Dickens A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities

Quotation system: All the references in question 1: a refer to A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens edited by Wordsforth Editions 1999, whereas all the references in Question 1: b refer to British Narrative Prose 1700-1900 by Ebbe Klitgård.

In this essay I will discuss the two following analytical points from Charles Dickens’, A Tale of Two Cities; 1: Darkness and death versus lightness and life, including a consideration of Madame Defarge versus Lucy Manette. And 2: The novel as representation of a great historical movement, the French Revolution. The reason for choosing these two questions is mainly because I believe that Dickens’ use of contrasts, like lightness versus darkness and death versus life, is one of the key factors in representing the French Revolution, but more on these thoughts will follow later in this essay. Thus, the main goal of this essay will be to investigate how Dickens uses doubles and contrasts to present a historical movement. Lastly this essay will include a brief answer to two “points to consider” from Ebbe Klitgård, ed. British Narrative Prose 1700-1900.

Question 1: a

One of the most essential techniques of A Tale of Two Cities is how Dickens applies the use of contrasts. From the beginning of the novel we are confronted with this via the following introduction:

“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. . . .” (Chapter 1, page 3).

This quote establishes the importance of contrasts to the narrative. Where we have wisdom, we also have foolishness and where we have belief, we also have incredulity. Reading these

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