Bonfire Of The Vanities Analysis

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Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities revolves around the affluent New York City bond trader Sherman McCoy, whose secure life crumbles after he is involved in a “hit-and-run” event that fatally injures black Henry Lamb. Although his mistress, Maria Ruskin, is the actual perpetrator of the reckless endangerment, attention is diverted to McCoy instead. Attorneys, political figures, and the police corner McCoy, pressuring McCoy to admit to his non-existent faults related to the event. But even more merciless is the media, which incorrectly informs the general public with distorted truths regarding the Henry Lamb case. Peter Fallow, a journalist for The City Light tabloid, is the symbol of the corrupted media due to his greedy motivations for fame without knowing the weight of words on others. Peter Fallow’s alcoholism creates an impression of the promise of failure. Often late to work, Fallow often wakes up with excruciating hangovers and lies about his morning absences once he finally reaches the newsroom. However, he meets a turn in the prospects of his career when he meets Al Vogel. Vogel tries to convince Fallow to write about Henry Lamb’s case. Although Fallow is disinterested at first, “the word fire was what did it” when Vogel promises Fallow that “[his boss] won’t fire [Fallow] if [he] comes in with a hell of a good story from the low life” (pg. 218). Fallow, who already has a terrible relationship with his boss, needs to use the Henry Lamb case as an opportunity to

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