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Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair


by William Makepeace Thackeray

Vanity Fair Sex Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

She was small and slight in person; pale, sandy-haired, and with eyes habitually cast down: when they looked up they were very large, odd, and attractive; so attractive that the Reverend Mr. Crisp, fresh from Oxford, and curate to the Vicar of Chiswick, the Reverend Mr. Flowerdew, fell in love with Miss Sharp; being shot dead by a glance of her eyes which was fired all the way across Chiswick Church from the school-pew to the reading-desk. (2.14)

Becky's sexuality is always aggressive and so always takes men unawares. The expectation was that women should be passive recipients of male attention rather than the other way around. All of Becky's conquests are always described in traditionally feminine terms. Here, check out the "fresh" curate named "Flowerdew" – "fresh" is usually a word that's used about girls that have just arrived on the marriage market scene. And flowerdew? That's really driving the point home.

Quote #2

"You don't mind my cigar, do you, Miss Sharp?" Miss Sharp loved the smell of a cigar out of doors beyond everything in the world--and she just tasted one too, in the prettiest way possible, and gave a little puff, and a little scream, and a little giggle, and restored the delicacy to the Captain, who twirled his moustache, and straightway puffed it into a blaze that glowed quite red in the dark plantation, and swore--"Jove--aw--Gad--aw--it's the finest segaw I ever smoked in the world aw," for his intellect and conversation were alike brilliant and becoming to a heavy young dragoon. (11.76)

We promise we're not dirty-minded – or at least not any more than the novel itself. But just do the mental image here and you'll get a sense of what Becky seems to be promising Rawdon. And his weird exclamations? Kind of orgasmic, no?

Quote #3

Rawdon Crawley, Esquire, gave vent to a prodigious whistle, in token of astonishment at this announcement. He couldn't deny it. His father's evident liking for Miss Sharp had not escaped him. He knew the old gentleman's character well; and a more unscrupulous old--whyou--he did not conclude the sentence [...]

When he saw Rebecca alone, he rallied her about his father's attachment in his graceful way. She flung up her head scornfully, looked him full in the face, and said, "Well, suppose he is fond of me. I know he is, and others too. You don't think I am afraid of him, Captain Crawley? You don't suppose I can't defend my own honour," said the little woman, looking as stately as a queen.

"Oh, ah, why--give you fair warning--look out, you know--that's all," said the mustachio-twiddler.

"You hint at something not honourable, then?" said she, flashing out. (14.42-48)

Rawdon doesn't complete the sentence about his father, but we easily can. "Something not honorable" could mean one of two things: 1) Becky becoming Sir Pitt's mistress, which is unlikely, since she's all about putting a ring on it; or 2) getting assaulted by Sir Pitt, which has some traction based on his earlier threat to keep coming to her room every night if she doesn't put her candle out sooner. Either way, Becky's instant coming to the point rather than pretending she doesn't understand what Rawdon is talking about gets him kind of hot and bothered in his jealousy of his father.

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