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And Thackeray is the perfect guy for the job. After all, he single-handedly invented the meaning of the word "snob" as we know it now. The word existed back in his day, but it was just a synonym for "regular townie, rather than university student." A little while before writing Vanity Fair, Thackeray published a series of funny articles about the way people on the low end of the totem pole are jealous of those above them, resentful of those who are climbing past them, and boastful about any connection to anyone situated higher than them. These essays were collected into the totally hilarious (Seriously, check it out on Google Books. We'll wait right here for you.) Thanks to Thackeray, you have a special term you can use to describe annoying, status-seeking individuals, eager to climb the social ladder.

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Free Vanity Fair Essays and Papers

Vanity Fair is the precursor to school satires like, , or . Sure, Thackeray is making fun of corrupt politicians, dirty old men, and buffoons of every stripe. But at heart this novel is the perfect dissection of what it takes to rise in an exacting hierarchy where every tiny gesture, look, and exchange has status-altering consequences.

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What Thackeray does in Vanity Fair is bring this genre out of the 18th century and into his own time. This requires a little prudish cleaning up, since the 18th century guys weren't nearly so straight-laced and uptight as the Victorians about sex and the human body. But, even after all of that, the novel still has to be even further removed from Thackeray's own time to seem decent – and to avoid getting him sued! Although he is writing in the 1840s, he sets the novel 30 years earlier, during the reign of and the second invasion of . Hang on, hang on – the who now?

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