The Bonfire of the Vanities

The Bonfire of Veracity

The world that we live in is governed by a certain reality: when events take place, the fact that they happened becomes an absolute truth. Human beings, however, have the freedom to skew that truth by lying. Why, and under what conditions, would we be dishonest about things that have happened? This is one of the many questions that Tom Wolfe addresses in his novel "The Bonfire of the Vanities". Wolfe satirizes 1980s New York City using stereotypes and exaggeration. Many of Wolfe's characters are willing to disregard the truth if it serves their own selfish needs. Because these characters represent the society of that era, Wolfe is conveying the idea that the denizens of 1980s New York City are more than willing to twist the truth when it suits them. Furthermore, even individuals who originally intend to stick to the truth will be forced to stray from it as a consequence of all the other corruption. Sometimes what is considered "true" can be so far from actual fact that truth becomes almost irrelevant. Consequently, he who sets out to abide by the truth must, at times, disregard it in the name of practicality. In essence, New York has become a place where everyone must eventually, in one way or another,...

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