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A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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Transcript of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens

AP English Literature, Period 6
7 October 2013
Group 1 Presentation
Sweden Ababat|Erasmo Robles|Priscilla Vasquez-Housley

Criteria of an
Historical Novel
Dickens' Views
on Certain Issues
3. Charles’ father killed Madame Defarge’s siblings ---> Madame Defarge (as the Revolution leader who decides which people are gon' die) condemns Charles to death
• Madame’s knitting replicates the three Fates of Greek mythology:
“the one woman who had stood conspicuous, knitting, still knitted on with the steadfastness of Fate.” (117)

“that peasant family so injured by the two Evremonde brothers, as that Bastille paper descries, is my family. Defarge, that sister of the mortally wounded boy upon the ground was my sister, that husband was my sister’s husband, that unborn child was their child, that brother was my brother . . .” (351-352)
1. Takes place at a time before the book was written
• The plot takes place before and during the French Revolution (1789-1804), specifically during the years between 1775 and 1792.
• A Tale of Two Cities was published as weekly installments in Dickens’ literary periodical, "All the Year Round", from April 1859 to November 1859.
2. Accurately presents the attitudes of the time
• Cruel upper class:
“You dogs! I would ride over any of you very willingly, and exterminate you from the earth.” – the Marquis (116)
• Oppressed lower class:
“It is better for the poor little plaything to die so, than to live. It has died in a moment without pain.” – Monsieur Defarge (116)
• Passionate revolutionaries:
“A terrible sound arose [in the court] . . . . A sound of craving and eagerness that had nothing articulate in it but blood.” (342)
• Widespread mistrust out of fear of spies:
“the guard suspected the passengers, the passengers suspected one another and the guard, they all suspected everybody else, and the coachman was sure of nothing but the horses,” (12)
• France’s society of spectacle:
“In front of it [the guillotine], seated in chairs, as in a garden of public diversion, are a number of women, busily knitting.” (383)
3. The protagonist (Darnay) has divided loyalties
• He has a noble family lineage
o Monsieur Gabelle, the servant of his cousin the Marquis, calls for Darnay's help in France
• He loves his new family with the Manettes
o Wants to stay with them in England instead of going back to France
4. The resolution is directly related to the time period’s social conflicts
• Social Conflict = the poor class hate the rich class
o Darnay is condemned to death because his father and uncle were nobles who killed two peasants
• Social Conflict = the revolutionaries are irrational and bloodthirsty in their pursuit of justice
o Darnay is condemned to death unjustly – for the crimes of his family not for his own
o Sydney Carton chooses to take his death sentence, which is beheading by the guillotine
1. The Manettes met Charles Darnay when both were travelling from France to England ---> Lucie and her father were able to testify for Charles in his first court hearing ---> Charles and Lucie's relationship developed

“The prisoner was as open in his confidence with me – which arose out of my helpless situation – as he was kind, and good, and useful to my father. I hope,” bursting into tears, “I may not repay him by doing him harm to-day.” (Lucie, 76)
2. Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay share a strong physical resemblance ---> Sydney, fulfilling the promise he made to Lucie, is able to switch places with Charles to die for him
• For the sake of him, Lucie, and little Lucie, and also for his own redemption

“they [Charles and Sydney] were sufficiently like each other to surprise, not only the witness, but everybody present . . . [when Sydney took off his wig] the likeness became much more remarkable.” (78)
1. Revolution Process v. "Rebirth" Process

“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.” (386)
• The revolution goes through three steps. First, suffering must occur to cause oppression for the people. Second, death takes place. Finally, redemption occurs because people free themselves from the stings that hold them to the aristocracy. These three steps also occur when a person is "reborn". First, the person must go through a state of suffering because without hardships the person would not need to be reborn. Second, their suffering causes a mental death. This takes place when the person simply stops trying and dies. Lastly, redemption takes place when the person redeems his or her worth by escaping his or her life of pain and performing a redemptory act.

2. Paris v. London

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness... There were a king with a large jaw, and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France." (7)
This parallelism in the quote is the opening line of the story which shows how contrasting the era was in which the story was told. The parallelism is seen is between light and darkness, foolishness and wisdom and great time and bad times. This form of parallelism is set to create the mood of the setting during that time. During that time the French citizens were starving to death meanwhile the queen and king would be in royal houses feasting like no others. For some it was the best of times and for others it was the worst. This parallelism exemplifies the theme of sharp contrast between the two classes of people, the aristocrats and the peasant.

3. Death in Nature v. Death in Legislation
“Death is Nature's remedy for all things, and why not Legislation's? Accordingly, the forger was put to Death; the utterer of a bad note was put to Death; the unlawful opener of a letter was put to Death; the purloiner of forty shillings and sixpence was put to Death; the holder of a horse at Tellson's door, who made off with it, was put to Death.” (58)
The parallelism found in this quote is what defines the way things were during the rising of the French Revolution. People would be killed for the smallest thing while a person with a much bigger felony was given the same punishment. This quote exemplifies the tone of the story as to how drastic things were during this time. There was no in between it was either live of die, there was no middle ground which parallels the social classes at the time.

4. Charles' Trial in England v. Charles' Trail in Paris

"My old pain has given me a power that has brought us through the barrier, and gained us news of Chalrles there . . . . I knew it would be so; I knew I could help Charles out of all danger. . ." (259)
Charles Darnay’s is put on trial in both London and Paris. In London Darnay is accused of giving information about British troops in the American Revolution to the French. In Paris Darnay is imprisoned because he is a member of the aristocracy. In the first trial in Paris and the trial in London Darnay is proven not guilty because of the Manettes. In the trial in Paris Lucie shows that she feels so sorry for Darnay it causes him to be set free. In the trial in Paris Dr. Manette testifies for Darnay and he is also set free.

5. Charles and Lucie's Marriage vs. Doctor Manette and Mrs. Manette Marriage
• "For the love of Heaven, of justice, of generosity, of the honour of your noble name, I supplicate you, Monsieur heretofore the Marquis and release me." (248)
• Dr. Manette’s marriage to Lucie’s mother and Lucie Manette’s marriage to Charles Darnay shows parallel structure. Both husbands were taken away and unfairly imprisoned. They were both imprisoned when they were doing something that was morally right. Dr. Manette was writing a document on the rape of Madam Defarge’s sister and Charles Darnay was traveling to Paris to save his loyal servant.

The Ideal Woman
“a young lady of not more than seventeen, in a riding-cloak, and still holding her straw travelling-hat by its ribbon, in her hand. As his eyes rested on a short, slight, pretty figure, a quantity of golden hair, a pair of blue eyes that met his own with an inquiring look, and a forehead with a singular capacity (remembering how young and smooth it was), of lifting and knitting itself into an expression that was not quite one of perplexity, or wonder, or alarm, or merely of a bright fixed attention, though it included all the four expressions. . . .”
- Chapter 4, Book 1
Horrible Ways to Die:
“Under the guidance of (France’s) Christian pastors, (France) entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive…”
“That’s quartering,” said Jerry. “Barbarous!”
“It is the law,” remarked the ancient clerk, turning his surprised spectacles upon him. “It is the law.”
“It’s hard in the law to spile a man, I think. It’s hard enough to kill him, but it’s wery hard to spile him, sir.”
- Chapter 2, Book 2
Dangers of Mob Rule:
“The sea of black and threatening waters, and of destructive upheaving of wave against wave, whose depths were yet unfathomed and whose forces were yet unknown. The remorseless sea of turbulently swaying shapes, voices of vengeance, and faces hardened in the furnaces of suffering until the touch of pity could make no mark on them.”
- Chapter 21, Book 2
Capital Punishment:
“But indeed, at that time, putting to death was a recipe much in vogue with all trades and professions, not least of all with Tellson’s. Death is Nature’s remedy for all things, and why not Legislation’s? Accordingly, the forger was put to Death; the utterer of a bad note was put to Death; the unlawful opener of a letter was put to Death; the purloiner of fourty shillings and sixpence was put to Death; the holder of a horse at Tellson’s door, who made off with it, was put to Death; the coiner of a bad shilling was put to Death; the sounders of three-fourths of the whole gamut of Crime, were put to Death.”
- Chapter 1, Book 2
Horrors of Prisons:
“And here in these crawling creatures is the first condition of the body after death.”
“The ghosts that vanished when the wicket closed. There was one among them, the appearance of a lady dressed in black, who was leaning in the embrasure of a window, and she had a light shining upon her golden hair, and she looked like **** Let us ride on again, for God’s sake, through the illuminated villages with the people all awake! **** He made shoes, he made shoes, he made shoes. **** Five paces by four and a half.”
- Chapter 1, Book 3
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