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Symbolism In A Tale of Two Cities

An English Project by Otto Hottendorf, Sean Kotta, and Michael Dayton
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Otto Hottendorf

on 25 February 2013

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Transcript of Symbolism In A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities By Otto Hottendorf Sean Kotta and Michael Dayton Period 1 February 24, 2013 What exactly is a symbol? In Literature, a symbol is defined as: a word or object that stands for another word or object. A good example of a symbol is the dove, which stands for peace. Example # 1 "The basin fell to the ground broken, and the water flowed to the feet of Madame Defarge, By strange stern ways, and through much staining blood, these feet had come to meet that water." Page 350 Book Three, Chapter 14 The Knitting Done The water symbolizes everything that is pure and clean, like Miss Pross and her stern ways, while Madame Defarge's feet are "stained" by blood, and now the two meet unexpectedly. This quote shows reveals the age-old conflict of Good v.s. Evil in the story, with Miss Pross fighting Madame Defarge. Example #2 "'Are you dying for him?' She whispered. 'And his wife and child. Hush! Yes.'" Page 339 Book 3, Chapter 13 Fifty-two In this example, Sydney Carton symbolizes bravery, honor, and courage, because he sacrifices his life for others. This quote shows the final attempt that Sydney makes at turning his life around, and he does succeed by sacrificing himself for Charles and the Manettes. Example #3 "Nine gone forever, ten gone forever, eleven gone forever twelve coming on to pass away." Page 333 Book Three, Chapter 13 Fifty-two In this quote, the numbers symbolize the hours of Charles Darnay's life that were whittling away while he was in prison. This quote shows us how prison truly means isolation. There was nothing for Darnay to do, nothing but count the hours that he has spent in prison. Example #4 "'I am the resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.'" Page 359 Book Three, Chapter 15 The Footsteps Die Out for Ever Carton repeats this over and over, making him symbolic of Jesus, who did the same thing. Carton believes that by sacrificing himself, he will absolve him of his past mistakes. Example #5 "The murmuring of many voices, the upturning of many faces, the pressing on of many footsteps in the outskirts of the crowd, so that it swells forward in a mass like one great heave of water, all flashes away." Page 359 Book Three, Chapter 15 The Footsteps Die Out for Ever In this quote, the water flashing away symbolizes how quickly Carton's life has ended. The guillotine was created to provide a quick execution, and this sentence clearly illustrates it. Example #6 "The people in possession of the house has let them in at the gate, and they had rushed to work at the grindstone; it had evidently been set up there for their purpose as in a convenient and retired spot." Page 250 Book Three, Chapter 2 The Grindstone The grindstone represents the pain and suffering of the people of France, because working on the grindstone is hard work. This grindstone in the courtyard is quite the mysterious object. It was placed in the courtyard because it was cast away from its working apparatus. It represented the hard life peasents lived, so the broke it and cast it away. Example #7 "Checking his steps, which had begun to tend towards an object, he took a turn or two in the already darkening street." Page 323 Book Three, Chapter 12 Darkness In this quote, darkness symbolizes death, and Syndey Carton is slowly strolling towards his death. Darkness plays a huge factor in this novel, but in this particular scene, Sydney is portrayed as walking down his own dark path towards death by himself, metaphorically. Example #8 "With an inconsistency as monstrous as anything in this awful nightmare, they had helped the healer, and tended the wounded man with the gentlest solicitude-had made a litter for him and escorted him carefully from the spot-had then caught up their weapons and plunged anew into a butchery so dreadful, that the Doctor had covered his eyes with his hands, and swooned away in the midst of it." Page 259 Book Three, Chapter 4 Calm in Storm In this quote, Dickens shows us just how much the revolutionaries hated and despised the aristocrats. As previously stated, this quote shows us the view of the peasants during this time period. They absolutely despised the noblemen, even though some nobles might not be evil. Example #9 The shadow attendant on Madame Defarge and her party seemed to fall so threatening and dark on the child." Page 256 Book Three, Chapter 3 The Shadow This shadow symbolizes the evil that is Madame Defarge and the company she keeps, and how she wants to devour or kill the Evermonde bloodline, even the children. Madame Defarge and her friends represent the dark side of the revolution, the ones who want vengeance. Example #10 "But the shadow of the manner of these Defarges was dark upon himself, for all that, and in his secret mind it troubled him." Page 257 Book Three, Chapter 3 The Shadow In this quote, the darkness symbolizes the mysteries surrounding the Defarges and their plans. At this point in the story, we, being omniscient, have known the Defarges to be evil, however our main characters have not, and it is revealed to them now. Example #11 " He [Monseigneur the Marquis] was a man of about sixty, handsomely dressed, haughty in manner, and with a face like a fine mask." Page 100 Book Two, Chapter 7 Monseigneur in Town In this quote, the Marquis represents everything that the peasantry hated about the nobles and upper class. We are introduced to the Marquis and, on a lesser level, the nobility, in this quote. He gives us a better perspective on why the French Revolution occurred. Example #12 "It was a heavy mass of building, that chateau of Monsieur the Marquis, with a large stone court-yard before it, and two stone sweeps of staircase meeting in a stone terrace before the principal door." Page 111 Book Two, Chapter 9 The Gorgon's Head The stone is this quote is not just what the Marquis's palace is made up, it is what he is made of as well. He lives with no one, has no empathy for anyone, and has no connection with anyone, save his nephew. He has a heart of stone. Even though the nobility, and the Marquis live extravagant lives, they live relatively lonely lives. From a psychological standpoint, perhaps they act out on the poor because of this. I think this is what Dickens was trying to point out. Example #13 "The Gorgon had surveyed the building again in the night, and had added the one stone face wanting; the stone face for which it had waited through about two hundred years. It lay back on the pillow on Monsieur the Marquis." Page 120-121 Book Two, Chapter 9 The Gorgon's Head In greek mythology, the Gorgon is specifically Medusa, and when she looks at people, they become petrified; turned to stone. When the Marquis was assassinated, his face was turned to stone, much like her heart. Medusa is portrayed as wanting revenge on the Marquis family, just like the rebels. The death of the Marquis signifies the end of an era. Example #14 "In the glow, the water of the chateau fountain seemed to turn to blood, and the stone faces crimsoned." Page 119 Book Two, Chapter 9 The Gorgon's Head In this quote, Dickens uses the fountain and the statues to hint at the death of the Marquis. As we stated before, the death of the Marquis signifies the beginning of the end of the ruling class in France. Example #15 "When great masses of stone and timber fell, the face with the two dints in the nose became obscured: anon struggled out of the smoke again, as if it were the face of the cruel Marquis, burning at the stake and contending with the fire." Page 222 Book Two, Chapter 23 Fire Rises In this quote, the chateau literally represents the cruelness o the Marquis, and the only way to truly dispose of him is to burn the whole thing down. At this point, the government has been overthrown, and the last of the nobility are being rounded up. Example #16 "For they [the feet] are headlong, mad,and dangerous; and in the years so long after the breaking of the cask at Defarge's wine-shop door, they are not easily purified when once stained red." Page 210 Book Two, Chapter 21 Echoing Footsteps The feet are a clear symbol of the Rebels, and it is also a reference to Lucie's children. The rebels hate anyone related to nobles, and their feet are stained with blood, and Lucie's child could be the next to stain them. This quote is significant because it foreshadows the appearance of the Manettes in France, while following Charles. Example #17 "'No you mayn't. I'm a going-as your mother knows- a fishing." Page 150 Book Two, Chapter 14 The Honest Tradesman In this quote, fishing is not fishing at all. Jerry is talking to his son about what his job is, what he does for a living. However, he does not fish, he is a grave robber. He is a fisher of dead people. Grave robbing has never exactly been uncommon throughout history, but it has always been viewed as disgraceful, and only the most wretched people are portrayed as potential grave robbers. Jerry Cruncher is just such a person. Example #18 "The lion then composed himself on his back on a sofa on one side of the drinking-table, while the jackal sat at his own paper-bestrewn table proper, on the other side of it, with the bottles and glasses ready to his hand." Page 80 Book Two, Chapter 5 The Jackal In this quote, Sydney Carton represents the jackal who scavenges after the lion's kills, who is Stryver. Sydney can never be a lion because he's become too comfortable with being the jackal. Example #19 "The court was all astir and a-buzz, when the black sheep-whom many fell away from in dread-pressed him into an obscure corner among to crowd." Page 301 Book Three, Chapter 9 The Game Made The black sheep that dickens refers to are like the rebels who fought. They are sheep because they follow their leaders without question, and black because they are evil and want revenge. These people wanted freedom out of the revolution, and now they are enslaved by their own leaders, brainwashed even. Example #20 "So much was closing in about the women who sat knitting, that they their very selves were closing in around a structure yet unbuilt, where they were to sit knitting, knitting, counting dropping heads. Page 176-177 Book Two, Chapter 16 Still Knitting These women are not just knitting wool caps. No, these women are creating a hit list, people who will be killed during this revolution, and hiding it in their pot holders. Creepy right? These women came up with their own way to pass along code, so that the French soldiers loyal to the king would not know what was happening, and as a result, probably kept the revolution from being crushed. Example #21 "'Buried how long?' 'Almost eighteen years.' 'You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?' 'Long ago.'" Page 13 Book One, Chapter 3 The Night Shadows Being "buried alive" symbolizes the isolation that Dr. Manette endured while imprisoned. This is when Dr. Manette, is first mentioned in the story, and so, a significant point. Example #22 "A LARGE cask of wine had been dropped and broken, in the street." Page 26 Book One, Chapter 5 The Wine Shop The cask, upon hitting the ground becomes empty, a hollow shell. In this, it also becomes a symbol of the common person's hunger. This is exemplified as they all assault the wine like rabid dogs. This is significant, because it shows the reader just how poor these people are. Example #23 "The time was to come when that wine too would be spilled on the street-stones, and when the stain of it would be red upon many there." Page 27 Book One, Chapter 5 The Wine Shop The "wine" that Dickens refers to now is not wine at all, it is blood. He is using the wine as a symbol for the blood spilled in the revolution. This is the first foreshadowing of the French Revolution in the book. Example #24 "'How goes it Jacques?' said one of these three to Monsieur Defarge. 'Is all the spilt wine swallowed?' 'Every drop, Jacques,' answered Monsieur Defarge. Page 30 Book One, Chapter 5 The Wine Shop The name Jacques is a symbol for the revolution. Rebels would all call each other by the same name so that they could not be arrested. This was a common code for rebels in France, it was also used in the revolution of 1358. Example #25 "He opened this, carefully, on his knee, and it contained a very little quantity of hair: not more than one or two long golden hairs, which he had, in some old day, wound off upon his finger." Page 41-42 Book One, Chapter 6 The Shoemaker The curling of Lucie's hair around his finger is a symbol for his ties to the present, while he was in the Bastille. This moment is when Dr. Manette recognizes his daughter and they are reunited. Example #26 "'Did you ask me for my name?' 'Assuredly I did.' 'One Hundred and Five, North Tower.' 'Is that all?' 'One Hundred and Five, North Tower.'" Page 39 Book One, Chapter 6 The Shoemaker The fact that Dr. Manette does not know his own name, just his prison number symbolizes the uniformity of the prison system. This is important because it appears as if Lucie and Mr. Lorry have traveled to France for nothing, her father cannot remember who he is. Example #27 "When the Attorney-General ceased, a buzz arose in the court as if a cloud of great blue-flies were swarming about the prisoner, in anticipation of what was he was soon to become." Page 60 Book Two, Chapter 3 A Disappointment The blue-flies are a symbol to decribe the audience. The audience wanted the prisoner executed as much as blue-flies want a carcase to feed from. This is significant because it shows how brutal and blood thirsty people were. Example #28 "'For the love of Heaven, of justice, of generosity, of the honour of your noble name!' was the poor prisoner's cry with which he strengthened his sinking heart, as he left all that was dear on earth behind him, and floated away for the Loadstone Rock." Page 234-235 Book Two, Chapter 24 Drawn to the Loadstone Rock Lodestone ore is a magnetic rock, and is symbolic of France because Charles is drawn to the events happening in France. This is the end of the second book. Example #29 "But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was to be atheistical and traitorous." Page 2 Book One, Chapter 1 The Period The Woodman is a symbol for Fate, and the Farmer is a symbol for Death, and they work together to destroy France. This sets the scene for the upcoming destruction during the French Revolution. 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