A Tale of Two Cities Structure Essay

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In Charles Dickens's, A Tale of Two Cities, the structure of three different books is used to clearly depict the moral and to better understand the magnitude and complexities of the story being told. With the first book the reader is put into a politically tense time, a period of turmoil and inequality in France, when the people are on the brim of revolution, in order to set the context of the story and develop the conflict. War then breaks out in France and Dickens portrays how it can affect life on different levels with the complications and crisis. Through the climax and denouement of the story, Dickens attempts to portray a moral in his story, with many religious undertones, through the sacrifice that Carton makes. With these things in mind, the structure of the book becomes a very relevant element in how the story is told.

The book begins by establishing the almost tangible feeling of tension, distrust, and conflict in France between the aristocrats and the peasants. With this atmosphere, Dickens starts to develop the main characters of the book. The Defarges, particularly Mrs. Defarge, is said to have "a watchful eye… a steady face, strong features, and great composure of manner" (pg. 39). The way in which the Defarges are introduced leads to reader to believe they will play a part in the revolution. Also, the way in which the two communicate amongst strangers, with their subtle body language and quiet whispers, foreshadows the plotting or hiding of something. This something ends up being Mr. Manette and they are plotting the storming of the Bastille to begin the revolution. With the length of the three books, Dickens also portrays the prolonged duration of the Revolution. Through the three books of the novel, the main themes of the Revolution, tension, death, and sacrifice, are portrayed. After trampling a child in the streets with his carriage, an Aristocrat asks the commoners of Paris, "Why does he [the father] make that abominable noise?" (pg 129)....
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