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Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

by William Makepeace Thackeray

Jealousy Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

She gave George the queerest, knowingest look, when they were together, a look which might have been interpreted, "Don't you see the state of affairs, and what a fool I'm making of him?" But he did not perceive it. He was thinking of his own plans, and lost in pompous admiration of his own irresistible powers of pleasing.

The curses to which the General gave a low utterance, as soon as Rebecca and her conqueror had quitted him, were so deep, that I am sure no compositor would venture to print them were they written down. They came from the General's heart; and a wonderful thing it is to think that the human heart is capable of generating such produce, and can throw out, as occasion demands, such a supply of lust and fury, rage and hatred. (29.35-36)

Here yet again is George not understanding what's happening around him. He doesn't notice General Tufto's crush on Becky, and he doesn't catch her hinting about what's going on either. Meanwhile, Becky knows how to play the General's jealousy like a finely tuned instrument (nowadays she'd be called a tease). The novel is full of these sexually frustrated old men.

Quote #8

It must not be imagined that Mr. Pitt Crawley's artifices escaped the attention of his dear relations at the Rectory at Queen's Crawley. Hampshire and Sussex lie very close together, and Mrs. Bute had friends in the latter county who took care to inform her of all, and a great deal more than all, that passed at Miss Crawley's house at Brighton. (34.15)

Thackeray's power of understatement, the double negative ("must not be imagined" that Pitt's doings "escaped" notice), and the "dear" make this really funny. He's basically saying, "Did you think Mrs. Bute had written off the money? Think again. She's crazy and has spies everywhere."

Quote #9

Pitt was in the room with Miss Crawley when the lad [James Crawley] was announced, and looked very blank when his name was mentioned. The old lady had plenty of humour, and enjoyed her correct nephew's perplexity. She asked after all the people at the Rectory with great interest; and said she was thinking of paying them a visit. She praised the lad to his face, and said he was well-grown and very much improved, and that it was a pity his sisters had not some of his good looks; and finding, on inquiry, that he had taken up his quarters at an hotel, would not hear of his stopping there, but bade Mr. Bowls send for Mr. James Crawley's things instantly; "and hark ye, Bowls," she added, with great graciousness, "you will have the goodness to pay Mr. James's bill."

She flung Pitt a look of arch triumph, which caused that diplomatist almost to choke with envy. Much as he had ingratiated himself with his aunt, she had never yet invited him to stay under her roof, and here was a young whipper-snapper, who at first sight was made welcome there. (34.28-29)

Like Becky, Miss Crawley enjoys toying with men's jealousy. Obviously she has no sex appeal to exploit, so she has to rely on her fat bank account instead. It ends up amounting to the same kind of thing, though – the pleasure of seeing someone squirm with envy.

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