Study Guide

Vanity Fair Chapter 35

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Chapter 35

Widow and Mother

  • OK, enough in Crawley Funville. Now back to Osborne Sadtown.
  • So, Mr. Osborne and George's sisters are totally destroyed by George's death.
  • The women weep openly, but Mr. Osborne doesn't talk about his grief to anyone. His feelings are split. On the one hand, he is really sad that his son is dead. On the other hand, he is furious that now George will never apologize for marrying Amelia.
  • Still, he does commission a hideously gaudy sculpture honoring George for their church.
  • One day, a few months later, Dobbin's father stops by, tells Osborne that Dobbin has been promoted to Major, and gives him a letter. It's the letter George wrote on the eve of the battle.
  • Osborne reads it but can't see the emotions George was feeling while writing it. It's kind of like when you write an email with no emoticons and your tone of voice doesn't come across. George meant to be all emotional and loving and full of remorse, but his father just sees stiffness and pride. He stays just as mad as ever.
  • Sometime later, Osborne announces that he will travel to Belgium. George's sisters know that this is where Amelia still is and they wonder whether their father is going there to forgive her.
  • Osborne gets to Brussels, goes to see George's grave, and then takes a tour of the battlefield where he died, accompanied by a soldier in George's old company.
  • This soldier, among other things, tells him that Amelia is now finally recovered from her shock and deep insanity after George's death.
  • The next day Osborne sees her driving in a carriage with Dobbin, and he declares that he hates her just as much as ever. She doesn't even see him and still seems totally crazy.
  • Dobbin does see him, follows him to his hotel, and tells him that Amelia is pregnant. Osborne gets all defensive about how he was a totally awesome father and George was a totally hateful son. Dobbin realizes that Osborne will never help Amelia out financially.
  • OK, a little pause. We skip ahead a year into the future.
  • Amelia really was going crazy, but when she gave birth she started to recover her ability to love and be emotionally connected to the world. She is a really, really doting mother. She won't let anyone else touch the baby. But still, at least she's not catatonic any more, right?
  • Dobbin is the baby George's godfather.
  • He brings Amelia and baby George (we'll call him George Jr. from now on) back to London to her parents' house.
  • They can see that Dobbin loves her, but Amelia only has eyes for George Jr.
  • Finally, Dobbin can't deal with the situation any more and tells Amelia that he's leaving for a long time.
  • She only half hears him, tells him she'll write about the baby, then shushes him as he goes away.

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