by William Makepeace Thackeray
Vanity Fair Ambition Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"I have brains," Becky thought, "and almost all the rest of the world are fools. I could not go back and consort with those people now, whom I used to meet in my father's studio. Lords come up to my door with stars and garters, instead of poor artists with screws of tobacco in their pockets. I have a gentleman for my husband, and an Earl's daughter for my sister, in the very house where I was little better than a servant a few years ago. But am I much better to do now in the world than I was when I was the poor painter's daughter and wheedled the grocer round the corner for sugar and tea? Suppose I had married Francis who was so fond of me--I couldn't have been much poorer than I am now. Heigho! I wish I could exchange my position in society, and all my relations for a snug sum in the Three Per Cent. Consols"; for so it was that Becky felt the Vanity of human affairs, and it was in those securities that she would have liked to cast anchor.
It may, perhaps, have struck her that to have been honest and humble, to have done her duty, and to have marched straightforward on her way, would have brought her as near happiness as that path by which she was striving to attain it. (41.40-41)
Becky is the only character self-aware enough to see through the haze of ambition. She also has a would-be Rose Dawson (a.k.a. Lady Crawley, not the character in Titanic) story about a poor man she could have married, and she understands that the drive to get up the ladder can be questioned rather than just accepted as it is by everyone around her. We also love that she is so honest about being smarter than the rest of the world.