Vanity Fair: Chapter 64,65,66,67

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Summary - Chapters Sixty Four, Sixty Five, Sixty Six and Sixty Seven

Chapter Sixty Four gives some information as to what has happened to Becky after she left London. At the time of her separation from Rawdon, it is seen as being in everyone’s interests that she leaves the country. She writes to her son once and then nothing for a year. She then writes ‘the most affectionate composition’ to him after learning of the death of Sir Pitt’s only boy (with this death, little Rawdon is now the heir to Queen’s Crawley).


Becky first goes to Boulogne after leaving England. Former acquaintances treat with either little or no respect and others try to patronize her. She attends church and sings the loudest, but is discovered lying about her affection for her son when Mr Wenham travels through the town. This happens several times as her reputation comes to light at each place she moves to. She moves to Brussels and leaves owing money and visits Rome. Here, she sees Lord Steyne at a ball and he looks aghast and then ignores her when she presents herself to him.


Whilst out walking the next day, she is approached by Mr Fiche (who is Lord Steyne’s ‘confidential man’). He advises her to leave Rome immediately or she will get ill and die. She attempts to laugh at the threat, but he tells her ‘we know everything, and have friends everywhere’. She has offended Lord Steyne and he never forgives. She heeds the warning and leaves.


In Chapter Sixty Five, the narrative returns to the present as Joseph comes to see Becky in the room she rents. She tells him what has happened and describes herself as an angel and a martyr. He thinks of ways to help her and when he has gone she mimics him in front of her neighbors.


Joseph tells Amelia and Dobbin about Becky and although disconcerted about her presence, Dobbin agrees to abide by whatever Amelia decides in her bid to help her. Amelia softens towards Becky’s plight when Joseph tells her that her son was torn from her. Fortunately for Becky, she sees Dobbin and Amelia coming to visit her and has time to ask her neighbors to leave.


Amelia expresses her empathy for the loss of little Rawdon, in Chapter Sixty Six, and Becky finds she has to lie straightaway. She gets her son’s age wrong, but Amelia disregards this. She tells Becky ‘a full and complete version of her history’ in which she blames Rawdon for everything. Whilst the two women talk, Dobbin sits downstairs (in a bar) and hears Becky’s neighbors (Max and Fritz) discuss her as they refer to her gambling and drinking. He realizes that she has not altered.


Amelia is in high spirits after talking with Becky and says she wants her to stay with them. Dobbin is annoyed and reminds her she has not always been a friend. Amelia leaves the room upset and thinks again that her jealousy had been groundless and her husband was pure.


Dobbin then tries to persuade Joseph to stay away from Becky, but is accused of meddling. At dinner, after Becky’s arrival, Georgy recognizes her from when she was gambling (and wearing a mask). She asks him to keep that a secret and he does.


Dobbin has dinner with Tapeworm, who, after prompting, tells Dobbin all about Becky. Amelia will not see him until the next afternoon and then he has to speak and hint of what he knows in front of Becky. Amelia is still angry with him, but agrees to speak alone with him. He says goodbye to her and breaks the chain between them as he ‘declared his independence and superiority.’ Becky eavesdrops on their conversation and sees Dobbin has a noble heart (and recognizes that Amelia plays with it). Becky writes him a note, which beseeches him to stay as she will be able to ‘serve him with A’.


Later, as they see Dobbin packing to leave, Georgy defies his mother and Joseph and rushes down to him. Georgy gives Dobbin the note from Becky; he initially looks pleased, but then tears it up when he sees who it is from. Georgy is inconsolable at his departure.


In the final chapter, Becky wins everyone round and keeps referring to Dobbin in Amelia’s presence. When her boxes finally arrive, she puts up the portrait of Joseph on an elephant which she bought years ago. This flatters him, of course, especially as Becky insists she saved it all of this time out of affection for him.


The group then travel to Ostend and Becky decides Amelia should marry Dobbin. This is highlighted when she sees how vulnerable Amelia is in the company of crude men such as Major Loder and Captain Rook. When Amelia says she will not marry again as she is unable to forget her husband, Becky is brutally honest and calls Osborne ‘that selfish humbug, that low-bred cockney dandy’. She also reveals that Osborne would have jilted her except Dobbin forced him to keep his word. After also informing her that Osborne sneered at her behind her back, she shows her the note he gave her in her bouquet. It says that he wants to run away with Becky.


Becky soothes Amelia, and Amelia does not cry as much as might have been expected. Becky tells her to write to Dobbin and Amelia admits that she has already done so that morning.


The novel ends with Dobbin coming from England and they finally marry. He gives up his army service and they rent a home near Queen’s Crawley. Amelia and Jane become close and she is asked to be the godmother to Amelia and Dobbin’s child. Little Rawdon and Georgy also become friends.


Joseph stays in Becky’s company and they go to live in Brussels in separate rooms. Dobbin comes to help him when his lawyer gives Dobbin the news that he is infirm and his life is heavily insured. Joseph is afraid of Becky, but stays with her. He dies three months later and Becky is eventually paid out on the insurance.


After the death of Rawdon and Sir Pitt, little Rawdon inherits Queen’s Crawley and Becky frequents Bath and Cheltenham and performs charitable work. Finally, the narrator asks which of us ‘is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire?’


Analysis - Chapters Sixty Four, Sixty Five, Sixty Six and Sixty Seven

As the novel is brought to a close, the ends are tied up rather neatly. There is some redemption offered for Becky as she plays a part in bringing Dobbin and Amelia together, although Amelia had already written to him before Becky’s revelations. There are strong suggestions that Becky has also killed Joseph, however, which tells the reader this ‘little adventuress’ is as greedy for money as she was at the beginning of the novel. This is, after all, a novel without a hero and Becky’s continued moral ambivalence maintains its realistic edge. The references to her charitable work in later life may be interpreted as implausible or self-serving (but not selfless).

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