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Men's Wives   By: (1811-1863)

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Men's Wives by William Makepeace Thackeray is a captivating tale that explores the complexities of marriage and relationships in the Victorian era. Set in England during the early 19th century, the novel takes readers on a journey through the lives of various characters, shedding light on the societal expectations and roles assigned to men and women.

Thackeray masterfully weaves together multiple storylines, intertwining the lives of his characters in unexpected and intriguing ways. From the ambitious painter Harry Foker, who yearns for both financial success and love, to the headstrong Mrs. Major Pendennis, desperate to secure her son’s happiness and future, each character is vividly depicted with their own hopes, desires, and flaws.

One of the main themes explored in the novel is the notion of societal expectations and the constraints they impose on individuals. Thackeray skillfully contrasts the restricted roles of women in society with the freedom and frivolity enjoyed by men. Through the characters of Laura Bell and Arthur Pendennis, he delves into the complexities of a marriage where a woman's social status and financial security are tied to her husband's actions and reputation.

Thackeray's portrayal of the male characters is equally thought-provoking. He challenges the traditional perception of men as the dominant figures in relationships, exposing their vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This nuanced approach adds depth to the narrative and allows readers to empathize with the characters on a deeper level.

The author's clever use of humor throughout the novel is another noteworthy aspect. Thackeray's sharp wit and satirical observations provide comic relief in moments of tension, making Men's Wives an enjoyable read. The way he pokes fun at societal conventions and the superficiality of certain characters reveals his astute understanding of human nature.

However, at times the pacing of the novel feels uneven, with certain sections dragging on while others are rushed. Additionally, the language and style may prove challenging for readers unaccustomed to Victorian literature. Nevertheless, these minor flaws do not detract significantly from the overall enjoyment of the story.

In conclusion, Men's Wives is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that offers a fascinating insight into the complexities of marriage and societal expectations during the Victorian era. Thackeray's skillful storytelling, vivid characterizations, and satirical humor combine to create an engrossing tale that will resonate with readers interested in exploring the intricacies of human relationships.

First Page:


By William Makepeace Thackeray


The Ravenswing.

I. Which is entirely introductory contains an account of Miss Crump, her suitors, and her family circle.

II. In which Mr. Walker makes three attempts to ascertain the dwelling of Morgiana.

III. What came of Mr. Walker's discovery of the "Bootjack."

IV. In which the heroine has a number more lovers, and cuts a very dashing figure in the world.

V. In which Mr. Walker falls into difficulties, and Mrs. Walker makes many foolish attempts to rescue him.

VI. In which Mr. Walker still remains in difficulties, but shows great resignation under his misfortunes.

VII. In which Morgiana advances towards fame and honour, and in which several great literary characters make their appearance.

VIII. In which Mr. Walker shows great prudence and forbearance.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Berry.

I. The fight at Slaughter House.

II. The combat at Versailles.

Dennis Haggarty's wife.




In a certain quiet and sequestered nook of the retired village of London perhaps in the neighbourhood of Berkeley Square, or at any rate somewhere near Burlington Gardens there was once a house of entertainment called the "Bootjack Hotel... Continue reading book >>

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