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사회풍자 소설로서의 Vanity Fair

Title
사회풍자 소설로서의 Vanity Fair
Other Titles
Vanity Fair as Social Satire : with reference to the character of Becky Sharp
Authors
이아영
Issue Date
1992
Department/Major
대학원 영어영문학과
Keywords
사회풍자 소설Vanity FairBecky Sharp
Publisher
이화여자대학교 대학원
Degree
Master
Abstract
William Makepeace Thackeray는 사실주의에 기반을 둔 풍자가로서 물질주의와 속물근성에 오염된 19세기 영국 사회를 풍자한다. '풍자'란 병든 부위를 드러내어 알림으로써 치료 효과를 기대하는 문학상의 방법으로, Thackeray는 그의 작품 Vanity Fair에서 사회와 인간 삶에 대한 풍자를 통하여 그 의도를 성취한다. 당시 산업혁명으로 인한 사회적, 경제적 변화는 전 사회에 걸친 금전숭배 사상과 속물주의 경향을 가중 시켰는데, 작가는 이러한 사회 현상에 대한 냉철한 관찰자로서 작품을 통해 올바른 현실인식에 의한 자각으로 독자를 유도한다. Thackeray는 모든 인간은 필연적으로 불완전한 존재라고 믿으며, 사회 속의 인간은 어떠한 형태로든지 'snob'으로서 살아간다고 본다. 그는 'snob'을 'He who Meanly admires mean things'라고 정의한다. 속물주의와 물질만능 사상이 지배적인 사회에서는 대부분의 인간이 속물이거나 속물 근성에의 위협을 받고 있으며 또한 그들은 각자 나름대로의 허영과 환상을 가진다. 이는, 하류부터 상층까지 전 사회에 걸쳐 부패와 오염으로 나타나는데 Thackeray는 Vanity Fair에서, 허영을 쫓다가 결국 환멸을 경험하는 여러 인물들의 사실적인 삶을 제시함으로써 인간 소망의 덧없음 (The Vanity of Human Wishes)을 강조한다. 본 연구에서는 당시의 시대 상황을 형상화하는 Becky Sharp라는 인물에 촛점을 맞춰 악한(villainess)으로서, 또한 사회의 희생물(victim)로서의 그녀의 삶을 동시에 고찰 해 보기로 한다 서로 상반된 듯한, 그녀의 두 가지 형태의 삶은 '사회 풍자'라는 Thackeray의 의도로서 집약된다. 사회 개혁가(social-regenerator)로서 시대의 변화의 필요성을 감지한 그는 Vanity Fair를 통해 독자들의 명확한 현실인식에 의한 자아발견을 촉구하며, 나아가 보다 나은 세상(better world)으로의 사회 개선을 기대하는 것이다.;In Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray depicts the materialistic and snobbish nineteenth century English society in a realistic social satire. Satire can be defined to be the genre in which 'a diseased part of society' is exposed and made public, and by this process of exposure it is intended that the social evil be recognised and cured. This is Thackeray's intention in Vanity Fair, and he succeeds through his acute and wide-ranging portrayal of the human vices which permeated Victorian society. Victorian society was a child of the Industrial Revolution, and the social and economic changes unleashed by the revolution accentuated the snobbery and material ism inherent in it. Through a clinical and precise depiction, Thackeray arouses the reader's disgust against such social vices and awakens in the reader's heart the desire to curb such impulses in oneself. Thackeray believes that all human beings are imperfect, and that all humans living in this society are snobs. Thackeray's definition of a snob is 'one who meanly admires mean things'. In a society dominated by materialism and snobbery, people are either snobs or threatened by snobbery, and each is prey to their our vanity and false illusion. Life is a fair in which such vain illusions are sought after and procured, and Thackeray gives us sombre and vast-ranging depiction of an entire society which worships such idols of the market-place. All human beings, from the lowest classes to the nobility worship Mammonism with a desperate and frenetic passion, and consequently the society in which they live is rotten and corrupt. In Vanity fair, Thackeray depicts realistically the lives of various people who seek such illusions and are ultimately disillusioned, and stresses the futility and ultimate vanity of human wi shes. This study examines the central character of Becky Sharp, who personifies the faults and virtues of the age, both as a villainess and as victim of the society in which she lives. These two contrasting patterns of her life are revolved by Thackeray's intended purpose of social satire. For Becky Sharp is both a true reflection of the corrupt society in which she lives and simultaneously its victim. She is at once the personification of the forces which drive people in her corrupt and materialistic society and a consummate exponent of the methods through which these aims are attained. She uses people ruthlessly and is a cynical social climber, making ample use of her brains and body, the sole weapons given to her at birth to enable her to better her lot. Becky is amoral and ruthless, but the reader's sympathy is directed to her because we are shown the need for what she does. Her behaviour arises from her circumstances, and the reader is made to feel successively admiration, disgust and finally pity as she struggles with what has been given to her as her fate. As Becky herself remarks, she could be a good woman if she had five thousand a year. Becky Sharp is neither physically destroyed nor reduced to beggary at the end of the novel, but she is a victim in the following sense. her nature has been twisted and corrupted by her struggle, and she is made to feel that all that she has acquired through bitter struggle and at bitter cost to herself and those around her is utterly worthless. Thackeray was as a social reformer who felt keenly the need for change. It was his intention to make the reader of Vanity Fair aware of the real state of society then prevailing and thus induce the reader to attempt a critical and searching self-examination, which would if undertaken collectively lead to major social reformation and to a better world. Becky Sharp is both personification and indictment of Victorian England, and by making the public recoil from her and pity her, it is Thackeray's intention that they reflect on the kind of society that made her what she is.
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