Study Guide

George Osborne Jr. in Vanity Fair

By William Makepeace Thackeray

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George Osborne Jr.

An imperious, willful, and self-important little boy, George Osborne's son is adopted for a time by his paternal grandfather. At Mr. Osborne's George Jr. learns to live like a little aristocrat – an upbringing that is tempered by his long exposure to his godfather Dobbin's humble and selfless way of living.

George Jr. is pretty much George Osborne 2.0 – kind of the same but much improved. Like his father, the boy is vain and prone to thinking way too highly of himself. But at the same time, we see some evidence that he is actually capable of loving other human beings and that there is some measure of generosity in his nature. Check out how the surroundings and people that didn't have an improving effect on George work totally differently on his son. George disregarded Amelia and took her yielding quietness for granted, but for George Jr. she is a tempering and softening influence. For George, Mr. Osborne was someone to do battle with for superiority, but George Jr. is able to get around his grandfather's anger and endear himself to the old man. Finally, Dobbin was never able to get George to see, let alone follow, his good example. But George Jr. sees the army officer's earnestness, loyalty, and intelligence and is able to learn many things about the proper way to live from Dobbin.

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