Social Change in Two Novels Essay

Social Change in Two Novels Essay

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Social Forces are the “Forces of the environment that include the demographic characteristics of the population and its values.” (Richard J. Ch.3) The social forces can affect the conceptual framework of marriage, education, social class, and politics. In the Nineteenth Century, many authors addressed those social forces in forms of novels. Among those authors were William Makepeace Thackeray and Thomas Hardy. This essay will compare and contrast the nature and function of society and social forces on Thackeray’s Vanity Fair and Hardy’s Tess D’Urberville.
William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair expose the social forces of the Nineteenth Century’s Victorian Era while focusing on how it affects and motivates the aristocratic members of its society into materialistic/capitalistic pursuits.
Society and its social forces remain a central theme in Vanity Fair throughout the novel. The social forces are presented mainly in the character of Rebecca Sharp. The race to aristocracy or maintaining an aristocrat status is the main objective for Becky to pursue her overwhelming dream of a high social standing. With Social standing being a major social force in the novel, marriage to Becky was regarded as means to an end. In the beginning of the novel, Becky was interested in Joseph Sedley regardless of his awkward characteristics and unattractive manners. The only factor she cared for was his wealth noticing that “… all Indian nabobs are very rich”. (p. 15) she planned to play her charm on Joseph in hopes to acquire his wealth and boost her social standing. She believes that "If Mr. Joseph Sedley is rich and unmarried, why should I not marry him? I have only a fortnight, to be sure, but there is no harm in trying" (P. 16)
When her plan t...

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..., reading Hardy’s Tess D’Urberville and Thackeray’s Vanity Fair was of a political inspiration in reinforcing the separation of church and state and the need to introduce new political and social reform that took place in the Edwardian Era. Both novels had social forces that remained in the background till its final chapters.

Works Cited
Hardy, Thomas. Tess D'urbervilles. London: Mc Milan and, 1912. Print.
J., Richard. "Marketing Lessons Chapter 3." San Diego State University. Rohan Academy. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. .
Thackeray, William Makepeace. Vanity Fair. Forgotten, 2008. Print.
Zhen, Chen. "Victim of Social Prejudice and Male Dominance in Victorian Patriarchal Society." Ritsumei. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

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