According to their blog: “Way back when, in 2012, the Classics Club came into being. A monthly meme was devised to bring clubbers together to chat about classics. A question was posed for you to ponder and discuss. You could write a blog post and leave the link or simply put your thoughts in the comments. Earlier this year, no doubt thanks to a certain virus disrupting our regular lives, I had a few requests to revive this tradition. I have struggled to keep my own blog going, let alone anything else during this time. This post contains no pressure or expectation for widespread participation. Everyone is going through their own thing right now. But if you feel like engaging in a classic bookish chat, then feel free to jump on board The Classic Meme 2.0. This is the 2020 reboot.“
Introduction: I discovered this meme while investigating their “spins” (where you make a numbered list of 20 classics you want to read, and then they choose a number and then the corresponding book is the one you have to read and review). I haven’t done a spin yet (although I might try one later this year), so decided this would be a good way to start getting more involved with the group!
Our latest question for you to ponder is:
As always, we are very relaxed about how you interpret the question. The idea is to have fun, talk classics and get a little social.
This is only my first time doing this meme, so… be gentle, okay?
So… who is my favorite classics character? Goodness… There are so many to choose from! But despite how controversial this choice may be, I think I’ll go with…
Rebecca “Becky” Sharp from “Vanity Fair” by William Makepeace Thackeray.
Why Becky? Well, although she isn’t really a terribly good person, she’s nobody’s fool. Sure, she gets into trouble, and gets others in trouble as well, but she knows what she wants out of life. She starts out as an orphan, with no means of income, and with her determined personality, we all know she isn’t the type of girl who would ever be content remain as a governess or work in service to keep herself alive. No, she is always thinking ahead, working the long game, figuring out the angles. Knowing her ability to use here “feminine charms” she tries to figure out the best way to climb the social and economic ladder.
Yes, this isn’t a terribly feminist thing to do, but you’ve got to admit that despite how many pitfalls she runs into and mistakes she makes along the way, Becky is unapologetic about who she is, and what she wants. True, she does step over her only female friend Amelia to get what she wants, but “Emmy” is stupid and wealthy (at least to begin with), and at least Becky makes good for Emmy in the end. Of course, you might wonder if Becky is ever really happy, and Thackeray certainly makes you believe that she probably isn’t, but she also doesn’t end up in the poor house, or dead of starvation before her time. Like I said, she isn’t a good person, but you’ve got to admire a woman who is that single-minded, and motivated by such ambition.
Another reason I like Becky Sharp so much is because she’s SO different from the types of women portrayed by male authors of the 19th century. Yes, I know that she’s a satirical character, but Thackeray also makes her into a very passionate woman, and those passions include hedonistic ones. Mind you, I always feel sorry for her son, because she doesn’t really care for him much, but I suppose if she was a 21st century woman, she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place! I’ve also wondered… what if Thackeray had given her a daughter instead? Would he have had Becky groom her daughter to follow in her mother’s footsteps, or not? Food for thought, right? Perhaps he could have written a sequel using the daughter! (Any Thackeray fan fiction writers out there? If so, here’s your challenge!)