Duality in a Tale of Two Cities Analysis

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In chapter five of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” we learn just exactly who Sydney Carton is. Carton is compared to Stryver as the jackal, doing all the work for Stryver, while Stryver gets the credit. Chapter 5 is where Carton’s story begins. Dickens uses personification and gloomy diction to describe his attitude towards Carton as sympathetic.

Using personification, Dickens starts the passage setting the scene Carton is in. Dickens says that, “the day was coldly looking in through its grimy windows. It seems as if the day is like this because of how Carton is. “Sadly, sadly the sun rose” shows more of Dickens’ sympathetic attitude towards Carton. We learn later in the chapter that the setting is how Dickens’ thinks of Carton’s life as cold, and sad.

Through a plethora of gloomy diction we gain more knowledge about Dickens’ compassionate and sympathetic attitude towards Carton. The setting is similar to how dickens feels that Carton’s life is. Dickens says that when Carton got out of the house the air was “cold and sad, the dull sky overcast, the river dark and dim, the whole scene like a lifeless desert.” Basically, Carton’s life is a lifeless desert. Dickens also uses connotation to show Carton’s emotion when he gets to his home. When Carton got home, he “threw himself down in his clothes on a neglected bed, and its pillow was wet with wasted tears” Carton was crying for his wasted life. Through Dickens’ choice of words, we learn how he sympathizes with him.

Everyone sympathizes with Carton. He is a smart and good person but he is incapable of finding his happiness and staying happy. It is easy to understand why Dickens has a sympathetic attitude towards Carton. We can’t help but hope that Carton gets himself together at one point in the story.
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