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A Tale

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Title: A Tale


1
A Tale of Two Cities
2
Charles Dickens
1812 - 1870
On February 7th of 1812 Charles Dickens was born
as the second child of John and Elizabeth
Dickens. He enjoyed modest luxuries in his
extreme youth up until the age of twelve, when
his families coffer ran out and his father was
taken off to the poor house. To help his family
get by in these times of peril he was sent to
work at a shoe polish factory where he labeled
the product for six shillings a week. During this
time he gained a deep understanding of the
suffering of the working class.
The torment that he endured here was used as
material in many of his books. In 1827 he began
work in a law office as a clerk. He did not have
a traditional writing position until he was 22
when he became a journalist for the Morning
Chronicle. Just two years afterwards he was
already having his first novel serialized. This
same year he became the editor of Bentleys
Miscellany. Over the next four years he released
a bundle of hits such as Nicholas Nickleby and
Oliver twist. Much later in his career he got
into a train accident while returning from
France. During the panic he helped fellow
passengers out. After this event his writing was
never the same. On June ninth 1870 he died
suddenly in the middle of Edwin Drood.
3
Book report (Part one)
  • Is revival not one of the most aspired things
    in the world? A second chance, or rebirth is
    what most dream of and few realize.  Charles
    Dickens was well aware of the strength of the
    revival concept and used this subject to pluck at
    the heartstrings of many with A Tale of Two
    Cities.  The entirety of its 412 pages was
    published in weekly installments by Chapman
    Hall in 1859.  This slow rationing of the story
    rekindled interest in it regularly.  The use of
    real world events and fictional characters is a
    clever technique in this historical novel that
    only amplifies the relevance of its messages. 
    This book follows the Darnay/Evremonde families
    travels from France to London then to Paris
    during the beginning of the French revolution.
    Its focus is the phoenix like theme of rebirth.

4
Sydney Carton
  • Carton
  • Doppelganger
  • His life! its misery!
  • Yet his death is joyful, all for
  • Lucy

5
Explanation
  • I wrote this poem in reference to the many roles
    that Sydney Carton plays throughout A Tale of Two
    Cities. By doppelganger I mean at a few times in
    the story, it appears that his only real worth is
    that of being identical to Charles Darnay.
    Throughout the entire book he is portrayed as a
    miserable man who cannot find happiness. The only
    time in the book that he is seen being truly
    confident proud and in a good mood in general is
    right before his execution. He uses the
    appearance he shares with Mr. Darnay to do one
    final favor for her he saves her husband. He
    loves her dearly despite her being married to
    another man. The sacrifice seems to give his life
    purpose in his mind. This gives him happiness and
    tranquility before his beheading.

6
Book report (Part two)
  • The story begins in 1775, an oppressive time in
    history.  This is a time of great suffering and
    hardships for the majority of the French
    population.  While great poverty was still
    prevalent in much of the world at this time, it
    wasnt quite to the degree that it occurred here.
     In large part, these living circumstances were
    not the fault the ones that had to endure them
    and were instead propagated by the corrupt
    aristocrats.  
  • These extremes of circumstances
  • between the rich and the poor are
  • exemplified in the very first line It
  • was the best of times it was the
  • worst of times.The story follows
  • many different parties throughout
  • the book, but arguably, the main
  • character is Charles Darnay.  He
  • is the stepson of The Marquis
  • St. Evrémonde, a member of
  • aristocracy.

7
Rebirth
  • A doctor, a Marquis, brought back to life!
  • One revived by affection, the other a knife.
  • Lucy was their golden thread.
  • Her crazy father and husband both close to dead.
  • The doctors prison consumed him for eighteen
    years.
  • During this time he wrote a secret plead
  • He confessed witness to things bringing tears.
  • Marquis to the nations razor this revelation did
    lead.
  • The marquis did flee to The Big Smoke,
  • Treason! Says The Big Smoke. Emigrant! The
    Hexagon screams.
  • His future wife saves his innocent soul.
  • As does his double, whose neck is torn at the
    seams.
  • The doubles feat done by chloroform,
  • Their alike looks played well at his hand.
  • La guillotine headed his command
  • To let the marquis escape like a storm.

8
Explanation
  • The first stanza addresses Dr. Manettes
    salvation from insanity and Mr. Darnay from the
    guillotine. Lucy is known as the Golden thread
    in the book because she is the central person
    connecting all the characters. The second goes
    into detail about how the salvation of Manette
    from his prison left behind evidence that
    sentences Darnay to the guillotine. Darnays
    crimes to both London and France are in the next
    stanza. The Big Smoke is a nickname for London
    and The Hexagon is the same for France. Lucy
    saves him from his accusation of treason but is
    not so lucky with the other alleged crime. In her
    failure to save him, Carton takes this job upon
    himself. His plan uses a swap of clothing and
    chloroform to prevent Darnay from revealing
    himself. The last stanza underlines the main
    themes of the book. One being the miracle of a
    second chance and the other being that suffering
    is a horrible thing regardless of the people that
    it happens. My poem leaves off on a note
    questioning if the Darnay familys appreciation
    for the sacrifice of a friend stay I their minds
    forever.

9
Book report (part three)
  • The aristocrats oppressed these people through
    political power. Wealth and power was passed from
    one generation to the next. Their abuse of power
    is first seen to the reader in the form of Dr.
    Manettes imprisonment at the beginning of the
    book.  Dr. Manette is Darnays father-in-law
    through the marriage of Darnay to his daughter
    Lucy. He had been unaware of her existence. 
    Manette was imprisoned suddenly without the
    knowledge of his peers.   He was thereafter
    considered deceased, legally and socially. After
    being kept captive for eighteen years, his
    captors finally forgot what his offence had been.
     After being released, the first order of
    business was to be recalled to life, as the
    book says. This is the first occurrence of the
    theme of revival in the book.  Its quite evident
    that this theme was important to Dickens in that
    the book was originally to be titled Recalled to
    Life. This instead became the first section of
    the book.   Throughout the entirety of the book
    Dr. Manette seldom leaves the side of his
    daughter with whom he gains a great bond after
    she helps him recover from his insanity.   He
    attributes his revival to her doing, and
    continues to remain physically and spiritually
    close to her after her marriage.
  •  We can see a foreshadowing of what is called
    revival by a minor character named Jerry
    Cruncher.  His line You'd be in a blazing bad
    way, if recalling to life was to come into
    fashion, Jerry, is in reference to his shady
    profession of grave digging.  They were given the
    euphuism of revival men during this age.  This
    use of irony in Dickenss book broadens the scope
    of the subject of revival in the mind of the
    readers. It gives them a new prospective upon the
    words meaning.

10
Book report (part four)
  •  Shortly after father and daughter reunite, they
    head off to London.  Upon their arrival they meet
    Charles Darnay during a legal trial.  He is
    briefly described as a handsome and responsible
    young man and the reader cannot assume any more
    about him other then being the polite
    protagonist.  In contrast, we meet what can
    arguably be called his opposite in many regards,
    Sydney Carton.  Sydney is physically identical to
    Darnay in every aspect. This coincidence is
    Dickenss interpretation of the literary device
    of a doppelganger.  In general, the sight of a
    doppelganger means that something terrible is to
    happen to the initial character.  Doppelgangers
    can be a different side of the original character
    or showing the reader what the character might do
    under certain circumstances without putting them
    into these happenings.  This resemblance is used
    twice by the central plot.  The first of these
    occurs at a trial accusing Darnay, who had
    recently left France, of being a spy.  The
    prosecutions case hinges on a man swearing he
    recognizes Darnays face.   When the court sees
    Sydneys face his credibility is shot.  Darnay
    however credits his salvation to Lucy, who was a
    witness at the trial and this kind act causes
    both Darnay and Carton to fall in love with her.
     After this, they both aspire to marry her but
    only Darnay has enough confidence in himself to
    actually propose.   On their wedding day Darnay
    tells Dr. Manette he is of French royalty.  This
    sudden divulgence of information causes Manettes
    fall back into insanity.
  •   In France tensions are rising between the
    peasants and the aristocracy.  The Marquis
    Evrémonde, Darnays uncle, shows no regard for
    human life and accidentally kills a mans son by
    running him over with his carriage.   He then
    gives the grieving man a gold coin for his
    trouble and leaves.  This act enrages the father
    who sneaks in at night and kills the Marquis by
    stabbing him. He leaves behind a note signed
    Jacques.  This act is important in that it
    shows the first resistance to the oppression the
    peasants have faced as well as introduces the
    name Jacques into the story.  The name
    Jacques is important because it is the
    anonymous title peasants took under similar
    circumstances during the Hundred Year War.  The
    peasants, called the Jacquerie as a whole, had
    been planning a massive revolt.  The killing of
    the Marquis empowered the peasants with the
    feeling that they were going to bring about
    innate justice. Seven years later a violent
    uprising, lead by Mr. and Mrs. Defarge,
    manifested itself in the raid of a prison called
    The Bastille.  All the prisoners were released
    while the Defarges searched the prison cell of
    Dr. Manette.  

11
Evan Susag
Hello! Im Evan, the creator of this PowerPoint
presentation. I am 17 years of age at the moment.
After high school Im not entirely sure what Ill
go into but it will probably be something having
to do with electronics or technology in general.
Im almost completely Caucasian with only a
sixteenth of Cherokee thrown in there.
Some of my favorite pastimes include running,
hiking, swimming, playing video games,
dismantling and reassembling objects and making
something out of nothing. What I want more then
anything else out of life is to be able to enrich
someone else's in as many ways possible.
12
Book report (part five)
  • Three years later Darnay receives a letter
    addressed to his previous name of Evrémonde.  It
    implores him to return to France to aid in the
    release of an old friend from the clutches of the
    revolutionary peasants.  Darnay is a virtuous man
    and so goes to see what can be done, without
    telling his wife or her father that he is
    leaving. Once he arrives in France he is
    immediately taken into captivity for having
    emigrated from France.  A new law set up in the
    midst of the revolution stopped the flow of the
    oppressors from leaving the country.  He is sent
    to La Force Prison in Paris.  His family soon
    follows him and they fight for a year and three
    months to gain his release.  It is short-lived,
    however, as he is taken back into custody that
    same night.   It turns out that Mrs. Defarge is
    obsessed with destroying every remaining part of
    the Evrémonde family.  The Defarges had found a
    note in Dr. Manettes cell when they had
    previously searched it.   Darnay is taken back to
    trial and it is revealed in the note that both of
    Darnays uncles had abused a peasant woman and
    taken advantage of her.  This account was written
    by Dr. Manette during his imprisonment and this
    is verified by Dr. Manette.  When the womans
    brother tried to intervene they killed both the
    brother and mortally wounded the woman.  Seeing
    that the woman would soon die, they called Dr.
    Manette to see if he could save her.  It is to no
    avail and she dies in about a week.  Dr. Manette
    is horrified and tries to alert officials despite
    being warned not to by the two Evrémonde
    brothers.   The result is Dr. Manettes secret
    imprisonment until it is forgotten what his crime
    was.  It is then revealed that Mrs. Defarge is
    the daughter of the abused peasant woman.  All of
    this revelation and drama sways the court against
    Darnay, despite it being a crime committed by his
    uncles and not him.  This fact is lost in all of
    the outcries of injustice and for no reason of
    his own he is sentenced to the guillotine. 
    However, due to Dr. Manettes influence, he is
    permitted a visitor the day before his hanging.
     Carton comes up with a cunning plan to save
    Darnay.  Carton arrives the next day at the
    prison looking very faint and he goes into
    Darnays cell. The two of them talk very little
    as Carton commands Darnay to switch clothes with
    him and start writing a letter.  He does both of
    these tasks and as Darnay is writing, Carton
    knocks him out with chloroform. Carton uses
    their similar looks to his advantage by telling
    the guards that the now sleeping person on the
    floor is Carton.  They see nothing amiss and haul
    him off in Darnays place to be executed.  Carton
    in the last few hours of his life finds happiness
    in the fact that he was finally able to do
    something to express his unrequited love for
    Lucy.   He is guillotined in Darnays place.

13
Excerpt
  • 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, it was
    the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
    we had everything before us, we had nothing
    before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we
    were all going direct the other way
  • This small section from the book appears at the
    very bringing yet it probably holds more
    importance in its entirety then a great many
    chapters of any other book. I say this because
    this passage is in reference to how great or
    terrible life might have been depending upon what
    family you were born into. Such a great variance
    in conditions is bad for society because it
    breeds both greed and envy.

14
Book report (part six)
  • A Tale of Two Cities is a complex and
    multifaceted book which continually outdoes
    itself in terms of recreating the time period it
    takes place in while still appealing to the
    reader.  The social environment is one of the
    first things that come to mind to many of the
    readers of the book.  The rich are in general
    portrayed as the archetype uncaring, spoiled and
    cruel abusers of society.  The poor in an
    opposite regard are portrayed as the abused,
    grateful and caring.  Dickens delineated the
    differences between the peasants and aristocrats
    throughout the book without completely siding
    with either side.  This is seen throughout the
    book in his descriptions of the terrible lives
    the peasants had to live and later the terrible
    tortures they had to endure during their riots.
     While yes, the book does acknowledge that what
    the aristocrats did was wrong, it also goes into
    how the resulting revolution was even more unjust
    then the oppression by the royal and rich. 
  • The book does a great job of intertwining a
    multitude of side stories and simultaneous events
    and merges them with the main plot at all the
    right moments to keep the reader entertained.  In
    much the same way, it remains faithful to its
    themes and ideas throughout the entirety of the
    book.  While the characters in the book might be
    described as unrounded I think that asking for a
    round character is sometimes unreasonable.  There
    are complex people in this world and there are
    people not as complex. Having characters that
    remain in the same type of mindset throughout the
    events of the book is not so unthinkable.  One
    might even venture so far as to say that it would
    take more skill as a writer to make the events of
    a book fit together if all of your characters
    reacted to events theyre presented with in an
    predictable way. I think that the book did a
    very good job in everything it tried to do and
    was a success in achieving the impact I think it
    was aiming for. This is truly a great piece of
    literature that I would recommend to anyone
    because it makes one consider the thought that no
    one is innately good or evil. Its of merit to
    bring up that no one is innately useful or
    useless for that matter.
  • I will always remember A Tale of Two Cities as a
    prime example of alternates and duality. Even
    though one class of people as a whole may be
    oppressed or pampered, both still have the
    ability to make great changes for the better or
    worse. If a reader is looking for a simple
    thriller this is simply not for them. If
    instead, the reader should want a book that makes
    them rethink many aspects of themselves, others
    and the world as a whole then A Tale of Two
    Cities is a good place to start.
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