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Word Count: 1,165
History in the Novel There is a strong sense of history which pervades Thackerays Vanity Fair The novel opens with while the present century was still in its teens and this not only places the story firmly in the history and society of the early 19th century but also introduces the idea of looking back both on behalf of the reader and the narrator The peculiar use of the word teens immediately creates connotations of youth and thus the beginnings of a story rather than the end It is a colloquial way of describing that period suggesting the narrators familiarity with that time and this is borne out again and again by references to historical events while the army is marching from Flanders and after its heroic actions there is advancing to take the fortifications on the frontiers of France previous to an occupation of that country- What makes Vanity Fair so tangibly historical is the juxtaposition of people and events their involvement in them most obvious in the experiences of Rawdon Dobbin and George but also their opinions of them Bonaparty was to be crushed almost without a struggle This places both the characters and the story in an historical context which enriches the story- history is not a far-removed concept it is part of their lives Though the interweaving of the story with actual historical events most noticeably the tail-end of the Napoleonic Wars is particularly striking in Vanity Fair there are grounds for considering the novel a special case It is its unique relation to reality that constitutes the speciality of the novel This is a fundamental sort of distinction and it seems to set the novel apart from most of the traditional kinds- comedy tragedy heroic poetry and pastoral which each deal with a specific area of human experience Novels cover a multitude of human experience and this is achieved by including in the work the social and
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