Vanity Fair enough

August 30, 2006

In the CASE Great Books courses, we've been studying Thackeray's novel, Vanity Fair. In the recent film version starring Reese Witherspoon, the ending is changed so that Becky Sharp (the opportunistic heroine of the story) has a 'happily ever after' ending in India rather than the book's pointed final comments about her pointless social climbing. It struck some of the group that this was a sign of the times--the filmmaker could not cope with the hopelessness of the book, where the true vanity of the characters is left to hang over the reader like a warning sign. I wonder whether this is something we need in apologetics today--the capacity to let hopelessness and vanity echo forth around people's empty lives, so that they might seek out something more substantial than wealth and social status.

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