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A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities



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Published by PacPac82
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Essay about the analysis of the minor characters in the novel, and the roles they play.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Essay about the analysis of the minor characters in the novel, and the roles they play.

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Published by: PacPac82 on Mar 21, 2009
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Doug MurphyEnglish 112SykesMarch 03, 2009A Tale of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens in 1859, is a captivating storyabout the French Revolution which takes place between 1775 and 1793. It is adetailed story of what life was like at that time. It tells of both France and England,and uses a good deal of symbolism to capture the reader. Dickens also uses manyadjectives throughout the book to provide the reader with a clear mental picture,making the reader even more interested in the book. However, Dickens’ use of symbolism can make the book hard to follow if one does not think broadly whilstreading it.Charles Dickens has placed many characters in this book, both major andminor. Some major characters include an alcoholic lawyer, Sydney Carton, a Frencharistocrat, Charles Darnay, a wine-shop owner and revolutionary, Monsieur Defarge,and an elderly businessman who works at a bank, Jarvis Lorry. The minor charactersrange all the way from a spy, Roger Cly, up to a lady servant, Miss Pross, and even agrave-robber who sells dead bodies to scientists for research, Jerry Cruncher. So asone can see, Dickens has included a wide range of diverse characters in A Tale of  Two Cities’s arsenal to make it a diverse and interesting novel. Jerry Cruncher is a multidimensional tradesman, honest to some, but trulynot, as well as a conscientious father and self-conscious individual. Jerry Crunchercan be described as gruff and ragged. “… Except on the crown, which was raggedlybald, he had stiff, black hair, standing jaggedly all over it, and rowing downhillalmost to his broad, blunt nose.” (20) Jerry Cruncher is mainly used as comic relief in this novel. Even when describing Jerry, Dickens uses jokes. “Mr. Cruncher himself always spoke of the year of our Lord as Anna Dominoes: apparently under the
Murphy, 2impression that the Christian era dated from the invention of a popular game, by alady who had bestowed her name upon it,” wrote Dickens (55). Just when the bookbegins to get too intense, Dickens uses Jerry to lighten things up a bit. Dickens alsouses the character of Jerry to illustrate the terrible poverty of life in England duringthe 1700’s when Dickens goes more in depth about Jerry in chapter 14 called TheHonest Tradesman, a chapter dedicated solely to Jerry Cruncher. Jerry has such ahard time supporting his family that he resorts to digging up dead bodies in secretto help make ends meet. One who does this is known as a resurrection man. He isnot proud of this, but he has no other choice. He tries to hide this by telling his wifeand son that he is going fishing, but the reader knows that he is actually leaving todig up bodies. This is the reason why his boots are clean at night, but dirty in themorning. He becomes paranoid and begins to hate that his wife prays about him. Hebelieves that she is praying against him. “What do you mean by flopping yourself down and praying agin me?” he said to his wife (56). He sometimes beats her fordoing so. “If, as a honest tradesman, my wenturs goes wrong to-night, I shall makesure that you’ve been praying agin me, and I shall work you for it just the same as if I seen you do it,” (148). Dickens creates this picture of Jerry’s life to help establishthe setting of the novel. But mostly, Jerry provides an excellent example of the 18
century life.Another minor character, Miss Pross, functions primarily as a foil for MadameDefarge. Madame Defarge is Dickens’ prime example of selfish hatred. She will doanything to avenge her sister’s death, including killing Lucie Manette. Miss Pross, onthe other hand, is the prime example of selfless love. She is willing to give her life toprotect Lucie, whom she raised while Lucie’s father, Dr. Manette, was held prisonerin the Bastille for eighteen years. Dickens’ intent becomes apparent when the two
Murphy, 3enter a confrontation at the end of the book. “No, you wicked foreign woman; I amyour match,” (336) Miss Pross says when Madame Defarge comes to find theManettes. Miss Pross wins the battle and Dickens uses this to symbolize that goodprevails over evil. “Miss Pross, with the vigorous tenacity of love, always so muchstronger than hate, clasped her tight, and even lifted her from the floor in thestruggle that they had,” (337) Dickens writes, with Miss Pross symbolizing love andMadame Defarge symbolizing hate. Miss Pross’ loss of hearing illustrates thesacrifice of her truly selfless love. Dickens plays Miss Pross against Madame Defargeas a foil to illustrate to the reader the theme of good versus evil. Two minor characters, John Barsad and Roger Cly, are British spies who swearthat patriotism alone inspires all of their actions. John Barsad, actually Miss Pross’brother, Solomon Pross, lives a false life and claims that he is a virtuous man whohas an upstanding reputation. He testified against Charles Darnay in England beforefleeing to France to avoid persecution. He worked as a spy for England in France andwas later blackmailed by Sydney Carton into aiding Carton in his final scheme.Roger Cly is a former servant of Charles Darnay who feigns honesty, but he actuallyconstantly participates in conniving schemes. He, like Barsad, also testified againstDarnay in England and later faked his own death to avoid persecution in his homecountry before fleeing to France, again like Barsad, to work as a spy for England.Roger Cly’s fake death is later uncovered by Jerry Cruncher. He is then discovered tobe a British spy and is sent to death by the gallows.Gaspard’s last name is never given in the book, but he is the man whose sonwas run over by Marquis Evrémonde as he was passing through the town in hiscarriage on his way to the Evrémonde estate in the country. When his son wastrampled to death and then run over by Marquis Evrémonde, the Marquis did not

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