The Pilgrim's Progress

by John Bunyan

Start Free Trial

Student Question

What purpose does the town of Vanity Fair serve in The Pilgrim's Progress? Also, what is the book's central theme?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is an extended allegory for a Christian's journey through the world to Heaven.  The protagonist is aptly named Christian, and along his journey he faces various difficulties and obstacles that threaten to make him stray from his path to the Celestial City.  One of these obstacles is the town of Vanity and the town's fair, which serves, like other places in the story such as the Hill of Difficulty and the Valley of the Shadow of Death, simply to lie in the pilgrim's path; so, that would be the answer to your first question.  The message that Christian learns in Vanity Fair relates to the message of The Pilgrim's Progress as a whole, which is that material wealth (like Christian could have obtained at Vanity Fair) does not compare to the glory of entering Heaven.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial