The Illustrations in Vanity Fair

Throughout Vanity Fair, Thackeray includes small illustrations that start the chapter and bigger illustrations that are spread out throughout the novel that give a visualization to the words on the page. However, some of these illustrations do not match up with the text perfectly, sometimes even contrasting them in an apparent manner. Why would Thackeray do this in his novel? The pictures at the beginning of the novel are drawn around the letter that begins the chapter, and usually sets a motif or a tone for how the events will follow. The main discrepancy comes from the much larger pictures that take up half or even full pages. These pictures offer a visual aid to the events that happen, and usually do an apt job at showing the action well. Other times Thackeray will describe an event or the people at the event, and then the picture will contrast that the previous words. One example of this is the picture found on p. 403 in which the Ribbons discovered the fact. Betsy Horrocks is described as, “a black-eyed guilty wench” but then the picture portrays her as a beautiful girl who seems innocent and not guilty. The stark contrast in these pictures makes the reader choose which to follow: the text or the picture.

Henry Mayhew – London Labour and the London Poor

How important was the role of parents in Victorian times, according to Mayhew’s article? At the time, if one found themselves in a wealthy family, parents provided many different roles in the children’s lives. For a female, the parent helped choose who the girl was to marry, as well as introduce her to the society that she would soon become a part of. For a son, parents provided the source of their money through inheritance, as well as helped connect him to a job through the networking that was used at the time. If one was not in an upper class family, the role of the parent changed drastically. Parents still were the heads of the household, especially the man, and while the father was away working the mother stayed and raised the children by herself. But as seen in the article, if something was to happen to one parent, a wholly negative change could happen to the family. The reason that this child, who’s story is being told, is forced to be a chimney sweep was that his father began beating him and his sister told him to leave and make something of himself. Even though the example is a negative effect of the parent, it is seen that the role of parents was important in Victorian England.