Critical Thinking Of Literature Extracts English Literature Essay

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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 - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received for good or evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

By: Charles Dickens, 1812-1870

Analysis on the Passage

Based on my interpretation, the author wants to convey the duality of events that exists in this period. The idea that we can have the best of life and at the same time, the worst of it is well-depicted in the passage.

through contrasting depictions of wisdom and foolishness, light and darkness, and hope and doom. He wants to describe a time wherein a people are celebrating liberation while suffering from terrible violence. Relating that to the present time,


In this very moment there are great things going on all over the world. Things like scientific discovers and diplomatic resolutions to international problems are being done right now. There are however many problems happening too. Civil wars and ethnic cleansings occurring in Africa the tsunami that devastated many Asian islands were people are struggling to survive. Yet with all of these things man does not give up we fight on through and that could be mans greatest asset. To fight on even though there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

This quote shows mans true strength. The ability to fight through such an unthinkable horror, yet nothing they do can hurt you anymore. It is saddening to have to hear of this pain that they go through. But in a way it gives everyone who reads this to reflect on how their life is. On how strong they are. People may look at this and just ponder about how they might have reacted in this situation. The most important thing is that it gives hope to all of the people who are in such a situation. That no matter how badly you are being treated there is still a chance for you to make it through. I still have yet to understand why one religious group has gone through such an incredibly painful history. Whenever a group is to be pushed down and suppressed it always seems to be the Jewish people that have to put up with it and try to live as normal a life as the can. As well people use tough times to help others and to show who they truly are. They will sacrifice for the good of their friends and others even if it means that there is a chance that they could lose their life. This is the ultimate sacrifice that can not be judged on any scale, but it can only truly be appreciated by those that are saved by such a selfless act.

There are many different problems that people will face everyday. It is not very common though for such historic events to happen that will in turn change the entire face of the world and man itself. But there are challenges that people will face everyday. It is always uplifting to everyone who hears these stories of triumph over adversity. It's just that there are all too many times in which people do not have the will. This is where our society must come in to help these people beat the social problems that exist in our world. The one true goal is though is to stop all of this racial and religious prejudice in our world and avoid going through any of these painful events again.

Revision of the Passage

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the period of knowledge, it was the period of ignorance, it was the time of belief, it was the time of doubt, it was the moment of Light, it was the moment of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of hopelessness, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going straight to Heaven, we were all going straight the other way - in short, the period was so different from the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received for good or evil, in the best degree of comparison only.

It was one of the best and worst times in history. It was a period of intelligence and ignorance, belief and disbelief, good and evil, hope and hopelessness. We had everything to live for, and we had nothing to live for. We were all going straight to Heaven and straight to hell. In short, it was not the same with the present time, because authorities of that time insisted on seeing its events only in terms of contrasting extremes.


wants to describe a time/world where duality exists. His contradicting statements imply a sense of hope and a sense of chaos.


common perceptions that prevail in society

In the novel "A Tale of Two Cities" Charles Dickens describes "the best of times [and] the worst of times" (1) of the characters. France and England struggle through political confusion, which is one of the most disturbing periods of history. On the other hand, for the characters of the novel, these are the times of rebirth and revival. The author conveys the dual nature of this epoch by contrasting representations of light and dark, chaos and stability, doom and hope with the use of setting, characterization, foreshadowing, symbolism, and plot set up.

The novel opens in the troubled year of 1775, with a comparison of England and pre-Revolutionary France. It conveys the sense of doom and chaos. Both countries go through extreme social turmoil. With sarcasm, Dickens condemns the nobles as responsible for the disorder. "Under the guidance of [France's] Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off because

On the other hand, the plot set up and characterization in the novel imply a sense of hope, a light in the darkness. The central characters in the first book are all likeable people. Jarvis Lorry, the banker, is very reliable and responsive. He takes on a role of Lucie's friend and guardian. He is there to help and support her as they travel to Paris to find Mr. Manette, Lucie's father. "Rendered in a manner desperate, by [Lucie's] state, [Mr. Lorry] drew over...

Great in its own right, A Tale of Two Cities is one of the preemeninent works among Dickens' vast authorship. A novel of great pain and beauty, it forces us away from any fairy tale nostalgia we may have for "romantic" historical periods, and examines instead the consistency of human nature with its capacity to endure and inflict suffering, while celebrating the insistence of some people that good can exist and their efforts to see that it does, even at ultimate cost to themselves.

These famous lines, which open A Tale of Two Cities, hint at the novel's central tension between love and family, on the one hand, and oppression and hatred, on the other. The passage makes marked use of anaphora, the repetition of a phrase at the beginning of consecutive clauses-for example, "it was the age . . . it was the age" and "it was the epoch . . . it was the epoch. . . ." This technique, along with the passage's steady rhythm, suggests that good and evil, wisdom and folly, and light and darkness stand equally matched in their struggle. The opposing pairs in this passage also initiate one of the novel's most prominent motifs and structural figures-that of doubles, including London and Paris, Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay, Miss Pross and Madame Defarge, and Lucie and Madame Defarge.