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Synopsis

Even before the last part of the serial was published, critics hailed Vanity Fair as a literary treasure. Although the critics were superlative in their praise, they expressed disappointment at the unremittingly dark portrayal of human nature, fearing Thackeray had taken his dismal metaphor too far. In response to his critics, Thackeray explained that he saw people for the most part "abominably foolish and selfish". The unhappy ending was intended to inspire readers to look inward at their own shortcomings.

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