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A Tale Of Two Cities
Darnay is sent to the Conciergerie and sentenced to be guillotined the next day. Carton wanders into the Defarges' wine shop, where he overhears Madame Defarge talking about her plans to have both Lucie and little Lucie condemned. Manette returns, shattered after spending the day in many failed attempts to save Darnay's life, he falls into an obsessive search for his shoemaking implements.
Carton urges Lorry to flee Paris with Lucie, her father, and Little Lucie, asking them to leave as soon as he joins. Shortly before the executions are to begin, Solomon sneaks Carton into the prison for a visit with Darnay. The two men trade clothes, and Carton drugs Darnay and has Solomon carry him out. Carton has decided to be executed in his place, taking advantage of their similar appearances, and has given his own identification papers to Lorry to present on Darnay's behalf.
Following Carton's earlier instructions, the family and Lorry flee to England with Darnay, who gradually regains consciousness during the journey.
Meanwhile, Madame Defarge, armed with a dagger and pistol, goes to the Manette residence, hoping to apprehend Lucie and little Lucie and bring them in for execution. However, the family is already gone and Miss Pross stays behind to confront and delay Madame Defarge. As the two women struggle, Madame Defarge's pistol discharges, killing her and causing Miss Pross to go permanently deaf from noise and shock. The novel concludes with the guillotining of Carton. As he is waiting to board the tumbril , he is approached by a seamstress, also condemned to death, who mistakes him for Darnay with whom she had been imprisoned earlier but realises the truth once she sees him at close range.
Awed by his unselfish courage and sacrifice, she asks to stay close to him and he agrees. Upon their arrival at the guillotine, Carton comforts her, telling her that their ends will be quick but that there is no Time or Trouble "in the better land where After Carton tearfully hears the execution of the seamstress, his final thoughts flash in his mind as he is pushed towards the slot where the blade would fall. Carton's unspoken last thoughts are prophetic: .
I see Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance [a lieutenant of Madame Defarge], the Juryman, the Judge, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing by this retributive instrument, before it shall cease out of its present use. I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.
I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father, aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace.
I see the good old man [Lorry], so long their friend, in ten years' time enriching them with all he has, and passing tranquilly to his reward.
A Tale of Two Cities
I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman, weeping for me on the anniversary of this day. I see her and her husband, their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I know that each was not more honoured and held sacred in the other's soul than I was in the souls of both.
I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, fore-most of just judges and honoured men, bringing a boy of my name, with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place—then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day's disfigurement—and I hear him tell the child my story, with a tender and a faltering voice.
It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known. Dickens also used material from an account of imprisonment during the Terror by Beaumarchais, and records of the trial of a French spy published in The Annual Register.
The chapter novel was published in 31 weekly instalments in Dickens' new literary periodical titled All the Year Round.
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From April to November , Dickens also republished the chapters as eight monthly sections in green covers. All but three of Dickens' previous novels had appeared as monthly instalments prior to publication as books. The last ran 30 weeks later, on 26 November. A Tale of Two Cities has been cited as one of the best-selling novels of all time.
A Tale of Two Cities Thrift Study Edition by Charles Dickens (Paperback, 2009)
Dickens uses literal translations of French idioms for characters who cannot speak English, such as "What the devil do you do in that galley there?!! Borges quipped: "Dickens lived in London. In his book A Tale of Two Cities , based on the French Revolution, we see that he really could not write a tale of two cities. He was a resident of just one city: London. In Dickens' England, resurrection always sat firmly in a Christian context. Most broadly, Sydney Carton is resurrected in spirit at the novel's close even as he, paradoxically, gives up his physical life to save Darnay's.
More concretely, "Book the First" deals with the rebirth of Dr. Manette from the living death of his incarceration. Resurrection appears for the first time when Mr. Lorry replies to the message carried by Jerry Cruncher with the words "Recalled to Life". Resurrection also appears during Mr. Lorry's coach ride to Dover, as he constantly ponders a hypothetical conversation with Dr. Manette: "Buried how long? Manette's revival and imagines himself "digging" up Dr. Manette from his grave.
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Resurrection is a major theme in the novel. In Jarvis Lorry's thoughts of Dr. Manette, resurrection is first spotted as a theme. It is also the last theme: Carton's sacrifice. Dickens originally wanted to call the entire novel Recalled to Life. This instead became the title of the first of the novel's three "books". Jerry is also part of the recurring theme: he himself is involved in death and resurrection in ways the reader does not yet know. The first piece of foreshadowing comes in his remark to himself: "You'd be in a blazing bad way, if recalling to life was to come into fashion, Jerry!
Five years later, one cloudy and very dark night in June  , Mr. Lorry reawakens the reader's interest in the mystery by telling Jerry it is "Almost a night Jerry responds firmly that he has never seen the night do that. It turns out that Jerry Cruncher's involvement with the theme of resurrection is that he is what the Victorians called a " Resurrection Man ", one who illegally digs up dead bodies to sell to medical men there was no legal way to procure cadavers for study at that time.
The opposite of resurrection is of course death.
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Death and resurrection appear often in the novel. Dickens is angered that in France and England, courts hand out death sentences for insignificant crimes. In France, peasants had formerly been put to death without any trial, at the whim of a noble. The demolition of Dr. Manette's shoe-making workbench by Miss Pross and Mr. Lorry is described as "the burning of the body".
So wicked do destruction and secrecy appear to honest minds, that Mr. Lorry and Miss Pross, while engaged in the commission of their deed and in the removal of its traces, almost felt, and almost looked, like accomplices in a horrible crime. Sydney Carton's martyrdom atones for all his past wrongdoings. He even finds God during the last few days of his life, repeating Christ's soothing words, "I am the resurrection and the life". In the broadest sense, at the end of the novel, Dickens foresees a resurrected social order in France, rising from the ashes of the old one.
Hans Biedermann writes that water "is the fundamental symbol of all the energy of the unconscious—an energy that can be dangerous when it overflows its proper limits a frequent dream sequence. Early in the book, Dickens suggests this when he writes, "[T]he sea did what it liked, and what it liked was destruction. After Gaspard murders the Marquis, he is "hanged there forty feet high—and is left hanging, poisoning the water.
After Gaspard's death, the storming of the Bastille is led from the St. Antoine neighbourhood, at least by the Defarges; "As a whirlpool of boiling waters has a centre point, so, all this raging circled around Defarge's wine shop, and every human drop in the cauldron had a tendency to be sucked towards the vortex Darnay's jailer is described as "unwholesomely bloated in both face and person, as to look like a man who had been drowned and filled with water. During the fight with Miss Pross, Madame Defarge clings to her with "more than the hold of a drowning woman". Commentators on the novel have noted the irony that Madame Defarge is killed by her own gun, and perhaps Dickens means by the above quote to suggest that such vicious vengefulness as Madame Defarge's will eventually destroy even its perpetrators.
So many read the novel in a Freudian light, as exalting the British superego over the French id. As is frequent in European literature, good and evil are symbolized by light and darkness.
Lucie Manette is the light, as represented literally by her name; and Madame Defarge is darkness. Darkness represents uncertainty, fear, and peril. It is dark when Mr. Lorry rides to Dover; it is dark in the prisons; dark shadows follow Madame Defarge; dark, gloomy doldrums disturb Dr. Manette; his capture and captivity are shrouded in darkness; the Marquis' estate is burned in the dark of night; Jerry Cruncher raids graves in the darkness; Charles' second arrest also occurs at night.
Both Lucie and Mr. Lorry feel the dark threat that is Madame Defarge. Although Mr. Here's where you'll find analysis about the book as a whole, from the major themes and ideas to analysis of style, tone, point of view, and more. Find the quotes you need to support your essay, or refresh your memory of the book by reading these key quotes. Test your knowledge of A Tale of Two Cities with our quizzes and study questions, or go further with essays on context, background, and movie adaptations, plus links to the best resources around the web.
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