A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: Light vs. Darkness

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Robert Smith
Light vs. Darkness
Often times in literature the comparison between light and darkness is made. In Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, the author contrasts the two elements throughout the novel. Light and darkness are in constant battle with each other, they also dominate the setting and tone of the story. From the opening lines the reader has a since of struggle between light and darkness, “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.” The story then progresses and introduces Dr. Mannette, who’s inner darkness was revealed through his surroundings, “The garret…was dim and dark…Such a scanty portion of light was admitted through these means, that it was difficult, on first coming in, to see anything; and long habit alone could have slowly formed in any one, the ability to do any work requiring nicety in such obscurity. Yet, work of that kind was being done in the garret; for, with his back towards the door, and his face towards the window where the keeper of the wine-shop stood looking at him, a white-haired man sat on a low bench, stooping forward and very busy, making shoes.” Dr. Mannette was living in turmoil from the years of captivity he had been in, and he had gone into a state of madness. Not only was his surroundings dark, but also the life he was living. However, through the light, which was his daughter, he was able to escape from his inner darkness, “with hands which at first had been only raised in frightened compassion, if not even to keep him off and shut out the sight of him, but which were now extending towards him, trembling with eagerness to lay the spectral face upon her warm young breast, and love it back to life and hope-so exactly was the expression repeated on her fair young face, that it looked as though it had passed like a moving...
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