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Summary

Vanity Fair Chapter 3 Summary Page 1

Rebecca is in Presence of the Enemy

  • Becky and Amelia make their way downstairs and meet Jos, who turns out to be a very fat, awkward, shy man.
  • Becky tries to flirt on his level, putting on some super-virginal airs.
  • Jos is kind of into it, but when his father, Mr. Sedley, comes home and starts to make fun of the fashion-victim way Jos is dressed, the whole scene gets to be too much for him.
  • Jos tries to escape the house, until Mrs. Sedley tells him about the yummy Indian-food dinner that's waiting.
  • The narrator chimes in with an important little tidbit: basically, Becky has to arrange her own marriage since she doesn't have a mom to do it for her.
  • Now we get a little background info on Jos. Turns out he works for the East India Company (check out the "Best of the Web" section for what that's all about) as the revenue collector of Boggley Wollah (fake place name meant to sound funny. Hardy har har.).
  • Also, turns out he's really, really into his clothes and fancy lifestyle, and is very vain about himself and his appearance. Except he is also painfully lonely and doesn't really know how to be around other people. And, to top it all off, he is fat and self-conscious about it. He wears all sorts of complicated girdles to hide it and buys clothes that are too tight for him.
  • Brain Snack: Thackeray described himself a fat, somewhat awkward guy, so Jos is a bit of a self-parody.
  • At dinner, Becky is all of a sudden super-interested in all things Indian. She tries a curry dish and is sort of gasping from all the cayenne pepper and spices, when Jos offers her a chili pepper. Thinking it'll be cool (you know, "chilly"), she eats it whole and has a mouth-on-fire attack. But she is a good sport about it, and Jos and Mr. Sedley like her.
  • After dinner, Mr. Sedley tells Jos that Becky digs him. Predictably, this freaks Jos out, and he leaves to go the theater instead of hanging out with Amelia, Becky, and Mrs. Sedley.
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