From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

  

by William Makepeace Thackeray

Amelia's Piano

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The piano, besides being a tangible object and plot point, is a symbol in the book. Bankruptcy forces the Sedleys to auction off all their things, including this little piano. Dobbin buys it and sends it back to Amelia. She thinks it's a present from George and it becomes her favorite thing ever. When she finally realizes that Dobbin bought back the piano, she immediately declares that "It was valueless now [...] it was shockingly out of tune" (59.30).

The symbolism isn't hard to tease out, right? The piano is a neat stand-in for Amelia's feelings for the two men and their feelings for her. She is deluded enough to think that George would buy it for her; selfish George would never think of doing such a thing; and Dobbin is so meek and pathetic that not only does he buy her the piano, he doesn't even correct her when she thinks George bought it. Seriously, get a spine, dude.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement