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Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

by William Makepeace Thackeray

Amelia Sedley Timeline and Summary

  • Amelia is born into an upper-middle-class family whose wealth comes from commodities investing. From a young age she is assumed to be engaged to George Osborne, the son of her father's closest friend.
  • She is sent to school at Miss Pinkerton's, where she wins many friends even if she doesn't influence many people. When she graduates she takes her friend Becky Sharp home with her for a few days.
  • At home, she reconnects with George, who is handsome and self-involved. They form a foursome with Becky and Amelia's brother Jos and go to Vauxhall for amusement. There she meets George's friend Dobbin.
  • George tells Amelia that he has disrupted Jos's plan of asking Becky to marry him. She thinks that's a terrible thing to have done but does nothing about it.
  • When her father's business starts to suffer, Amelia is neglected by George. She is sad but does nothing about it. (This might be a refrain in her timeline, so get ready.)
  • Mr. Sedley goes totally bankrupt and the family has to move to the cheap side of town.
  • Though all the Sedley property is sold at auction, Amelia receives her old piano back. She assumes George has bought it for her.
  • Mr. Osborne and Mr. Sedley are no longer on speaking terms, and Mr. Sedley orders Amelia to cut off the relationship with George and send him back everything he's ever given her. Amelia sends back his presents but not his letters. Then she takes to her bed and gets sick.
  • She makes a sickly appearance when Dobbin comes to visit her.
  • As she lies in her bed trying to die from a broken heart, George comes to take her to a church and marry her. They go to Bath for their honeymoon.
  • In Bath they run into Becky and Rawdon, also on a honeymoon of sorts. Amelia is jealous of how awesome Becky is in society and the fact that George spends all his time at Becky's house. She is very sad, but does nothing about it.
  • The army is called abroad to fight Napoleon, and after some fear and hesitation, Amelia decides to go with George. In Brussels she is a little overwhelmed to meet Mrs. O'Dowd, the wife of the regiment's major, but the woman's kindness wins Amelia over.
  • Again she and George run into Becky and Rawdon, who is an aide-de-camp to a general and thus not in the same part of the army that George and Dobbin serve in. Amelia is depressed as soon as she sees Becky because she knows what's coming next.
  • Sure enough, George totally abandons Amelia for Becky and spends all his time with her.
  • At a fancy ball, Amelia is left to sit by herself in a corner while George dances with Becky. Finally, Dobbin takes a weak and sad Amelia home. There she waits for George, who comes home with the news that the army is going to march to the front in a few hours.
  • They kind of make up and Amelia is totally distraught about the war. She tries to help George pack but is unable to even do that.
  • During the fighting she hangs out with Mrs. O'Dowd and refuses Jos's entreaties to leave Brussels. As news of the battle trickles in, Amelia helps care for a wounded soldier in George's regiment.
  • When she finds out that George was killed in battle, Amelia goes totally insane. She has a mild confrontation with Becky and then loses it completely.
  • Dobbin and Mrs. O'Dowd take care of her during the crazy time, which is also her pregnancy.
  • When her son is born she recovers her mental health and goes to live with her parents.
  • They are poor, and life is hard. Amelia does her best to scrimp and save to outfit her son in fancy clothes and buy him schoolbooks and presents. Her parents resent her for spending money on these things.
  • After George's sister sees the little boy, Amelia gets an offer to have her son go live in the lap of luxury with Mr. Osborne, George's father. She wants no part of it, but after her father goes really, really bankrupt she has no choice.
  • Dobbin confesses his love to her and she figures out that he's the one who bought her the piano. She's not really into him though.
  • After Mr. Osborne dies, her son comes back to live with her and she gets an inheritance that sets her up comfortably.
  • She, Jos, and Dobbin decide to go to Europe with George Jr. They end up in the town of Pumpernickel, where they once again run into Becky. Amelia commiserates with Becky about losing her son.
  • Dobbin tells Amelia he's had enough of her nonsense and leaves. Amelia is sad, but does nothing about it.
  • Becky takes matters into her own hands and shows Amelia a letter George wrote to her suggesting that they run away together. Now that she knows the truth about her dead husband, she is finally released from him. She writes to Dobbin, who immediately comes and marries her.
  • They go back to England, where she has a daughter. Dobbin slowly falls out of love with her.
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