A Tale of Two Cities

Satisfactory Essays
Name ___________________________________ Date ___________________

A Tale of Two Cities
Class Notes and Study Guide Questions
Book I, Chapter 1: "The Period"

I. Notes

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. . . .

These famous lines, which open A Tale of Two Cities, hint at the novel’s central tension between love and family, on the one hand, and oppression and hatred, on the other. The passage makes marked use of anaphora, the repetition of a phrase at the beginning of consecutive clauses—for example, “it was the age . . . it was the age” and “it was the epoch . . . it was the epoch. . . .” This technique, along with the passage’s steady rhythm, suggests that good and evil, wisdom and folly, and light and darkness stand equally matched in their struggle. The opposing pairs in this passage also initiate one of the novel’s most prominent motifs and structural figures—that of doubles, including London and Paris, Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay, Miss Pross and Madame Defarge, and Lucie and Madame Defarge.

As its title promises, this brief chapter establishes the era in which the novel takes place: England and France in 1775. The age is marked by competing and contradictory attitudes—“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”—but resembles the “present period” in which Dickens writes. In England, the public worries over religious prophecies, popular paranormal phenomena in the form of “the Cock-lane ghost,” and the messages that a colony of British subjects in America has sent to King George III. France, on the other hand, witnesses excessive spending and extreme

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    A Tale of Two Cities.

    • 1924 Words
    • 8 Pages

    A Tale of Two Cities- A Historical fiction A Tale of Two Cities is a novel categorized as historical fiction. Historical fiction is a composite material, with a portion of history embedded in a matrix of fiction. A Tale of Two Cities is appropriately titled, as the novel is the story of England and Revolutionary France; as a result it can be categorized as historical fiction. A Tale of Two Cities is parallel to history in many different respects. The English setting, and atmosphere, is similarly…

    • 1924 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Tale Of two cities

    • 17331 Words
    • 70 Pages

    A Tale of Two Cities - Cliff Notes Table of contents: 1) Chapter summaries (pp.2-32) 2) Characters (pp. 32-40) 3) Setting (pp. 40-41) 4) Dickens’ Style (use of detail, repetition, parallelism, theatrical elements, imagery, form and style) (pp. 41-43) CHAPTER SUMMARIES BOOK THE FIRST: A TALE OF TWO CITIES: CHAPTER 1 Here is Dickens' voice, introducing the story he's about to tell. No action or characters are presented…

    • 17331 Words
    • 70 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Tale of Two Cities

    • 575 Words
    • 3 Pages

    A Tale of Two Cities: Moral Theory In A Tale of Two Cities, why Charles Dickens using human nature moral theory in his novel? And, why a poor man who steals bread for his starving family considered a criminal? The purpose of this theory is to show how humans can grow in life by adapting moral behavior, and how does Dickens show in the novel by using the characters in “A Tale of Two Cities”. Entire social classes can be place on the moral theory scale, such as the similarities between France’s…

    • 575 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Tale of Two Cities

    • 809 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Hannah Howard Ms. Freel English II 4/25/13 A Tale of Two Cities Throughout the book A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens portrays several themes using specific characters. An example of this is Sydney Carton and how he is used to represent redemption. Carton’s character demonstrates redemption through specific events that show how he is redeemed. Through the book Carton’s redemption is shown using Lucie’s child, Carton’s replacing Charles Darnay in jail, and finally dying in Darnay’s place…

    • 809 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Tale of Two Cities

    • 737 Words
    • 3 Pages

    A Tale of Two Cities Essay When has anything in life ever been free? Has it ever been possible for a person to achieve success, happiness, or any measure of achievement without sacrifice? Sacrifice is a recurring theme throughout A Tale of Two Cities because it is a necessity for any justice or happiness achieved in the novel. The sacrifices made in A Tale of Two Cities consist of sacrifice to the state, sacrifice of others, as well as self-sacrifice for others. One of the elements of sacrifice…

    • 737 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Tale of two Cities

    • 144268 Words
    • 578 Pages

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens This eBook is designed and published by Planet PDF. For more free eBooks visit our Web site at http://www.planetpdf.com/. A Tale of Two Cities Book the First—Recalled to Life 2 of 670 eBook brought to you by A Tale of Two Cities Create, view, and edit PDF. Download the free trial version. I The Period 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…

    • 144268 Words
    • 578 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Tale of Two Cities

    • 336 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Tale of Two Cities Paper Chloe Keirsted 4/9/13 In a Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens uses “doubles” or “foils” in order to deepen the meaning of his characters. Love can be a powerful thing. It is also one of the few things that Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton have in common, their love for Lucie Manette. Intially, Sydney Carton appears as an unconfident, depressed and moody man. But, then he meets Charles Darnay who unintentionally helps him feel, for a moment, confident…

    • 336 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    A Tale Of Two Cities

    • 1819 Words
    • 8 Pages

    of times.” (Dickens 1). Centered around the neighboring nations of England and France, Dickens acclaimed novel A Tale Of Two Cities opens with this famous line, presenting an indisputable truth. That, throughout history, whether in pre-Victorian England, or the modern United States, the times equally and eternally remains both the best and worst. In reference to the former of the two, the United States today remains the epoch of the best of times through economic explosiveness, strong border and…

    • 1819 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Tale of Two Cities

    • 662 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Tale of Two Cities In the Christian faith, the picture of making the ultimate sacrifice, that sacrifice that is done for the better of society, is an image that is constantly linked with Christ’s ultimate sacrifice to save society. This kind of sacrifice is usually done for the greater good and out of a love that is so great, that it doesn’t mind to give up what is treasured most within us, our life. In the novel A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens portrays this concept of sacrifice to represent…

    • 662 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Tale of Two Cities

    • 1190 Words
    • 5 Pages

    In the novel, “A Tale of Two Cities”, Charles Dickens says that the era of the French Revolution was an era of paradox. He also says that the period was so far like the present period. This mean that our era isn't that different than the period of the French Revolution. This means that our era is also an era of paradox. The reasons why I believe that our era is also an era of paradox is that we have more, but are grateful less; we have more knowledge, but less judgment; and we…

    • 1190 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays