Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 183
One of the first themes readers will notice in The Virginians, by William Makepeace Thackeray, is the importance Rachel Esmond Warrington places on social status. She even goes as far as removing her legal surname, Warrington, so that people would know that she is part of the noble Esmond clan.
Rachel also rules her plantation like a dictator, and this further emphasizes the theme of nobility. Like the rulers of Europe, she wields her power as the "queen" of the plantation with a heavy hand. The social and political hierarchy of the plantation is clearly drawn.
The other prominent theme in the novel is loyalty, which is illustrated by the love between Harry and George, the sons of Rachel. George goes into debt paying for Harry's release from prison in England.
They both had a reputation of being social outcasts—or not high enough in the family's noble hierarchy—in England, and are betrayed by their own kin. They quickly learn that the trio—Harry, George and Rachel—are the only people important in their lives, and that should always support each other.