? (godfather, frequent visitor, purchaser of toys and other gifts)
What is Amelia’s mental state after her husband’s death? (nearly loses her mind, at edge of death)
Under what circumstances does Dobbin leave Amelia and London? (he is stationed in India) What farewell does she give him? (kisses him goodbye, speaks only of her son)
Is this an appropriate ending for a section?
NUMBER 11 Chapter 36 How To Live Well On Nothing A-Year
What separation begins to occur between Rawdon and his wife? (She rises in society while he stays home.)
What causes other couples to be suspicious of their company? (he plays cards and wins, she socializes)
Why does Becky encourage her husband to retire with half salary? (thinks he can do better)
In the end, what does he inherit from Miss Crawley? (100 pounds) Does Rebecca think he might have obtained a better outcome?
What important service does she perform on his behalf in London? (manages to get his debts dissolved for much smaller than face amounts) Would a ten percent payment have been expected?
How does she behave toward their son? (neglects him)
Chapter 37 The Subject Continued
What are some ways in which Becky and her husband are able to reduce expenses? (live rent free on premises of former family servant)
How do other women respond to Rebecca? (don’t wish to socialize with her)
What hopes does Rebecca have of a future relationship with Lady Jane? (hopes the latter will sponsor her in London society)
What relationship does she begin to establish with Lord Steyne? What do you make of the jokes about the sheepdog, and who becomes the sheepdog?
What is Rawdon’s relationship with his son? (attached to him, an excellent father)
What occurs when Rawdon meets Mr. Sedley with little George?
Chapter 38 A Family in a Very Small Way
Who provides the Sedley family income? (Jos gives them 120 pounds a year)
Over what do Amelia and her mother quarrel? (over giving elixir to little George) What does this quarrel reveal about Amelia? Medically, who is in the right? (Amelia)
Who proposes to Amelia, and how does she respond? (Rev. Binney) What is his motive? (attracted by her sweetness)
What do we learn about George’s finances at death? (had left only 100 pounds out of the 2000 he inherited) Under what circumstances is this fact revealed? (Mr. Sedley suspects Dobbin)
Who has contributed another 400 pounds to reach the amount given to Amelia?
How often does Amelia write to Dobbin, and in what tone does he respond?
What news of Dobbin do his sisters give to Amelia, and how does she respond? (is upset)
NUMBER 12 Chapter 39 A Cynical Chapter
Who suspects the butler’s daughter of theft, and what is their motive for suspicion? (she has great influence over Sir Pitt, and they fear he will marry her)
Under what circumstance is a theft discovered? Who assists in determining what has been stolen? (girl servant)
Chapter 40 In Which Becky Is Recognized by the Family
What changes have deprived Sir Pitt of the right to choose a member of parliament? (has lost a vote)
What is Sir Pitt’s condition in the last period of his life? How is he treated by his caretaker? (meanly)
How does Pitt Crawley, Jr. respond to his father’s death and his newly acquired title and home? (resolves to be generous to his relatives)
Under what circumstances does Briggs come to live with Rebecca? What benefit does the latter extract from her? (she lends Rawdon and Rebecca money)
Chapter 41 In Which Becky Revisits the Halls of Her Ancestors
What seems counterfactual about this title? (they weren’t her ancestors)
How are the Rawdon Crawleys treated by the Pitt Crawleys on their first visit? (warmly)
To whom does Rebecca extend politeness? (former pupils, Lady Jane, Sir Pitt, Lady Southampton)
What means does she use to woo Lady Southampton? (pretends respect for her medicinal concoctions and her religion)
Are there other instances in this novel in which characters disagree strongly about the effects of contemporary remedies such as Duffy’s Elixir? (a mixture of gin, wood chips, and other ingredients) With whom would the author have agreed?
How does she gain favor from the new Sir Pitt? (flatters his abilities)
Who mourns the deceased Sir Pitt? (servant Horrocks and his dog)
What remarks does the narrator make on funeral services? (408)
Rebecca believes that she would have been an honest woman had she 5000 pounds a year. What are some fallacies in this claim?
What self-evaluation does she make, and what by contrast is her view of others? (410-11)
Chapter 42 Which Treats of the Osborne Family
What happens to members of the Osborne family in the years directly after George’s death? (Mr. Osborne is lonely; his daughter Maria marries)
What financial negotiations precede Maria’s marriage? Are any of these parodied?
How does Mr. Osborne behave to his daughter? How has he interfered in her private life? (prevented her romance/marriage with an artist, forbids her to marry)
How do Maria’s family respond to her new attitudes and social position?
Under what circumstances does Jane Osborne meet little George and what is the significance of her gift? (gives gold watch)
How does Amelia respond to this? What invitation is extended to little George? (to visit Osbornes)
NUMBER 13 Chapter 43 In Which the Reader Has to Double the Cape
What characterizes Dobbin’s ideal of woman? (memory of Amelia)
On what occasion does Amelia write him with concern? (has heard he will intend to marry Glorvina O’Dowd) What tones does he read in her letter, and why do these sadden him? (affectionate regard unmixed with love, feels lonely and sad)
Who has related these false rumors to Amelia, and what is their motive? (Osborne sisters dislike her as beneath them in social rank)
What gossip do Dobbin’s sisters write him regarding Amelia’s life, and what is their motive? (dislike idea of his marriage to Amelia, tell him that she is about to marry a clergyman)
Chapter 44 A Round-About Chapter Between London and Hampshire
What do you think is the narrator/author’s opinion of Becky at this stage? (admires, disapproves)
What characterizes the relationship between Rebecca and Sir Pitt? (she flirts with him, flatters him)
How does she behave to her son? On what occasion does she strike him? (he tries to listen to her sing)
Who insists that little Rawdon accompany his parents on a visit?
When they visit the Pitts, how does Rawdon overcome her reluctance to include their son in the visit? (he rides outside the coach with him, Becky stays inside with her maid)
Does Sir Pitt believe that he has any obligation to share with his penurious brother? How does he avoid discharging this obligation? (complains of costs of maintaining his estate)
Chapter 45 Between Hampshire and London
At whose suggestion does Sir Pitt take an interest in local and civic affairs? In serving as a member of Parliament?
How was he able to be elected? (owns rotten borough vote) What services does she apparently perform?
What arrangements does Sir Pitt delegate to her rather than his wife? (refurbishing their London home)
Which behaviors alienate Lady Jane from Rebecca? (she’s cold to her child, spends too much time with Sir Pitt)
What is Becky’s response to Lady Jane? (finds her unlikable because sweet)
What activities does little Rawdon enjoy? (hunting small animals)
Who begins to spend time with Lady Jane, and why? (Rawdon is able to talk to her about his son)
What view of Rebecca’s behavior does the narrator express?
Chapter 46 Struggles and Trials
Whose struggles and trials are referred to in the title?
What financial changes cause special difficulties for Amelia in raising her son? (her father has sold the family’s annuity so that they have no income)
What attempts does she make to raise money, and why do these fail?
What offer does Mr. Osborne make? Do you think this is reasonable or fair? What is her response? (insulted and angry)
What gift does she sell to raise money? (an expensive shawl from Dobbin) Does this have any sentimental value to her? (no regrets, is delighted she can raise money)
How does her mother react to the fact that Amelia has purchased books for her son? What do we learn about her character and relationship to her grandson by her outburst? (wishes Amelia would give up her son so that they could have money; believes her daughter is spoiling her son)
How does Amelia respond? (grieves, gives what she has to her mother)
What causes her guilt and grief? (believes she has made the lives of her son and mother worse) Is self-blame rational in this case?
NUMBER 14 Chapter 47 Gaunt House
Who owns Gaunt House, and what are some implications of the title?
What characterizes Thackeray’s descriptions of aristocratic opulence? What do we learn about the Steyne family? (aristocratic Catholics, son has become demented, husband dislikes pious wife)
What relationship does Lord Steyne have with his son? (bad) Is this typical of father-son relationships in this novel?
What does Lord Steyne fear may happen to him in old age? (dementia)
What are traits of Lord Styne’s parties? How does the narrator enter directly at this point? (would be happy to accept an invitation, as would his reader)
Chapter 48 In Which the Reader is Introduced to the Very Best of Company
Who are the “very best of company”? What are some features of the opening descriptions? (ironic, over-the-top--e. g., she is granted a ticket by the Lord of the Powder Chest) Who obtains for Rebecca a presentation at court?
How does she respond to this honor? (delighted) What are her responses to the monarchy? (becomes an enthusiastic royalist, affects great respect for the sovereign, buys his portrait)
What motivates her to desire to move in aristocratic circles? (wishes to be respectable)
Where does the narrator position himself relative to these events? (they occurred 25 years ago)
What changes seem to occur in Rebecca’s dress? (dresses suspiciously well, wears expensive jewels) What may the reader infer from this? (Lord Steyne, Sir Pitt, or others may be paying for these)
How has she obtained lace for one of her costumes? (has stolen it from Sir Pitt’s home!) Who has observed this act, and what do we make of the fact that she says nothing? (Briggs)
What remarks does the narrator make about Rebecca’s use of rouge (which was less respectable then)? (some stains which cannot be rubbed off, 463)
Chapter 49 In Which We Enjoy Three Courses and a Dessert
For what does Lord Steyne give Rebecca money? (to pay Briggs) What does she do with the money instead? (buys Briggs a dress but does not pay her)
What social entrance does she desire to procure from him? (that she visit his wife) How does Lady Steyne respond?
How does Becky manage to please Lady Steyne and Lady Gaunt? (sings sentimental and religious songs)
What is Mr. Sedley forced to confess to his daughter, and what decision does Amelia make as a result? (has sold his son’s gift of an annuity)
Chapter 50 Contains a Vulgar Incident
What incident is referred to in the title?
What expedients does Amelia attempt to improve their income? What desperate step did she consider taking? (marrying the Rev. Binney)
How does her mother behave towards her under their economic stress?
What act does she take to remedy the family’s circumstances? (consents that George will live with the Osbornes) Is he disturbed on departure? (happy at thought of new adventures)
What does Mr. Osborne send as a compensatory gift? (100 pounds) What does Amelia do with this? (gives it to her father) Do you think this was wise?
What remarks does the narrator make on the topic of female self-abnegation? Do these remarks apply to all the women of the novel? Do you think he fully admires womanly capacity for self-sacrifice?
In the chapter’s final scene, under what circumstances is Amelia able to watch her son? (follows him to church, watches him unobserved near the monument to his father)
Chapter 51 In Which a Charade is Acted Which May or May Not Puzzle the Reader
What sarcastic remarks does the narrator make on elite social events? What observations common to sermons of the day does he parody? What do you make of his claim to have attended such a party?
What is featured in the three parts of the charade? Are these unexpected? Symbolic and ekphrastic?
What occurs in the final scene? (Clytemnestra kills her husband) How do some members of the audience respond? (laugh at the idea that she should kill her husband)
What are Rawdon’s reactions to his wife’s social triumph? (pained)
What attitude does Rebecca feign/feel in the midst of her exalted social life? (boredom, 487)
What sudden event overtakes Rawdon? (is arrested for debt) Do you think it is entirely coincidental that the arrest occurs at this point? (Lord Steyne may have arranged it)
What letter does Rebecca send him while he is in prison? (can’t raise money, evasive excuses)
Chapter 52 In Which Lord Steyne Shows Himself in a Most Amicable Light
What offer does Lord Steyne make on behalf of little Rawdon? (to send him to public school) What may be his motive? (to remove child from scene)
How does Rawdon respond to his son’s departure? (misses him)
Why do you think Lord Steyne gives Rebecca money to pay off her attendant Briggs? (wishes her to be able to dismiss her)
What does Rebecca do instead? How does he respond when he learns she has lied, and what does this reveal about him? (is amused)
What alternate plan does he suggest, and does this succeed? (Briggs is given job of housekeeper at Gauntly Hall)
Who becomes angry at Becky’s relationship with Lord Steyne? (Sir Pitt) On what grounds does he reproach her? (will harm family’s reputation) Does she heed his advice?
What changes does Rawdon make in his habits, and with what result? (these precipitate the events of the next chapter)
Chapter 53 A Rescue and a Catastrophe
Under what circumstances does Rawdon find his wife with Lord Steyne? What protestations does she make, and what is his answer?
What has motivated Briggs to give information and assistance to Lord Steyne? (has been paid)
What act does Rawdon take against Lord Steyne? (throws diamond at his forehead) Does this seem appropriate?
What are Rebecca’s emotions at the end of this scene? Are these sincere? Will they last long?
Chapter 54 Sunday After the Battle
What confrontation does Rawdon demand? (sends in card to Lord Steyne, demands duel)
Who serves as his second, and what is his response to the news brought by Rawdon? (everyone else has known of her behavior)
What does Rawdon tell him has especially pained him? (he had always shared with wife; she wouldn’t pay to release him from jail)
What are his concerns at the thought of death? (pays Briggs and others to whom they owe debts, asks Mac to visit his son, requests that his brother will raise and provide for the latter)
Why do you think Lord Steyne doesn’t agree to fight?
What form of bribery is offered soon afterwards? Why is Rawdon offered a remote post in an undesirable location? (had planned to take him off scene)
What irony is caused by the timing of the offer? (Lord Steyne presumably will regret having pulled strings on behalf of a man he now hates.)
How do those in his circle react to the news? Why does he accept the post? Will he be a good governor?
Chapter 55 In Which the Same Subject Is Pursued
Why are Becky’s servants eager to decamp? (steal her possessions) What attitudes toward her do they reveal?
What news do they convey to her? (Rawdon has left)
Why do you think Lord Steyne doesn’t agree to fight?
Who is sent as emissary to present the offer of a governorship? What lie does he manufacture in order to support the claim of Becky and Lord Steyne’s innocence?
How do those in his circle react to the news? Why does he accept the post? (knows that it will anger Lord Steyne, who will have made his enemy wealthy) Will he be a good governor?
Chapter 56 Georgy Is Made a Gentleman
What luxuries are lavished on the little George? What does he think of his grandfather? What bad habits does his grandfather encourage? (drinking, fighting)
How does Georgy respond to the death of his grandmother? What remarks does the narrator make on the topic of Amelia’s care for her mother? (an instance of women’s martyrdom) Who now depends on her?
Who visits Georgy’s school? (Jos and Dobbin) With what emotion does he greet little George? What information does Georgy give him? (Amelia has spoken of him hundreds of times)
NUMBER 17 Chapter 57 Eothen
In what light does the narrator view Amelia’s care for her father? (a thankless martyrdom)
What is the state of Major Dobbin’s health during the voyage home? (almost dies) Whom does he meet on board ship, and what good news helps to revive him? (Amelia is not planning to marry)
What suggestions does Major Dobbin make to Jos regarding his future life? (that he provide a home for sister and father)
What does he do to bring about mutual good feelings between father and son?
Chapter 58 Our Friend the Major
What delays Dobbin’s return to London? What is revealed by the eagerness of his journey homewards?
Who remembers him at a bar which he and George had used to frequent? What does the bartender remember about George? (had borrowed 3 pounds and not repaid it)
What is his response upon greeting the maid at the Sedley home, and why is he so enthusiastic? (happy that they are still there) What news does he learn? (Mrs. Sedley’s death and George’s departure to live with his grandfather)
With whom does he meet while walking with the servant, and why does this give him pleasure? (Mr. Binney has married and is out walking with his wife)
What greeting does Amelia give him? What does she fear may have happened to him? (that he has married)
What ironies are contained in Amelia’s pride in her son’s wooden essay against selfishness? (567)
What is revealed by his relationship to his sisters by the fact that he didn’t visit his family until the next day?
Chapter 59 The Old Piano
What delays Jos in making the return journey to his home? (purchases clothes) What results from his reunion with his father and sister? (asks them to live with him)
What hastens Jos’s purchase of a house? (Dobbin urges him onward) How do the servants react to Amelia’s departure?
What objects does she take with her? (pictures and piano)
What emotions does Amelia reveal when she learns that it is Dobbin who has bought her piano for her? (she had thought it was a gift from George)
How does he respond to her apology for not having thanked him? (declares his love for the first time) What is her response? (speaks of her child, cannot be unfaithful to husband’s memory)
What gloss does the narrator place on this scene? (he is at liberty to look and long) Does the narrator find fault with Amelia?
Chapter 60 Returns to the Genteel World
Who has returned to the genteel world? (the Sedleys) What satirical remarks does the narrator make about the naming of streets? (use of “Gardens” where there are none, 578)
What do we learn about the business practices and some of the effects of East India Company rule of India? (dishonest, cause the impoverishment of millions, 579)
How do Amelia’s fortunes change, and who now visits her? (the Dobbin sisters, Miss Osborne, little George)
What changes occur in Amelia’s social life? (makes and receives visits in Anglo-Indian society, takes rides with her father in carriage)
What political views does Jos affect? (ardent royalist)
Number 18 Chapter 61 In Which Two Lights Are Put Out
To what does the chapter title refer? Whose are the “two lights”? (Mr. Sedley and Mr. Osborne)
What reflections are prompted by their deaths? (no one misses them)
What reconciliation occurs before Mr. Sedley dies? For what does he need to ask forgiveness of Amelia?
What new information prompts Mr. Osborne’s change of mind before his death?
What may prompt him to invite Joseph for dinner, and what wine does he serve? (Mr. Sedley’s old wine)
What dispositions does Mr. Osborn leave in his will? (leaves Amelia an income of 500 pounds a year, with Dobbin to serve as executor and co-trustee for George; leaves sum for Dobbin)
Are any of these surprising in view of his past sentiments?
What remarks regarding a future marriage does Georgy convey to his mother and Major Dobbin? (Miss Osborne might marry him)
What emotions does Amelia feel on learning that Dobbin has succeeded in bringing about a reconciliation with Georgy’s grandfather?
What fate befalls the Osborne Russell Square house? (no one wants to live there; its furnishings boxed up for little George to await his majority)
Who brings her children to visit, and with what designs? (Mrs. Bullock, thinks Georgy would be a good partner for her daughter, his cousin) How long since she had last visited with her? (15 years)
What do the women of Mrs. Bullock’s wealthy circle think of Amelia? (insipid, needs to be “formed”) Will they succeed?
Chapter 62 Am Rhein
What purpose may there be for including a chapter of foreign travel? (scenic descriptions and satiric portrayals might have interested contemporary audience)
What happy pursuits are engaged in by Amelia and Dobbin? (she draws and sketches, they attend operas)
How does she respond to music, and what views does he give of the importance of pleasure and beauty? Would the author have agreed?
What does the narrator believe to be a common feature of women’s lives? (to be domineered over by vulgar intellects, 601)
What does the narrator remind the reader are Dobbins’ physical limitations? (has slight lisp, his face slightly yellowed, large hands and feet)
What does the narrator claim has been his relationship with this family group? (met them on this tour, was young and attended opera)
Who pays attentions to Amelia? (Lord Tapeworm) What effect does his attentions have upon Jos? (wishes to stay longer)
Chapter 63 In Which We May Meet An Old Acquaintance
In what tone does the narrator survey the society of this German watering-place? How does Amelia spend her time? (studies French and singing; is liked by German ladies)
How does the Major spend his time? (tutors Georgy)
At the wedding party for a local prince, who is gambling while wearing a mask? What success does she have?
What does she induce young Georgy to do, and what is Dobbins’ response? (drags him away) Do you think he should have mentioned to him that his father had squandered his inheritance in gambling?
How does Becky ingratiate herself with Jos Sedley? What seem to be her intentions? (wishes to join Sedley family group and obtain Jos’ fortune) How does she present herself? (unfortunate, unhappy at her losses, self-pitying)
Is this a good place for the end of a serial part?
NUMBERS 19-20 Chapter 64 A Vagabond Chapter
What metaphors does the narrator use to describe Rebecca? (a mermaid with serpent’s tail) What judgments does he make?
What sarcastic remarks does he make upon Victorian propriety, both in society and in the constraints on his fiction? (618)
What has happened to her after Rawdon left her? How much money does he leave to her, and how has she used it? (300 pounds, quite a generous sum; she gambles compulsively and drinks)
Why is Sir Pitt unwilling to help his sister-in-law? (is told of some of her deceptions; Lady Jane keeps careful watch over him)
What happens to little Rawdon after his parents’ departure? (lives with Sir Pitt and Lady Jane) What event causes a change in little Rawdon’s prospects? (death of Sir Pitt’s son causes him to become prospective heir of Crawley estates)
How does event alter his mother’s attitude toward him? Is it unlike her not to have forseen this possibility?
Where has she traveled, and with what intentions? (Boulogne, Paris, Brussels, Rome, continues to gamble)
How is she treated by those who have known or heard of her? (mostly cut)
Whom does she meet in Rome, and how does he react to her advances? (Lord Steyne) What veiled threat is conveyed to her? (she will die if she continues in Rome)
What does the narrator note is necessary for Becky’s happiness? (society)
Whom does she occasionally miss? (Rawdon) Are her regrets deep?
What are some ways in which she adds to her income? (sings, gives music lessons, performs, attempts to be an opera singer) [seems a bit much]
Whom does she meet among her Parisian relatives? (maternal grandmother, a box-opener at a theater)
What orations are given at Lord Steyne’s death? What is the narrator’s judgment of him? (a “worn-out, wicked old man,” 629)
Under what circumstances did some of his possessions disappear before his death, and who then benefitted? (Madame Belladonna and Fiche, who testified that she had been given them)
Chapter 65 Full of Business and Pleasure
What overtures does Becky make to Jos, and how does he respond?
How does Dobbin react to Jos’s desire for his sister to befriend her? (horrified) What representations cause Amelia to feel sympathy for Rebecca’s alleged plight? (her son reportedly torn from her--we know this isn’t the case)
How does Amelia greet Becky on their meeting? (kisses her, forgives entirely)
Chapter 66 Amantium Irae
What does Major Dobbin learn from the overheard conversation of the two German students? (she has announced a concert but absconded, has continued gambling)
What account does Becky give of her past? How does Amelia respond? (with entire belief)
Do you find the tale of Becky’s many deceptions and multiple conquests entirely believable?
What is the meaning of this Latin title? (the wrath of lovers) At what does Amelia take offense, and how does Dobbin respond? (he asks that she not take Rebecca into her house, mentions that she has cause to resent her)
Why does Amelia find these veiled allusions so reprehensible? (cast some blame on her husband--of course much less than he deserved)
Does her reaction seem quite in character? Or his?
Of what does he accuse her? (inability to be fair to him, to respond to a generous love)
Who is saddened at his departure? (Georgy, servants, all who knew him)
Chapter 67 Which Contains Births, Marriages, and Deaths
What will be the births, marriages and deaths which end the chapter? Are these all well deserved?
Who praises Dobbin in his absence? (Becky, maid) Who misses him? (Amelia and Georgy)
What do they learn of his whereabouts? (has rejoined military and been promoted to Lt. Colonel)
What information does Becky give Amelia, and what is her motive? Does this seem consistent with her past behavior?
Why does this information alone soften Amelia’s heart toward Dobbin? (able to cast old love from her heart and feel sincere new affection) Do you find this sudden change plausible?
How does she induce him to return? (letter)
Does he delay? Who joins her in desiring his return to them? What barbed remarks does the narrator make as he leaves them? (“grow green again, tender little parasite, round the rugged old oak to which you cling”)
Is theirs a happy marriage? Will it have a good effect on Georgy? Does it seem probable that so conceited a youngster should be so attached to a good role model? (Dobbin has put in a great deal of effort on teaching him)
What economic effect will her marriage have on Amelia? (she is secure; Jos has left her for Becky)
Meanwhile, how and with what motives has Becky lured Jos?
Why do you think the novel closes their story with indicating that Dobbin has his secret regrets, and that Amelia feels some sadness at these? To whom does Dobbin become attached? (his daughter Jane)
What fate overtakes Jos Sedley? From whom does he seek help in his distress? What shady circumstances accompany his death?
What do you make of the fact that Becky herself survives undaunted? (according to Aristotle, a plot in which the evil are rewarded is incoherent)
What final reflections does the narrator offer? Has anyone in the novel received his or her desire or been fully satisfied?
Do you think the novel ends well? Does it tie up the thematic strands it has introduced?
Do you find the plot more or less significant than the narrator’s tone? (interconnected--plot is used to illustrate author’s points)
What are some uses to which chapter titles are put? To what extent do these describe the contents of their respective chapters?
How are names used throughout the novel?
How are letters employed to reveal and conceal the characters' thoughts?
What are some final reflections prompted by the book’s trajectory? (rise and fall of fortunes) Can Thackeray’s readers hope to escape the insincerities and trivialities of Vanity Fair?
Ultimately what qualities does Thackeray admire in man and woman? What traits does he especially deplore?
Would it be possible to combine some of the merits of both of his heroines? (Amelia with a bit of skepticism and assessment of character) Are their tragic aspects to the limitations of goodness and intelligence?
Do you find the novel’s portrayal of female characters to be proto-feminist, sex-stereotyped, conventional, unconventional, or none of these?
What are the division points for the 19-20 monthly numbers, and how are these used to organize the plot?
Serial Parts of Vanity Fair:
For each, determine why this scene or paragraph may have been chosen to end the section, and what is gained by the choice:
No. 1 chapters 1-4
No. 2 chapters 5-7
No. 3 chapters 8-11
No. 4 chapters 12-14
No. 5 chapters 15-18
No. 6 chapters 19-22
No. 7 chapters 23-25
No. 8 chapters 26-29
No. 9 chapters 30-32
No. 10 chapters 33-35
No. 11 chapters 36-38
No. 12 chapters 39-42
No. 13 chapters 43-46
No. 14 chapters 47-50
No. 15 chapters 51-53
No. 16 chapters 54-56
No. 17 chapters 57-60
No. 18 chapters 61-63
Nos. 19 and 20 chapters 64-67