Thackeray made clear, both in his role as the narrator of Vanity Fair and in his private correspondence about the book, that he meant it to be not just entertaining but instructive. Like all satire, Vanity Fair has a mission and a moral. The first published installment had, on its cover, an illustration of a congregation listening to a preacher; both speaker and listeners were shown with donkey ears. Inside the book, Thackeray explains the illustration thus: "that Becky is allowed to live, and to live well, is perfectly consistent with Thackeray's view of life and morality....
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