Tale Of Two Cities By Charles Dickens English Literature Essay

2845 words (11 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 English Literature Reference this

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All lives of humans take different and unique paths. Along this journey of life, humans endure numerous experiences which will help shape the individual and effect their lives. Some experiences and obstacles in life will be rewarding, while others will be degrading. Authors tend to use events in their lives as inspiration for many of their novels or short stories. This is because, in one way or another, the author’s own experiences have impacted their life in a strong way. A famous writer by the name of Charles Dickens is a perfect example of how someone uses significant life experiences to create stories. Dickens is a master of sliding in hidden events from his life into the novels that he writes. An example of how life experiences can really influence an individual can be seen in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Due to Dickens’ early association and interaction with jail in his life, he seems to use it in his well known novel A Tale of Two Cities as an essential feature of the story.

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During Dickens’ teen years, an obstacle in his life occurred that would influence him forever. What this event was, was the jailing of his own father. While growing up in London, Charles’ family experienced money struggles. Eventually the struggles became so bad that it was necessary for the government to take the father to jail. The intriguing part about the taking of Charles Dickens’ father, John Dickens, was that the family was allowed to live with him in jail. All of the family chose to live with John in debtors prison in the city of Marshalsea, except for Charles (Hill 1)(Dickens-Lit 2). With the absence of normal parental guidance, that most of society today fortunately has, Dickens had to become independent and mature on his own. The jail had taken away those who had meant the most to him and definitely impacted his life in a way in which some can relate too.

When certain events impact individuals emotionally and in a negative way, such as the separation between Charles Dickens and his family, the events tend to stay in the person’s mind throughout their lifetime. Jail greatly affected Dickens’ emotionally. In a way, it even destroyed his teen years. As Dickens’ family was in jail “He tied, trimmed and labeled blacking pots…”(Dickens-Lit 2). One can only imagine how frustrating, tedious and lonely his job must have been. Dickens’ situation as a teen away from his parents is greatly revealed by Sydney Carton, a character within Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities. Carton is a lonely, hardworking, man with no family who simply wants to be loved like everybody else. It is relevant to say that Carton, in a sense, is an extension of the feelings that Charles Dickens actually experienced during the time after his father’s jailing. Since jail was something that revolved around Dickens growing up, he decided to make it a main topic within his novel, A Tale of Two Cities. In the novel, jail, in one form or another, drives the story and effects major characters. A theme within A Tale of Two Cities is that people can become “recalled to life”, or in other words, resurrected. Prison, in the story, has a great influence on the resurrection of many of the major characters.

One of the main characters in the story named Dr. Manette has been jailed in prison for about eighteen years. The jailing has caused him to have an intense mental breakdown, which basically deteriorates his mental capacity so much that he is no longer sociable. The mental breakdown of Manette, makes him dead in a way…or at least mentally dead. At this stage in the story, when his mind is still inferior, it is obvious that he is not “recalled to life”, or not resurrected which goes back in relating to the main theme of the story which is resurrection. The mental breakdown of Dr. Manette can also correlate with how while Dickens’ family was in jail it required his own mind to mature. It was possible that Dickens felt some mental breakdown during his time of maturity.

With another main character in A Tale of Two Cities, once again jailing is used as a way to reveal the theme as the story. Since the theme is one of the most important things about the book, using jail to reveal it makes the reader come to the conclusion that jail is an essential part of the book. The jailing of the character Charles Darnay, plays an outstanding role in revealing resurrection. When Darnay is jailed, Dr. Manette begins to feel that he has the power to free him. This since of hope within Dr. Manette due to Darnay’s jailing brings a sense of mental stability and strength within Manette, thus causing resurrection of his mind. Dr. Manette’s own personal jailing caused him to be mentally “dead” while Darnay’s imprisonment “resurrected” his mind. Prison has a constant role within the story that wouldn’t be present if Dickens didn’t feel that it was significant in one way or another. The twisting mental states that the jailing causes within A Tale of Two Cities supports the fact that its influence did effect Dickens during his lifetime.

The last main character in which prison helps bring out the theme in, is Sydney Carton. Carton enters the jail as the lonely, sorry excuse for a man. The imprisonment of Sydney Carton, in an odd sense, made him feel emotionally and physically complete. Outside of the jail, Carton got no respect and no one would really mind if he was there or not. When Sydney is in jail however, he and a seamstress get into a relationship before they are killed by the guillotine. The seamstress shows her affection for Carton by offering to hold his hand. “If I may ride with you…will you let me hold your hand?…”(Dickens 365). Due to this odd prison relationship, Dickens shows that Carton has somewhat fulfilled his life duties. One of them being to be loved, and the other being to be remembered in hearts of those he cared about. Sydney Carton gave up his life in exchange for the life of the love of his life’s husband. As Carton reaches his death, he contemplates that in the future, Lucie, the woman he gave his life for, will tell stories of his sacrifice and he will never be forgotten. This prophetic prediction by Carton makes him feel internally resurrected and alive again, even though in reality he is about to be killed by the guillotine. The mental and physical metamorphosis of those three major characters, due to jailing, is what makes the novel progress and become the profound book that it is.

In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens expresses to the reader that unjust oppression, such as unnecessary jailing, only stimulates the development of violent rebellion that soon becomes oppression itself. A man by the name of Robert Alter, who was a professor of comparative literature at UC Berkley, stated that “What Dickens is ultimately concerned with in A Tale of Two Cities is…how violent oppression breeds violent rebellion” (Alter 1). The importance of violent oppression breeding rebellion, is that it brings out the true nature of humans. When people tend to gain power, they love to use it to obtain whatever they like. For example, prior to the French Revolution, high aristocrats had no sympathy towards the poor, all they cared about was their ability to do as they pleased. The spoiled treatment of the high class before the French Revolution is even revealed in a scene within the novel through a higher class man eating chocolate. “Yes it took four men…One lacquey carried the chocolate pot… a second milled and frothed the chocolate… a third presented the favored napkin; a fourth poured the chocolate out.” (Dickens 109). The scene really captures how luxurious the life of upper France was while the peasantry suffered. An analysis of A Tale of Two Cities by Christopher Dentel states that “The aristocrats have no concern and no sympathy for the poor; they know they are suffering and they do not care.” (Dentel 1). Dental also has a view on the actions of the French peasants after the rebellion. “The acts the proletariat commit against the aristocrats are the same or worse than the crimes the aristocrats made.” (Dentel 1). This quote relates to Dickens’ want to express that unjust treatment simply leads to more unjust treatment and oppression.

I personally agree with what both of the critics are trying to say in their analysis’. The mistreatment by the high aristocratic groups of France made the peasants want power of their own. After the revolution, when this power was achieved, the peasants used their strength to conduct the same unjust acts in which they rebelled against, which to me creates a sense of irony. Alter also says that the humans in the novel “…become the slaves of impersonal forces, at last are made inhuman by them.” I believe that the impersonal force that Alter is talking about is the human tendency to gain power and use it irresponsibly once it is gained, just as the peasants did.

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What is amazing in A Tale of Two Cities is how Dickens’ actually shows the reader the reversal between the power structure of the poor and the higher aristocrats. In the novel, there is a scene in which the peasantry captures a higher aristocratic man named Foulon. Instead of trying to reason with the man and figure out some kind of organized solution for the mistreatment that they’ve suffered through, the peasants beat and hang Foulon. They even go so far extreme to the point where they put his head on a pike and stuff grass in it. The instant excitement that the lower class feels when they know that Foulon is a prisoner reveals the savage behavior within them. “Villain Foulon taken, my sister! Miscreant Foulon taken, my daughter! Then, a score of others ran into the midst of these, beating their breasts, tearing their hair, and screaming, Foulon alive! (Dickens 230). What comes to my mind when I read this passage from A Tale of Two Cities are a group of cavemen preparing for some kind of savage battle and frenzy, which could easily be avoided if some intellectual thought was put into play. This savage demeanor is an obvious foreshadow of the oppression in which they will bestow upon the higher class. Prior to the revolution, peasants were imprisoned for not being able to pay taxes as well as false accusations. The unfair struggle of the lives of the lower class before the French Revolution brought out animalistic behavior within them. The scene revealed the new oppression that has now been achieved by the peasantry in France. Prior to the revolution, the upper class of France didn’t treat the peasants so horrible to the point where they were simply killing them for pleasure. The peasant revolutionaries have now become “tidal waves of mass destruction…”(Alter 2).

Christopher Dental believes that there are numerous symbols within the novel that foreshadow how the peasants will carry out unjust oppression once they get power. The first symbol is the grindstone on which the proletariats sharpen their weapons. Dental states that the grindstone itself represents the Earth and “As the blood spattered grindstone turns, gathering more blood with each turn, so does the revolution. With every revolution of the earth, the revolution claims more innocent blood, staining the earth red.” (Dental 1). Another symbol of upcoming oppression within the story is Madame Defarge’s knitting register where she inputs the names of those who must be killed during the course of the French revolution. Madame Defarge is so upset with the upper class of France that she doesn’t care when the people on the register are killed really, but if they are killed. Even if the peasants gained rights before those who were on the list were killed, Madame Defarge would still see their deaths as necessary. This is how the combination of Madame Defarge’s demeanor with her register foreshadows and reveals the unjust oppressive actions of the peasants after they receive strength during the revolution.

To me, the symbol of Madame Defarge and her register make perfect sense toward the unjust behavior of the peasants. It goes back to relate to the recurring mention of prison within the story. The peasants felt as if they were locked down with nowhere to go, with no freedoms, metaphorically representing themselves as if being locked up in a prison. The warden of this prison would metaphorically be the upper class of the French. The register and cold behavior of Madame Defarge is her way of rebelling against this imprisonment, and someday breaking free of it…by any means neccesary. I don’t agree with Dental’s view on the grindstone. I don’t see the connection between the grindstone and the whole world that he is trying to make. If the connection between these two things was a bit more clear, I would definitely be able to understand the symbol a little better. The blood being shed upon the Earth foreshadowing innocent lives being taken is a statement that makes sense, but the initial statement of the grindstone representing the Earth just doesn’t click in my head.

In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Dickens describes the animalistic and savage behavior of the revolutionaries by alluding to the storming Bastille prison. The Bastille, was a prison fortress in Paris that was used to imprison those who were suspected of having ideas or some kind of influence toward revolution. In 1789, this prison began its deterioration due to its storming. A group of rebellious peasantry stormed the Bastille hoping to destroy it and free as many false accused people as they could. Dickens alludes to this storming to show the demeanor of the revolutionaries (“Bastille” 1).

According to Joyce Moss and George Wilson, the Bastille itself represented “…royal oppression, and its seizure signaled a civil uprising in France against aristocratic injustice.”(Moss and 2). The storming of the Bastille was also the event that really signified the start of the French Revolution, which makes it a great event to allude to in order to reveal the true demeanor of the revolutionaries. During the allusion to the storming of the Bastille, Dickens makes sure to reveal the fire inside the peasant’s hearts. “To me, women! What! We can kill as well as the men when the place is taken!” (Dickens 222). The quote from Madame Defarge, a women assisting in the storming of the Bastille within the story, during the storming, represents the anger inside of the revolutionaries. They are so upset that they are willing to kill any high aristocratic figure they see, this includes the prison guards. The strength that the revolutionaries gained from the storming of the Bastille is another reason why Dickens decided to include it in the story. From the storming onward, the lower class began to rise in power and gain some hope. “When the foremost billows rolled past, bearing the prison officers with them, and threatening them with instant death if any secret remained undisclosed…” (Dickens 223). The allusion really makes the reader understand Charles Dickens’ understanding of the emotion that went behind the revolutionaries of the French Revolution. If the characters had gone to attack some other prison in France, the true anger and passion behind the revolution would not be felt. Since Dickens used the Bastille however, the allusion helps in connecting with the revolutionaries taking on such a big task which is the task of successful revolution. Edmund Burke, who was an English political writer in the 18th century, said that the French Revolution was a “monstrous thing . . . . a wild attempt to methodize anarchy.” (Moss and Wilson 3). Those looking at the French Revolution from the outside in, such as people from England like Edmund Burke, saw no need for such a violent rebellion at all, but with the passion expressed in the storming of the Bastille, France obviously felt it necessary (Bate 1).

In A Tale of Two Cities, jailing, or imprisonment, in one way or another drives the story forward and reveals important components, such as theme, within it. Due to Dickens’ early life, he uses the concept of jailing in A Tale of Two Cities to discuss reversal of oppression and animalistic behavior of the revolutionaries during the French Revolution. It’s amazing how one small aspect of a story can help weave the whole story together and make such a significant impact on the story. Understanding of prison and what it really means within A Tale of Two Cities can help the reader figure out the true significance of prison towards Charles Dickens.

All lives of humans take different and unique paths. Along this journey of life, humans endure numerous experiences which will help shape the individual and effect their lives. Some experiences and obstacles in life will be rewarding, while others will be degrading. Authors tend to use events in their lives as inspiration for many of their novels or short stories. This is because, in one way or another, the author’s own experiences have impacted their life in a strong way. A famous writer by the name of Charles Dickens is a perfect example of how someone uses significant life experiences to create stories. Dickens is a master of sliding in hidden events from his life into the novels that he writes. An example of how life experiences can really influence an individual can be seen in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Due to Dickens’ early association and interaction with jail in his life, he seems to use it in his well known novel A Tale of Two Cities as an essential feature of the story.

During Dickens’ teen years, an obstacle in his life occurred that would influence him forever. What this event was, was the jailing of his own father. While growing up in London, Charles’ family experienced money struggles. Eventually the struggles became so bad that it was necessary for the government to take the father to jail. The intriguing part about the taking of Charles Dickens’ father, John Dickens, was that the family was allowed to live with him in jail. All of the family chose to live with John in debtors prison in the city of Marshalsea, except for Charles (Hill 1)(Dickens-Lit 2). With the absence of normal parental guidance, that most of society today fortunately has, Dickens had to become independent and mature on his own. The jail had taken away those who had meant the most to him and definitely impacted his life in a way in which some can relate too.

When certain events impact individuals emotionally and in a negative way, such as the separation between Charles Dickens and his family, the events tend to stay in the person’s mind throughout their lifetime. Jail greatly affected Dickens’ emotionally. In a way, it even destroyed his teen years. As Dickens’ family was in jail “He tied, trimmed and labeled blacking pots…”(Dickens-Lit 2). One can only imagine how frustrating, tedious and lonely his job must have been. Dickens’ situation as a teen away from his parents is greatly revealed by Sydney Carton, a character within Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities. Carton is a lonely, hardworking, man with no family who simply wants to be loved like everybody else. It is relevant to say that Carton, in a sense, is an extension of the feelings that Charles Dickens actually experienced during the time after his father’s jailing. Since jail was something that revolved around Dickens growing up, he decided to make it a main topic within his novel, A Tale of Two Cities. In the novel, jail, in one form or another, drives the story and effects major characters. A theme within A Tale of Two Cities is that people can become “recalled to life”, or in other words, resurrected. Prison, in the story, has a great influence on the resurrection of many of the major characters.

One of the main characters in the story named Dr. Manette has been jailed in prison for about eighteen years. The jailing has caused him to have an intense mental breakdown, which basically deteriorates his mental capacity so much that he is no longer sociable. The mental breakdown of Manette, makes him dead in a way…or at least mentally dead. At this stage in the story, when his mind is still inferior, it is obvious that he is not “recalled to life”, or not resurrected which goes back in relating to the main theme of the story which is resurrection. The mental breakdown of Dr. Manette can also correlate with how while Dickens’ family was in jail it required his own mind to mature. It was possible that Dickens felt some mental breakdown during his time of maturity.

With another main character in A Tale of Two Cities, once again jailing is used as a way to reveal the theme as the story. Since the theme is one of the most important things about the book, using jail to reveal it makes the reader come to the conclusion that jail is an essential part of the book. The jailing of the character Charles Darnay, plays an outstanding role in revealing resurrection. When Darnay is jailed, Dr. Manette begins to feel that he has the power to free him. This since of hope within Dr. Manette due to Darnay’s jailing brings a sense of mental stability and strength within Manette, thus causing resurrection of his mind. Dr. Manette’s own personal jailing caused him to be mentally “dead” while Darnay’s imprisonment “resurrected” his mind. Prison has a constant role within the story that wouldn’t be present if Dickens didn’t feel that it was significant in one way or another. The twisting mental states that the jailing causes within A Tale of Two Cities supports the fact that its influence did effect Dickens during his lifetime.

The last main character in which prison helps bring out the theme in, is Sydney Carton. Carton enters the jail as the lonely, sorry excuse for a man. The imprisonment of Sydney Carton, in an odd sense, made him feel emotionally and physically complete. Outside of the jail, Carton got no respect and no one would really mind if he was there or not. When Sydney is in jail however, he and a seamstress get into a relationship before they are killed by the guillotine. The seamstress shows her affection for Carton by offering to hold his hand. “If I may ride with you…will you let me hold your hand?…”(Dickens 365). Due to this odd prison relationship, Dickens shows that Carton has somewhat fulfilled his life duties. One of them being to be loved, and the other being to be remembered in hearts of those he cared about. Sydney Carton gave up his life in exchange for the life of the love of his life’s husband. As Carton reaches his death, he contemplates that in the future, Lucie, the woman he gave his life for, will tell stories of his sacrifice and he will never be forgotten. This prophetic prediction by Carton makes him feel internally resurrected and alive again, even though in reality he is about to be killed by the guillotine. The mental and physical metamorphosis of those three major characters, due to jailing, is what makes the novel progress and become the profound book that it is.

In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens expresses to the reader that unjust oppression, such as unnecessary jailing, only stimulates the development of violent rebellion that soon becomes oppression itself. A man by the name of Robert Alter, who was a professor of comparative literature at UC Berkley, stated that “What Dickens is ultimately concerned with in A Tale of Two Cities is…how violent oppression breeds violent rebellion” (Alter 1). The importance of violent oppression breeding rebellion, is that it brings out the true nature of humans. When people tend to gain power, they love to use it to obtain whatever they like. For example, prior to the French Revolution, high aristocrats had no sympathy towards the poor, all they cared about was their ability to do as they pleased. The spoiled treatment of the high class before the French Revolution is even revealed in a scene within the novel through a higher class man eating chocolate. “Yes it took four men…One lacquey carried the chocolate pot… a second milled and frothed the chocolate… a third presented the favored napkin; a fourth poured the chocolate out.” (Dickens 109). The scene really captures how luxurious the life of upper France was while the peasantry suffered. An analysis of A Tale of Two Cities by Christopher Dentel states that “The aristocrats have no concern and no sympathy for the poor; they know they are suffering and they do not care.” (Dentel 1). Dental also has a view on the actions of the French peasants after the rebellion. “The acts the proletariat commit against the aristocrats are the same or worse than the crimes the aristocrats made.” (Dentel 1). This quote relates to Dickens’ want to express that unjust treatment simply leads to more unjust treatment and oppression.

I personally agree with what both of the critics are trying to say in their analysis’. The mistreatment by the high aristocratic groups of France made the peasants want power of their own. After the revolution, when this power was achieved, the peasants used their strength to conduct the same unjust acts in which they rebelled against, which to me creates a sense of irony. Alter also says that the humans in the novel “…become the slaves of impersonal forces, at last are made inhuman by them.” I believe that the impersonal force that Alter is talking about is the human tendency to gain power and use it irresponsibly once it is gained, just as the peasants did.

What is amazing in A Tale of Two Cities is how Dickens’ actually shows the reader the reversal between the power structure of the poor and the higher aristocrats. In the novel, there is a scene in which the peasantry captures a higher aristocratic man named Foulon. Instead of trying to reason with the man and figure out some kind of organized solution for the mistreatment that they’ve suffered through, the peasants beat and hang Foulon. They even go so far extreme to the point where they put his head on a pike and stuff grass in it. The instant excitement that the lower class feels when they know that Foulon is a prisoner reveals the savage behavior within them. “Villain Foulon taken, my sister! Miscreant Foulon taken, my daughter! Then, a score of others ran into the midst of these, beating their breasts, tearing their hair, and screaming, Foulon alive! (Dickens 230). What comes to my mind when I read this passage from A Tale of Two Cities are a group of cavemen preparing for some kind of savage battle and frenzy, which could easily be avoided if some intellectual thought was put into play. This savage demeanor is an obvious foreshadow of the oppression in which they will bestow upon the higher class. Prior to the revolution, peasants were imprisoned for not being able to pay taxes as well as false accusations. The unfair struggle of the lives of the lower class before the French Revolution brought out animalistic behavior within them. The scene revealed the new oppression that has now been achieved by the peasantry in France. Prior to the revolution, the upper class of France didn’t treat the peasants so horrible to the point where they were simply killing them for pleasure. The peasant revolutionaries have now become “tidal waves of mass destruction…”(Alter 2).

Christopher Dental believes that there are numerous symbols within the novel that foreshadow how the peasants will carry out unjust oppression once they get power. The first symbol is the grindstone on which the proletariats sharpen their weapons. Dental states that the grindstone itself represents the Earth and “As the blood spattered grindstone turns, gathering more blood with each turn, so does the revolution. With every revolution of the earth, the revolution claims more innocent blood, staining the earth red.” (Dental 1). Another symbol of upcoming oppression within the story is Madame Defarge’s knitting register where she inputs the names of those who must be killed during the course of the French revolution. Madame Defarge is so upset with the upper class of France that she doesn’t care when the people on the register are killed really, but if they are killed. Even if the peasants gained rights before those who were on the list were killed, Madame Defarge would still see their deaths as necessary. This is how the combination of Madame Defarge’s demeanor with her register foreshadows and reveals the unjust oppressive actions of the peasants after they receive strength during the revolution.

To me, the symbol of Madame Defarge and her register make perfect sense toward the unjust behavior of the peasants. It goes back to relate to the recurring mention of prison within the story. The peasants felt as if they were locked down with nowhere to go, with no freedoms, metaphorically representing themselves as if being locked up in a prison. The warden of this prison would metaphorically be the upper class of the French. The register and cold behavior of Madame Defarge is her way of rebelling against this imprisonment, and someday breaking free of it…by any means neccesary. I don’t agree with Dental’s view on the grindstone. I don’t see the connection between the grindstone and the whole world that he is trying to make. If the connection between these two things was a bit more clear, I would definitely be able to understand the symbol a little better. The blood being shed upon the Earth foreshadowing innocent lives being taken is a statement that makes sense, but the initial statement of the grindstone representing the Earth just doesn’t click in my head.

In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Dickens describes the animalistic and savage behavior of the revolutionaries by alluding to the storming Bastille prison. The Bastille, was a prison fortress in Paris that was used to imprison those who were suspected of having ideas or some kind of influence toward revolution. In 1789, this prison began its deterioration due to its storming. A group of rebellious peasantry stormed the Bastille hoping to destroy it and free as many false accused people as they could. Dickens alludes to this storming to show the demeanor of the revolutionaries (“Bastille” 1).

According to Joyce Moss and George Wilson, the Bastille itself represented “…royal oppression, and its seizure signaled a civil uprising in France against aristocratic injustice.”(Moss and 2). The storming of the Bastille was also the event that really signified the start of the French Revolution, which makes it a great event to allude to in order to reveal the true demeanor of the revolutionaries. During the allusion to the storming of the Bastille, Dickens makes sure to reveal the fire inside the peasant’s hearts. “To me, women! What! We can kill as well as the men when the place is taken!” (Dickens 222). The quote from Madame Defarge, a women assisting in the storming of the Bastille within the story, during the storming, represents the anger inside of the revolutionaries. They are so upset that they are willing to kill any high aristocratic figure they see, this includes the prison guards. The strength that the revolutionaries gained from the storming of the Bastille is another reason why Dickens decided to include it in the story. From the storming onward, the lower class began to rise in power and gain some hope. “When the foremost billows rolled past, bearing the prison officers with them, and threatening them with instant death if any secret remained undisclosed…” (Dickens 223). The allusion really makes the reader understand Charles Dickens’ understanding of the emotion that went behind the revolutionaries of the French Revolution. If the characters had gone to attack some other prison in France, the true anger and passion behind the revolution would not be felt. Since Dickens used the Bastille however, the allusion helps in connecting with the revolutionaries taking on such a big task which is the task of successful revolution. Edmund Burke, who was an English political writer in the 18th century, said that the French Revolution was a “monstrous thing . . . . a wild attempt to methodize anarchy.” (Moss and Wilson 3). Those looking at the French Revolution from the outside in, such as people from England like Edmund Burke, saw no need for such a violent rebellion at all, but with the passion expressed in the storming of the Bastille, France obviously felt it necessary (Bate 1).

In A Tale of Two Cities, jailing, or imprisonment, in one way or another drives the story forward and reveals important components, such as theme, within it. Due to Dickens’ early life, he uses the concept of jailing in A Tale of Two Cities to discuss reversal of oppression and animalistic behavior of the revolutionaries during the French Revolution. It’s amazing how one small aspect of a story can help weave the whole story together and make such a significant impact on the story. Understanding of prison and what it really means within A Tale of Two Cities can help the reader figure out the true significance of prison towards Charles Dickens.

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