Finished Vanity Fair tonight, which is why this post will be so short, me having stayed up late to do so and then slept in. Smashing ending all around, nearly one of the best endings I've ever read, except I can't help but feel Thackeray really caved by having Amelia write to Dobbin before Becky showed her George's letter - that awful, wonderful Becky! What a great character. A perfect mix of Scarlett O'Hara, with her lonely good points, her odd spots of pity for those obviously weaker than her, and Machiavelli's ideal prince.
Anyways, the letter was the only part of it that didn't ring true to me - I suppose it wouldn't have been appropriate to have angelic Amelia really, unignorably, practically in debt to devilish Becky, although she was obviously in her emotional debt as it stood . . . if I have a problem with big flabby Regency/Fat King George/Victorian monster novels, that's it - that there's a realism-damaging hesitation to make all those lovely anti-heroes agents of good in a practical, plotty way, a way that could possibly alienate the ladies reading at home, or make them keep the serials away from their young ones. I should like to know if Thackeray had been planning to have Amelia write Dobbin before or after Becky showed her the letter.
The fact is evil people are almost never unremittingly harmful and literature has to reflect that to keep its humanity. Despite a millenium of schisms the most Calvinist, Protesting of us European descendants is Catholic enough to have a bit of faith, unconcious or not, in the notion of one good deed - a useful penance - expiating hundreds of wickednesses (to paraphrase that lying, fornicating, bigamist Rochester, who even romantic little Charlotte Brontë had to put in his place through mutilation, amputation and blinding before Jane Eyre could be permitted to marry him).