This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
“Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.” A Tale of Two Cities
By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
LIFE AND WORKS OF CHARLES DICKENS Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, the son of John and Elizabeth Dickens. John Dickens was a clerk in the Naval Pay Office. He had a poor head for finances, and in 1824 found himself imprisoned for debt. His wife and children, with the exception of Charles, who was put, to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory, joined him in the Marshalsea Prison. When the family finances were put at least partly to rights and his father was released, the twelve-year-old Dickens, already scarred psychologically by the experience, was further wounded by his mother's insistence that he continue to work at the factory. His father, however, rescued him from that fate, and between 1824 and 1827 Dickens was a day pupil at a school in London. At fifteen, he found employment as an office boy at an attorney's, while he studied shorthand at night. His brief stint at the Blacking Factory haunted him all of his life -- he spoke of it only to his wife and to his closest friend, John Forster -- but the dark secret became a source both of creative energy and of the preoccupation with the themes of alienation and betrayal which would emerge, most notably, in David Copperfield and in Great Expectations. In 1829 he became a free-lance reporter at Doctor’s Commons Courts, and in 1830 he met and fell in love with Maria Beadnell, the daughter of a banker. By 1832 he had become a very successful shorthand reporter of Parliamentary debates in the House of Commons, and began work as a reporter for a newspaper. In 1833 his relationship with Maria Beadnell ended, probably because her parents did not think him a good match (a not very flattering version of her would appear years later in Little Dorrit). In the same year his first published story appeared, and was followed, very shortly thereafter, by a number of other stories and sketches. In 1834, still a newspaper reporter; he adopted the soon to be famous pseudonym “Boz.” His impecunious father (who was the original of Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield, as Dickens’s mother was the original for the querulous Mrs. Nickleby) was once again arrested for debt, and Charles, much to his chagrin, was forced to come to his aid. Later in his life both of his parents (and his brothers) were frequently after him for money. In 1835 he met and became engaged to Catherine Hogarth. The first series of Sketches by Boz was published in 1836, and that same year Dickens was hired to write short texts to accompany a series of
2 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
humorous sporting illustrations by Robert Seymour, a popular artist. Seymour committed suicide after the second number, however, and under these peculiar circumstances Dickens altered the initial conception of The Pickwick Papers, which became a novel (illustrated by Hablot K. Browne, “Phiz,” whose association with Dickens would continue for many years). The Pickwick Papers continued in monthly parts through November 1837, and, to everyone’s surprise, it became an enormous popular success. Dickens proceeded to marry Catherine Hogarth on April 2, 1836, and during the same year he became editor of Bentley’s Miscellany, published (in December) the second series of Sketches by Boz, and met John Forster, who would become his closest friend and confidant as well as his first biographer. After the success of Pickwick, Dickens embarked on a full-time career as a novelist, producing work of increasing complexity at an incredible rate, although he continued, as well, his journalistic and editorial activities. Oliver Twist was begun in 1837, and continued in monthly parts until April 1839. It was in 1837, too, that Catherine’s younger sister Mary, whom Dickens idolized, died. She too would appear, in various guises, in Dickens’s later fiction. A son, Charles, the first of ten children, was born in the same year. Nicholas Nickleby got underway in 1838, and continued through October 1839, in which year Dickens resigned as editor of Bentley’s Miscellany. The first number of Master Humphrey’s Clock appeared in 1840, and The Old Curiosity Shop, begun in Master Humphrey, continued through February 1841, when Dickens commenced Barnaby Rudge, which continued through November of that year. In 1842 he embarked on a visit to Canada and the United States in which he advocated international copyright (unscrupulous American publishers, in particular, were pirating his works) and the abolition of slavery. His American Notes, which created a furore in America (he commented unfavourably, for one thing, on the apparently universal -- and, so far as Dickens was concerned, highly distasteful -American predilection for chewing tobacco and spitting the juice), appeared in October of that year. Martin Chuzzlewit, part of which was set in a not very flatteringly portrayed America, was begun in 1843, and ran through July 1844. A Christmas Carol, the first of Dickens's enormously successful Christmas books -- each, though they grew progressively darker, intended as “a whimsical sort of masque intended to awaken loving and forbearing thoughts” -- appeared in December 1844. In that same year, Dickens and his family toured Italy, and were much abroad, in Italy, Switzerland, and France, until 1847. Dickens returned to
3 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
London in December 1844, when The Chimes was published, and then went back to Italy, not to return to England until July of 1845. 1845 also brought the debut of Dickens's amateur theatrical company, which would occupy a great deal of his time from then on. The Cricket and the Hearth, a third Christmas book, was published in December, and his Pictures From Italy appeared in 1846 in the “Daily News,” a paper that Dickens founded and of which, for a short time, he was the editor. In 1847, in Switzerland, Dickens began Dombey and Son, which ran until April 1848. The Battle of Life appeared in December of that year. In 1848 Dickens also wrote an autobiographical fragment, directed and acted in a number of amateur theatricals, and published what would be his last Christmas book, The Haunted Man, in December. 1849 saw the birth of David Copperfield, which would run through November 1850. In that year, too, Dickens founded and installed himself as editor of the weekly Household Words, which would be succeeded, in 1859, by All the Year Round, which he edited until his death. 1851 found him at work on Bleak House, which appeared monthly from 1852 until September 1853. In 1853 he toured Italy with Augustus Egg and Wilkie Collins, and gave, upon his return to England, the first of many public readings from his own works. Hard Times began to appear weekly in Household Words in 1854, and continued until August. Dickens's family spent the summer and the fall in Boulogne. In 1855 they arrived in Paris in October, and Dickens began Little Dorrit, which continued in monthly parts until June 1857. In 1856 Dickens and Wilkie Collins collaborated on a play, The Frozen Deep, and Dickens purchased Gad's Hill, an estate he had admired since childhood. The Dickens family spent the summer of 1857 at a renovated Gad's Hill. Hans Christian Anderson, whose fairy tales Dickens admired greatly, visited them there and quickly wore out his welcome. Dickens's theatrical company performed The Frozen Deep for the Queen, and when a young actress named Ellen Ternan joined the cast in August, Dickens fell in love with her. In 1858, in London, Dickens undertook his first public readings for pay, and quarrelled with his old friend and rival, the great novelist Thackeray. More importantly, it was in that year that, after a long period of difficulties, he separated from his wife. They had been for many years “temperamentally unsuited” to each other. Dickens, charming and brilliant though he was, was also fundamentally insecure emotionally, and must have been extraordinarily difficult to live with.
4 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1859 his London readings continued, and he began a new weekly, All the Year Round. The first instalment of A Tale of Two Cities appeared in the opening number, and the novel continued through November. By 1860, the Dickens family had taken up residence at God’s Hill. Dickens, during a period of retrospection, burned many personal letters, and re-read his own David Copperfield, the most autobiographical of his novels, before beginning Great Expectations, which appeared weekly until August 1861. 1861 found Dickens embarking upon another series of public readings in London, readings that would continue through the next year. In 1863, he did public readings both in Paris and London, and reconciled with Thackeray just before the latter’s death. Our Mutual Friend was begun in 1864, and appeared monthly until November 1865. Dickens was in poor health, due largely to consistent overwork. In 1865, an incident occurred, which disturbed Dickens greatly, both psychologically and physically: Dickens and Ellen Ternan, returning from a Paris holiday, were badly shaken up in a railway accident in which a number of people were injured. 1866 brought another series of public readings, this time in various locations in England and Scotland, and still more public readings, in England and Ireland was undertaken in 1867. Dickens was now really unwell but carried on, compulsively, against his doctor's advice. Late in the year he embarked on an American reading tour, which continued into 1868. Dickens's health was worsening, but he took over still another physically and mentally exhausting task, editorial duties at All the Year Round. During 1869, his readings continued, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, until at last he collapsed, showing symptoms of mild stroke. Further provincial readings were cancelled, but he began upon The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Dickens’s final public readings took place in London in 1870. He suffered another stroke on June 8 at Gad's Hill, after a full day's work on Edwin Drood, and died the next day. He was buried at Westminster Abbey on June 14, and the last episode of the unfinished Mystery of Edwin Drood appeared in September.
By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
AN ANALYSIS OF “A TALE OF TWO CITIES” From the momentous time in the 1830s when the monthly parts of The Pickwick Papers revolutionized British publishing, Charles Dickens had customarily collaborated with such artists as Robert Seymour, George Cruikshank, George Cattermole, and especially Hablot Knight Browne (1815-1882) -- better known simply as “Phiz”-- to create the illustrations for his fiction. However, when Dickens serialized the shorter novels Hard Times 1854) and Great Expectations (1861) in his own weekly periodicals, Household Words and its successor, All the Year Round, there was no such collaborative programme of illustration. Aware, perhaps, that his friend Browne's essentially comedic style of illustration was beginning to look somewhat dated to his serious- minded Victorian readership, Dickens severed an artistic relationship that had resulted in some five hundred initial vignettes, wrapper designs, and full-page illustrations of nine novels. For twenty-three years Browne continued as illustrator-in-chief of Dickens’s writings, ten of the novels being illustrated by him in etching or in wood engraving, besides various “extra illustrations,” and numerous duplicate etchings. A Tale of Two Cities . . . was the last of the novels upon which he was engaged, but there was no rupture in the friendship which had so long subsisted between him and Dickens, and we can only attribute the change to the very natural desire of the author to have his fiction illustrated by an artist of the younger school, whom he found in the son of his old friend, Frank Stone. One criticism of Browne's style in the monthly pairs of illustrations, A Tale of Two Cities is the absence of the dark plates so characteristic of his work in Bleak House and Little Dorrit, a type of plate using subtle gradations of light and shade to create the impression of a mezzotint. Solberg relates the absence of such atmospheric illustrations after Little Dorrit to the inability of the new lithographic mode of to reproduce Browne’s dark plates: “For duplicating a ‘dark plate’, he was given an additional seventeen guineas, raising his earnings to over £40 a month” (40). However, by issuing A Tale of Two Cities in weekly instalments in All the Year Round, Dickens so reduced the demand for monthly parts, that, as Solberg explains, a single engraved plate was sufficient to print both illustrations required for the monthly part. “Once this happened, Browne, for whom the business motive appears to have operated throughout, lost the
6 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
economic incentive for using 'dark plates' and returned to simple line drawings”. Thus, we must take the following criticism cum grano salis: There is little or nothing in Browne’s final work for Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859), that comes near to matching his own best work in either Little Dorrit or Paved With Gold [by Augustus Mayhew, monthly serialisation, 1857-1858]. The cover design is inferior to many Phiz did for Dickens and other novelists, there are no dark plates or emblematic details among the sixteen etchings, and only a few scenes of revolution in their energetic depiction of the mob add very much to this last collaboration with Dickens. To maintain as wide a readership as possible, Dickens issued the weekly numbers of All the Year Round without illustration, the price of that small pulp magazine being only 2 d. per issue. However, as Edgar Browne says of A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens “also issued it independently in the usual green-covered monthly parts, with two illustrations by Hablot K. Browne. The two issues ran concurrently, the monthly part in the blue-green wrapper costing a shilling. Elizabeth Cayzer notes that, “When assembled as a monthly part, the pictures were tipped into the episode ahead of the text. Such a juxtaposing of two plates would easily set up a train of reverberations in the reader’s mind”. “In the closing double number, the reader would find two more illustrations, the Frontispiece and the Title-page. Placed here they allow him to reflect upon what he has read. Later, placed at the front of a bound copy of the novel, they also announce the main themes and concerns of the book”. Cayzer's remarks, of course, could be applied to almost any previous Dickens novel that Browne had illustrated, from the fourth monthly part of The Pickwick Papers (1836-7), when Browne (alias “Nemo” and then “Phiz”) was only twenty, until the closing number of Little Dorrit, in June, 1857. One naturally wonders what Dickens felt had gone so wrong with the illustrations for A Tale of Two Cities that he determined to severe a collaborative relationship which had lasted twenty-three years, and which had resulted (by Albert Johannsen's calculation, p. vi) in 1,603 illustrations. Phiz was much upset at Dickens's strangely silent manner of breaking the connection. Writing to his friend and assistant, Robert Young, shortly before the publication of Great Expectations, the artist, Marcus [Stone] is no doubt to do Dickens. I have been a good boy I believe. The plates in hand are all in good time, so that I do not know what are up any more than you. Dickens probably thinks a new hand would give his old puppets a fresh look, or perhaps he does not like my illustrating Trollope neck-and-neck with him
7 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
(though, by Jingo, he need have no rivalry there! Confound all authors and publishers, I say. There is no pleasing one or to other. I wish I had never had anything to do with the lot. Ironically, although subsequent editions of A Tale of Two Cities were illustrated by “new hands” (Marcus Stone and Fred Barnard in Great Britain, J. McLenan in the Harper’s Weekly serial in America), it is still Phiz’s plates that are most commonly chosen to accompany the text (the most notable example being the Penguin English Library edition of 1970), “remarkably tame and lacking in dramatic spirit” as some, including paratextual Dickensian Michael Steig, may find them. The note of bitterness about all publishers and novelists in the closing of his letter to Young suggests that Browne sensed he was near the end of his career as an illustrator; in fact, he was already nearing the end of his working life, for in 1867 he suffered a stroke which rendered him incapable of further artistic production, although he did not die until long after Dickens, on July 8, 1882. Steig notes that the actual duration of their active collaboration would have been somewhat less: “during the twenty-four years from 1836 through 1859 Browne had thirteen years of employment on Dickens' novels”. Although several possible explanations may account the “falling-off” in quality which Steig among others detects in the sequence for the 1859 novel, he speculates that, owing to the novelist's growing lack of interest in illustration, Dickens provided “Browne less interesting subjects and relatively little guidance. Perhaps another factor was that A Tale of Two Cities was written for weekly part publication (in All the Year Round), and it is thus unusually compressed in its bulk and schematic in its plan and development”. Much of Browne's work involves contemporary settings and characters in nineteenth-century costume, so that, as Percy Muir uncharitably remarks of his work for A Tale of Two Cities, “The figures look like characters in a masquerade and not very convincing ones at that”. Muir and Steig seem to concur in their explanation for this inferior narrative series: “The sad fact is that the poor man’s powers were declining”. Like Alan S. Watts in “Why Wasn't Great Expectations Illustrated?” Steig attributes Dickens’ abandonment of Phiz as symptomatic of Dickens’ attitudes towards pictorial accompaniment by the end of the 1850s: “The fact is that Dickens no longer felt the need for illustrations” Because,
By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
“The days of illustrated novels were drawing to an end, and possibly Dickens foresaw this”. Had Dickens wanted illustrations [after severing his connection with Browne] he would have had to seek out a new collaborator, a search made difficult by the marked change in style and use of book illustrations in the late fifties. The familiarity of the subject matter in the new realistic fiction, and the growing sophistication of the reading public, made illustrators less essential to the novels of the 1860s than they had been to the novels of the forties and fifties. On the other hand, Percy Muir like A. J. Hammerton suggests that “Dickens felt the need of new blood” in illustrating Great Expectations. Certainly on the eve of his second American reading tour Dickens seems quite interested in the numerous Sol Eytinge and Sir John Gilbert illustrations intended to accompany A Holiday Romance in the Boston publishing firm of Ticknor and Fields' recently-launched children's magazine Our Young Folks: “They are remarkable for a most agreeable absence of exaggeration, a pleasant sense of beauty, and a general modesty and propriety which I greatly like”. Although this letter to the novelist's American publisher may suggest Dickens' desire to stay current with popular taste, the Eytinge vignettes for A Holiday Romance are hardly the “austere” and serious productions that Steig asserts are characteristic of 1860s illustrators. Finally, in “To Edward Chapman, 16 Oct. 1859” Dickens complains to his publisher: “I have not yet seen any sketches from Mr. Browne, Will you see to this, without loss of time”. The Pilgrim editors note that Dickens may have felt that Browne was dilatory and have resented the fact that he was simultaneously providing numerous illustrations for Once a Week. When the book was published as a volume, CD had his own copy bound without the plates. The rival weekly was one of the new, illustrated sort, and the other serialised novel on which Phiz had been working was Charles Lever’s Davenport Dunn (1857-9), the plates for which Steig pronounces “more interesting than those for Dickens' novel” because of their incisive lines “greater attention to detail, and a depiction of human figures which is charged with life and energy”. Thus, Dickens may well have felt that Phiz’s superior work for Once a Week was preventing the illustrator from adhering to Chapman and Hall’s publishing deadlines for the monthly numbers of Tale, and
9 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
that Phiz was failing to clear his conceptions at the draft stage with the novelist, who valued the opportunity to suggest alterations. Jane Rabb Cohen in Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators (1980) indicates that, although sales of All the Year Round rebounded after the Lever fiasco, probably as a result of the serialisation of A Tale of Two Cities, sales of the monthly parts, though illustrated, “languished” (118). She contends that, since Dickens had eliminated his usual detail in descriptions of characters and settings to accommodate weekly instalments, his style in A Tale of Two Cities is “declarative” rather than “evocative,” and therefore failed to provide Browne with sufficient inspiration. Dickens's cast of characters (much more limited than one finds in his usual monthly serializations), she contends, is “easily recalled without graphic reminders,” and therefore illustrations for this novel are “superfluous.” She asserts that the artist's renditions of Darnay and Dr. Manette are “too conventional to be memorable” and that his visual realizations of the villains “look too benign to be credible.” Browne's interiors and architectural backgrounds, she continues, lack interest, atmosphere, and authenticity. “Since they contain neither draftsmanship to be admired nor detail to be studied, it is hardly worth interrupting the gripping narrative to turn the page around to view” the oblong plates, the first such plates in a work by Dickens. Even if we grant Sander’s point that “none of the plates adds substantially to a reader’s grasp of the story” (Companion 166) or Steig’s that Browne’s plates for the monthly instalments of A Tale of Two Cities lack the detail and in particular the emblems so evident in his earlier work for Dickens, nevertheless as a narrative series they are not lacking in imaginative power and coherence. However, Browne’s work poses a problem for the modern, critical reader: how to integrate illustrations and text into a total interpretation when the relationship between the two is not entirely clear. We know little of Dickens’ directions for Browne’s programme since both author and artist subsequently burned much of their correspondence, including (presumably) the novelist’s instructions and responses regarding the visual sequence that runs from the second chapter through all but the last three (that the last three are not illustrated is perhaps no accident, since an illustration of any incident in those last chapters would have let the cat out of the bag in terms of plot and suspense). One must approach Browne’s etchings for A Tale of Two Cities, then, not individually but as a series or programme in which certain poses and objects acquire additional meanings through repetition and placement and serve to knit
10 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
individual scenes together, and in which characters initially unknown become more and more recognizable as a result of an interaction of text and plate, and of the plates with each other. The pair of plates accompanying each monthly unit had to serve in part as an inducement to lay additional money out; another advantage of the monthly over the weekly parts is that the former, on superior paper, leant themselves eventually to being bound together as a single text. Throughout their long association, Phiz had supplied the illustrations (visual counterpoint and pictorial commentary to Dickens’ texts) as the value-added feature that so much of the Victorian readership appreciated: two full-page plates per serial instalment. The function of these illustrations was initially to provide an anticipatory set for the serial reader, then subsequently a handy aide memoir so that, as the date of release for the next number approached, the reader could quickly refresh his memories of characters and relationships thus far introduced. Perhaps, then, with these functions in mind the modern reader should approach these plates as a sequence and juxtapose them against Dickens’ text, just as monthly readers would have from May to November, 1859, the wrapper each month reiterating themes, movements, and characters, and lending itself to successive reinterpretations as both printed and visual texts unfolded.
A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF “A TALE OF TWO CITIES” The ideas for A Tale of Two Cities came to Dickens in small doses over twenty years. When Thomas Carlyle's book The French Revolution was published in 1837, Dickens read it eagerly. He was so moved by Carylyle’s descriptions of the time that he wanted to set a novel in the fiery Revolutionary period. Some of the characters and plots came directly from other stories that he wrote in those years. While he worked on the short story The Battle of Life in 1846, a Christmas story about self-sacrifice, he thought about writing the story of an imprisoned man and his mental state. This same story featured a one sister sacrificing her love for her sister’s sake. The largest motivation came in his friendship with the writer Wilkie Collins. Collins and Dickens collaborated in stories about heroic and dedicated friendships. One of the plays they wrote together, named The Frozen Deep, describes the sacrifice of one young man, who dies to save his friend. Another actress in this play was the 18-year-old Ellen Tiernan, whom Dickens loved in the wake of his failed marriage. She played the beloved of The Frozen Deep’s heroes. Dickens was entangled in numerous scandals during the writing of A Tale of Two Cities. His marriage to the cold Catherine Hogarth ended in 1858. The rumours said that he had left Catherine for her sister Georgina, and the relationship with Ellen Tiernan did nothing to help Dickens' image. When Dickens attempted to publish a letter that addressed these scandals, his publishers refused to run the letter. Dickens saw this as such a terrible attack that he dissolved all connections with them and began his own weekly journal, All The Year Round. To give the journal a good start, he decided to combine all the ideas of the past twenty years to create A Tale of Two Cities. Each week, more than 100,000 people bought the journal to read the next instalment. Because Dickens was an author who frequently drew upon his personal experiences to write, we can see the personal influences of A Tale of Two Cities. Biographical critics believe that Dickens’ revolutionary subject parallels his own social upheaval, created through the scandals of his marriage and his break from his publishers. One could also make an argument for the characters as well. Darnay’s initials are the same as Dickens’. Carton’s love for Lucie is similar to Dickens’ love for Ellen
12 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
Tiernan. As a physician with a dual life, Dr. Manette resembles Dickens’ desire to heal society and create imaginary worlds through his writings. A Tale of Two Cities, however, is influenced by its setting and social portraits more than its characters. Critics of the time decried the novel because it focused so much on the descriptions of the countries, and lacked any well-drawn, comic characters (a staple of Dickens' novels). Today, critics would argue that Dickens was using the novel to bring attention to the social problems and confusion of his own time. It is one of only two Dickens novels that are not set in nineteenth-century England, yet the society of England in 1859 was remarkably like the France of 1789. (This provides an explanation for the emphasis on connections in time within the novel.) At both times, the poor were far below the upper classes, and the poor had no influence upon public affairs. The rich did nothing to help; for fear that the poor would want to better themselves when they worked better as cheap labour. The poor suffered from overcrowding, hunger, repetitive labour, and long hours of work. The prevailing thought in Dickens’ time was that the aristocrats of France persecuted the poor until they were driven to revolt. Some political thinkers of Dickens’ time thought that England needed a revolution similar to France’s. Dickens, along with most people, believed that the English people would explode into a murderous mob at any moment. A Tale of Two Cities is an attempt to remind the English of a revolution’s danger. How can the English fend off such a revolution? The individual can have a great influence upon the halting or continuing of a revolution. For instance, Lucie is able to win the hearts of many people, from her insane father to the curmudgeonly Carton to the genteel Darnay, and she can influence them through her concern for their welfare. Yet the individual is not the only thing that can stop it‹after all, Dr. Manette could not save Darnay through his own good influence, while Madame Defarge is able to lead the mob to the carnage of the Bastille single-handedly. The second thing needed to stop the revolution is love. It is not necessarily a romantic love, although Carton’s love for Lucie is romantic on a certain level. Rather, it is more a universal, Christian love. Just as Christ gave himself up in death because of his for the world and desires to take its sins, Carton sacrifices himself for the sins of the Evremondes (which suggests “every man” or “every world”) and for his idealized love of Lucie. In the end, the anarchy of revolution can only be tempered by the individual who acts with Christian charity towards his fellow man.
13 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
MOST EXPECTED QUESTIONS Q: “A TALE OF TWO CITIES” IS A HISTORICAL NOVEL, DISCUSS? Q: “A TALE OF TWO CITIES” IS RELATED TO A MOST INFLUENTIAL INCIDENT OF HISTORY BUT IT IS NOT A COMPLETE HISTORICAL BOOK, COMMENT? Ans: A tale of Two Cities is a historical novel related to the period before and all through the French Revolution. Dickens had previously written one historical novel, Barnaby Rudge, which, however, dealt with a period of English history. By the time he wrote A Tale of Two Cities he was feeling vitally interested in history and was convinced of its importance in relation to his own times. In the French Revolution he found a subject commendable of his broadest vision to ponder upon: a great nation ripening its own annihilation –literally France, of course, but by inference England too, and any other nation having embedded feudal privileges with their inherent abuses. However, it has to be kept in mind that Dickens’s novel does not by any means depict the colossal sweep and drama of the French Revolution in all its intricacy. Dickens has condensed the basic threat of the Revolution and the basic lesson that can be drawn from it by depicting the effects of the Terror, or the revengeful side of the Revolution, on a small group of people who get involved in these public events against their will. As a historical novel, A Tale of Two Cities has obvious limitations. It attempts no really panoramic view of either the English or the French political world of those critical years (1775-1793). Barnaby Rudge, its precursor in the use of popular uprisings, was much more thorough in that respect. In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens depicts the beginnings of popular discontent in France, the rising dissatisfaction of the people with members of the privileged classes, the turmoil caused by public fury, and the excesses and barbarities committed by the revolutionaries during the years of the French Revolution. Dickens gives us no connected account of the French Revolution, its progress and its culmination. He gives us brief and scattered accounts of some of the principal episodes. But he manages by this means to convey to us all the horror of the French Revolution. He gives us no systematic analysis of the causes of the French Revolution and he certainly takes no cognizance of the idealistic and intellectual beginnings of the French Revolution. At the same time, Dickens takes no notice of the leading
14 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
historical personalities of the French Revolution, such as Mirabeau, Lafayette, Robespierre, and Napoleon; he does not, for instance, show the struggles of the government for money in time of depression, the difficulties of parliament, the pathetic story of Marie Antoinette, and the philosophical thinking behind the movement. Dickens’s main concern, so far as the French Revolution is concerned, was to show that extreme injustice leads to violence, and violence then leads to inhuman cruelty as shown by the Reign of Terror in France. In the first part of his novel, Dickens sympathizes with the poor and downtrodden people, but in the end these very people become the villains who therefore repel him. Dickens’s first reference to the outward causes of the French Revolution comes in the Chapter Called “The Wine Shop” in which he uses the symbol of the mill to convey the grinding poverty through, which the people of Saint Antoine are passing. Then there are the three Chapters in which the callousness and arrogance of a particular nobleman are depicted. These Chapters are “Monseigneur in Town”, “Monseigneur in the Country”, and “The Gorgon’s Head”. The Monseigneur or Marquis Evremonde in these Chapters symbolizes the entire privileged class, and his assassination is a symptom of what is to come. The hanging of Gaspard (the assassin of the Marquis) and the “registration” of the Evremonde family and of the spy John Barsad are pointers in the same direction. One of the best known episodes of the French Revolution is then briefly described by Dickens in the Chapter entitled “Echoing Footsteps”. That episode is the storming of the Bastille. Madame Defarge’s cutting off the head of the governor of the Bastille with her own hands prepares us for the excesses, which will be committed by the revolutionaries. The hanging of old Foulon and his son-in-law and the setting of the chateau of the Evremondes on fire continue the episodic and fragmentary account by Dickens of the French Revolution are conveyed to us in the final part of the novel, where we have a depressing description of the prisoners in La Force, a frightening description of the sharpening of weapons by the revolutionaries on the grindstone, an awful description of the working of La Guillotine, (the National Razor, which shaved close), the terrible account of the dancing of the Carmagnole, and the dreadful references to such happenings as the summary trails of the prisoners by the Revolutionary Tribunal and the sentencing to death of such harmless persons as the poor seamstress. These historical scenes in the novel show that Dickens selected only two actual episodes from the French Revolution –the storming of the Bastille and the lynching of old Foulon and his son-in-law.
15 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
These two episodes have been re-enacted in the novel with great vividness, and in both cases Dickens has followed Carlyle very closely. None of the great personalities of the French Revolution appears on the scene, and only the executioner Samson is mentioned. Dickens’s main achievement lies not only in giving us graphic and stirring accounts in the manner of Carlyle, but also in interweaving the personal lives of a group of private characters with the events of the French Revolution. These private individuals are Dr. Manette, Lucie Manette, Darnay, and Carton, besides such less important figures as Mr. Lorry, Miss Pross, and John Barsad. The leading characters are drawn into the whirlpool of the revolutionary events not because they have any ideological interest in the events of the time but as innocent victims who have done nothing at all to deserve the suffering and distress caused to them. The sentence of death against Darnay is most unjust when we realize that he was on the side of the people; that as a token of his humanitarian zeal, he had given up his claims to the family property and title in France; and that, furthermore, he was visiting France briefly in an attempt to save the life of a poor man who was in danger. The others are drawn into the whirlpool for the sake of Darnay, and Carton’s sacrifice of his life and his execution flow primarily from Lucie’s involvement. Although Dickens does not present any systematic theory of the revolution, he certainly reveals a well-defined attitude towards the revolution and seems to have formed certain definite views about it. In this respect also he seems to have been influenced considerably by Carlyle. Dickens was encouraged by Carlyle’s views to regard the past primarily as a storehouse of lessons, and a terrible moral drama. In writing his novel, he was very particular about integrating the personal lives of his characters with the wider pattern of history. It is the principal scheme of the novel to show the individual fate mirroring and being mirrored by the fate of the social order. The lives of both Dr. Manette and Sydney Carton are parables of the revolution, of social regeneration through suffering and sacrifice. The Doctor’s return to life illustrates the stumbling course of the new order, released from its dark dungeon of oppression and misery, finding its place in a new and jester world. And Carton embodies both the novel’s central narrative theme and its profoundest moral view: his past of sinful negligence parallels the past of 18th century Europe; his noble death demonstrates the possibility of rebirth through love and expiation. Indeed, the web of moral inter-dependence has been very closely spun. According to one critic, there
16 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
is no other piece of fiction in which the domestic life of a few simple private people is in such a manner knitted and interwoven with the outbreak of a terrible public event, so that the one seems to be part of the other. The actual fact is that Dickens regarded the revolution as a monster. That is why, here are remembered the revolutionary scenes of A Tale of Two Cities; these scenes have the quality of a nightmare, and it is Dickens’s own nightmare. The moral, which Dickens, therefore, wishes to teach us through his treatment of the French Revolution, is that violence leads to violence, that prison is the consequence of prison, and that hatred is the reward of hatred. He wanted that governments should not allow the people to become so frustrated and angry that they are compelled to revolt and become not only violent, but also ruthlessly violent. If all French noblemen had been as willing to give up their class privileges as Darnay, and if all French intellectuals had been as keen to expose social abuses as Dr. Manette, there might have been no French Revolution or there would at least have been no revolution of the same terrific dimensions. Dickens never forgets that the French Revolution was born of unspeakable suffering, intolerable oppression, and heartless indifference. Society was diseased before the fever broke out. And his conclusion about the French Revolution as stated in the final Chapter of his novel is: “Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.” Q: WHAT ARE THE MAJOR THEMES IN “A TALE OF TWO CITIES”? Q: RESURRECTION AND RENUNCIATION ARE THE THEMES OF THE NOVEL? Ans: The ubiquitous likelihood of Resurrection - With A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens avows his belief in the possibility of resurrection and transformation, both on a individual level and on a societal level. The narrative suggests that Sydney Carton’s death secures a new, peaceful life for Lucie Manette, Charles Darnay, and even Carton himself. By delivering himself to the guillotine, Carton ascends to the plane of heroism, becoming a Christ-like figure whose death serves to save the lives of others. His own life thus gains meaning and value. Moreover, the final pages of the novel
17 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
suggest that, like Christ, Carton will be resurrected—Carton is reborn in the hearts of those he has died to save. Similarly, the text implies that the death of the old regime in France prepares the way for the beautiful and renewed Paris that Carton supposedly envisions from the guillotine. Although Carton spends most of the novel in a life of indolence and apathy, the supreme selflessness of his final act speaks to a human capacity for change. Although the novel dedicates much time to describing the atrocities committed both by the aristocracy and by the outraged peasants, it ultimately expresses the belief that this violence will give way to a new and better society. Dickens elaborates his theme with the character of Doctor Manette. Early on in the novel, Lorry holds an imaginary conversation with him in which he says that Manette has been “recalled to life.” As this statement implies, the doctor’s eighteen-year imprisonment has constituted a death of sorts. Lucie's love enables Manette's spiritual renewal, and her maternal cradling of him on her breast reinforces this notion of rebirth. The argument of resurrection is launched at the very beginning when Mr. Lorry, who is travelling by the mail coach to Dover, sends a message to Tellson’s Bank through the messenger, Jerry Cruncher. The words of Mr. Lorry’s message are “Recalled to life”. These words are of great significance in the story of the novel and have an immediate bearing on the mission, which is taking Mr. Lorry to Dover and from there to Paris. Mr. Lorry, who will be accompanied by Miss Lucie Manette, is going to Paris in the order of bring Dr. Manette to England. Now, Dr. Manette turns out to be an exprisoner of the Bastille. Dr. Manette had been unjustly and arbitrarily thrown into a cell of the Bastille by the two Evremonde brothers and has now been released after a period of eighteen years. Not only had Dr. Manette been given up by his relations as having been dead for many years; but a man, who spends such a long time as eighteen years in prison, is, to all intents and purposes, dead in everybody’s eyes. Under the circumstances, to bring Dr. Manette to England and to enable him to live again as a free man is nothing short of recalling him to life. As the mail-coach lurches on towards its destination, Mr. Lorry begins to feel drowsy and it seems to him that he is going to Paris in order to dig out a dead man from the grave where he had remained buried for a long, long time. The prolonged imprisonment of Dr. Manette seems to Mr. Lorry in his sleepy state to have been a kind of burial in a grave from which Dr. Manette is now to be dug out. The image of digging out a dead man from his grave, to Mr. Lorry’s mind occurs several times as he leans back in his seat, half-asleep.
18 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
But a second resurrection for Dr. Manette has yet to take place. Dr. Manette cannot lead a normal life or enjoy his new found freedom unless he recovers his sanity. Under the loving care of his daughter, Dr. Manette begins to improve both physically and mentally and, after a year or so, gets quite well. Even now, sometimes, when he is under some mental stress, he relapses into insanity and gets busy with his shoe-making, an occupation, which he had learnt in the prison and which used to keep him busy there. But every time such a relapse occurs, Lucie’s loving words have a healing effect on him and he begins to behave normally. Lucie is like a “golden thread” uniting him to the past and to the present; and the sound of her voice, the light of her face, the touch of her hand has always a strong beneficial influence him. After a couple of years more, Dr. Manette gets perfectly well and finds himself even in a position to start his medical practice. This, then, is Dr. Manette’s second resurrection. Then there is Charles Darnay who is rescued from an impending death not once, not twice but three times. Each time this rescue takes place; it is a kind of resurrection or rebirth for Darnay because each time death seems to have snatched him away from the world of the living. The first occasion is his trail at old Bailey where he has been charged with treason against England. This release from the threat of death is the first resurrection for Darnay. He has rejoined the world of the living after having been claimed by death as one of its victims. Darnay’s second resurrection takes place when he is in France and when, after fifteen months in the prison of La Force, he is put on trial and faces the penalty of death. Carton himself also achieves a resurrection. He achieves resurrection in two senses. Firstly, his death constitutes a spiritual resurrection for him. By his sacrificial death, Carton, who had been leading a life of profligacy, is a kind of resurrection for him. Secondly, when Carton conceives his bold plan to save Darnay’s life, the words of the Christian Burial Service echo in his ears. “I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: and that believeth in me though he were dead yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die”. These words Carton had heard at the time of his father’s funeral, and these words now come to him as a promise that the man who believes in Lord Jesus Christ never dies. These words echo again in Carton’s ears when he is actually going to be executed. Thus Carton dies, feeling sure that he will find himself alive in another world. Carton dies with the certainty of resurrection.
19 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, resurrection, for the purposes of this novel, may also be taken to mean political and social regeneration. The French people, having been oppressed and exploited for centuries, having been clamouring for a new political and social order without any success. Ultimately they rise in revolt against the established authority and try to bring about sweeping reforms. Of course, their action involves unheard of criminal acts and unprecedented cruelties so that the remedy seems to be worse than the disease. But the implication of the people’s revolt also is that some kind of improvement upon the previous regime would be possible. The moral of the French Revolution, according to Dickens, is that the upper classes everywhere should mend their ways in order to see that the poor are contented and happy. The other theme, less prominent but more valuable, is renunciation. It is through a renunciation of his claim to the family estate and the family title that Charles Evremonde attains a heroic stature in our eyes. When Charles was still a little child, his mother had imposed a duty on him and he had bravely promised to keep faith with her. On growing up he decides to give up his claim to the family inheritance because he realizes that the family to which he belongs had done many wrongs to the poor people. To him the family inheritance signifies “a crumbling tower of waste, mismanagement, extortion, debt, mortgage, oppression, hunger, nakedness and suffering”. Darnay’s relinquishment of this inheritance therefore shows a generous heart and a spirit of self-sacrifice indicative of his humanitarian instincts. If all noblemen and aristocrats in France had possessed this spirit, there would have been no Revolution. The other act of renunciation is performed by Sydney Carton who gets ready to give up his life for the sake of another. He renounces no property or title; he renounces the world itself and his earthly life. His renunciation represents the highest achievement that any man is capable of. Like Christ, he dies so that others may live. Carton, through his renunciation, shows the way to achieve that to which all mankind aspires. As such he is the real antithesis of Madame Defarge who represents evil and hatred. Q: DESCRIBE IN YOUR OWN WORDS THE STRUCTURE OF “A TALE OF TWO CITIES”. Q: ILLUSTRATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF PLOT OF “A TALE OF TWO CITIES”. Ans:
20 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
A Tale of Two Cities holds one of the best stories written by Dickens, and it has proved to be one of his most popular stories. The story of this novel is undoubtedly realistic and convincing in the main, and it has been very well told. Our attention is held throughout, and at every step we wait eagerly for what is to come next. The novel has a well-constructed plot, which does not suffer from any undue interruptions or digressions. The author has shown a remarkable capacity for condensing his material, so that the narration of the story is marked by an economy, which gives to the plot a remarkable compactness. The novel contains a single plot, without any subplots or side-plots. The result of this single plot is a unity of impression. The novel is free from prolixity and from diffuseness, which often mar the novels of Thackeray. The story progresses in a straight line, and does not halt much anywhere on the way. Another feature of the plot is that it keeps moving at a fast pace, so that there is no feeling of boredom caused by too much slowness is the narration or by an excessive lingering over the details. The story of this novel concerns a group of private individuals who are somehow drawn into the whirlpool of a great public and political event, which is the French Revolution. Two dominant themes of the novel are resurrection and renunciation. Resurrection implies death and rebirth, and in the novel it appears in several forms. Dr. Manette is “recalled to life” from his prolonged imprisonment in the Bastille, and soon he recovers his sanity also. Thus there is a double resurrection in the case of this man who from the physical point of view had been buried alive in a prison cell and who from the mental point of view had lost his sanity. Then there is a resurrection in the case of Darnay who is saved from impending death as many as three times in the course of the novel. There is a resurrection for Carton too who, though he does not escape death, is to be imagined is having passed to another world to lead a new life. His sacrificial death is in itself a resurrection because it means his moral regeneration. Darnay’s relinquishment of his ancestral property and title, and Carton’s sacrifice of his life for the sake of the woman he loved constitute the theme of renunciation in the story. These two themes of the novel are developed in a connected manner against the background of some of the events of French Revolution. Episodes relating to the French Revolution do not occupy too much space in the story so that, while we are given an adequate idea of the violence and the bloodshed that took place during the years of the French Revolution, or attention is not taken away from the main characters and their fortunes. Dickens wisely kept out any mention or portrayal of the actual
21 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
historical personalities connected with the French Revolution, concentrating only upon the imaginary characters invented by him. The real skill of the author in constructing the plot of this novel lies in the manner in which he has interwoven private lives with public events. According to one critic, for instance, the domestic life of a few simple private people in this novel is in such a manner knitted and interwoven with the outbreak of a terrible public event that the one seems to be but part of the other. Dr. Manette is a private individual who has suffered long years of imprisonment in the Bastille. The Bastille soon afterwards is stormed by the revolutionary mob to which it has become a symbol of the tyranny of the despotic government and the callous upper classes. Dr. Manette, under the circumstances, becomes a kind of hero because he had been a victim of the cruelty of the aristocrats who had got him arbitrarily thrown into the Bastille. Charles Darnay is a private individual who, however, is regarded by the revolutionary mob as an enemy of the people because he belongs to land owning, titled family even though he himself has of his own accord given up his claims to the family property and the family title. Lucie earns the wrath of Madame Defarge, a fierce revolutionary woman, for being the wife of an aristocrat to whom she is antagonistic on personal grounds; while Carton gets involved in the revolutionary turmoil because of his devotion to Lucie. Madame Defarge comes of a family, which had suffered badly at the hands of the same aristocratic family of which Darnay is the son and heir. Both she and her husband were private individuals who, however, have risen into prominence as the revolutionary leaders of the poor and downtrodden inhabitants of the suburb of Saint Antoine and who lead the assault on the Bastille. The interweaving is thus very close. Indeed, it seems that Dickens was particularly concerned with integrating the personal lives of his characters with the wider pattern of history. The novel aims at showing the individual fate as mirroring and being mirrored by the fate of the social order. The lives of both Dr. Manette and Sydney Carton become parables of the French Revolution or of a social regeneration through suffering and sacrifice. The structural oneness of the novel thus becomes clear, despite the diverse thread, which go into the making of it. Another important feature of the structure of this novel is the use of symbolism. A large number of images in the course of the narration and the description have a symbolic significance. For instance, the spilling of wine outside Monsieur Defarge’s shop is an incident, which prepares us for the subsequent spilling of blood in the streets of revolutionary France. The
22 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
Bastille is not just a prison; it is a symbol of the tyranny and despotism of the upper classes as well as the government of King Louis XVI. The stone faces on the chateau of Marquis Evremonde are symbolic of the unyielding pride and the heartlessness of the Evremonde family and of the entire land owning gentry of which that family is representative. The “echoing footsteps”, which Lucie hears in her house, symbolize the misfortunes and dangers, which are in store for her family. The dancing of the Carmagnole is a symbol of the ferocity and uncontrollable fury of the revolutionary mob. Madame Defarge is herself to be treated as a symbol of hatred and evil. Q: DISCUSS DICKENS’ART OF CHARACTERIZATION. Q: DICKENS IS KNOWN AS A CREATER OF LIVING CHARACTERS, DO YOU AGREE? Ans: Dickens is one of the greatest creators of character in English fiction. There is a large diversity of characters in his novels. A mere glance at the list of persons who figure in any of his novels is enough to remind us of the author’s amazing fertility in invention. Dickens aimed mainly at portraying the infinite range and variety of mankind, not at analyzing the individual. His genius was for the extensive, not the intensive, vision. In other words, his strength lay in delineating characters of a large variety, and not in probing them to their depths. However, the characters that he created have been made to live before our eyes. He had given us a large number of memorable figures such as Pick wick, Sam Weller, Mr. Micawber, Betsey Trotwood, David Copperfield, Pip, Joe Gargery, Uriah Heep, Pecksnif, and so on. A Tale of Two Cities affords sample evidence of Dickens’s capacity for character portrayal. Here too the range is fairly wide, though we do not have any deep or penetrating studies of the working of the human mind. Each of the characters here has been made to live, and some of the figures such as those of Monsieur Defarge and Madame Defarge are truly memorable. In this connection it is pertinent to point out that Dickens’s avowed purpose in the case if this novel was to allow the characters to reveal themselves through incidents and through their deeds and actions rather than through dialogue. However, Dickens did not fully succeed in achieving this purpose. Dialogue in this novel, as in his earlier novels, plays quit as much part in revealing the characters as incidents and events do. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that dialogue plays an even more important part in revealing the characters than incident does. Thus is why his friend and biographer,
23 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Forster, expressed the following view about Dickens’s aim in this novel: “To rely less upon character man upon incident, and to resolve that his actors should be expressed by the story more than they should express themselves by dialogue, was for him a hazardous and can hardly be called an entirely successful experiment.” The characters in A Tale of Two Cities have sharply been individualized. Each stands out in a distinct person in his or her own right. Each stands our in our imagination and memory as a separate person clearly differentiated from the others. Dr. Manette is an outstanding personality, despite his recurrent fits of insanity. Mr. Lorry, the old bachelor, who has grown grey in the service of Tellson’s Bank is another impressive figure distinct from everybody else Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay have sharply been differentiated from each other, even though they closely resemble each other in physical appearance and though they are in love with the same girl. Lucie represents an entirely different type of womanhood from that which is represented by Madame Defarge. Never was there a greater and sharper contrast than we find between these two women. Miss Pross belongs to a different category altogether. Likewise, Mr. Stryver and Jerry Cruncher, though both of them are comic figures, have been clearly distinguished from each other. Even a minor figure like the mender of road has been made to live before us. Monsieur Defarge, bull-necked and martiallooking, implacable and of a firm determination, is also unforgettable. Even the woman called “The Vengeance” and the man called “Jacques Three” have been endowed with life. Nor is the portrayal of Monseigneur unsatisfactory, even though it has been said that Dickens was incapable of successfully portraying the persons of the upper middle classes and of the aristocracy. In spite of Dickens’s declared purpose that he would like the characters in this novel to reveal themselves through incident and action rather than through dialogue, the fact remains that the characters named above reveal themselves to us largely through dialogue and much less through incident and action. The essential traits of Dr. Manette, for instance, shine through his conversations with various persons in the story, and not through his actions. In fact, there is hardly any action that he performs. Sometimes we do find him occupied with shoe-making, but that is only when he gets a shock and becomes temporarily insane. The only tangible action, which he performs in the novel, comes towards the close when he goes about trying
24 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
energetically to save the life of his son-in-law and through dialogue that we find Dr. Manette to be a loving father and a kind-hearted friend. There is, for instance, the long conversation, which Charles Darnay has with him about his intention to marry Lucie. In the course of this dialogue, Dr. Manette tells Lucie that his main concern in life is to see her happy. To take only one statement made by him to this effect: “You cannot fully appreciate the anxiety I have felt that your life should not be wasted. Only ask yourself how my happiness could be perfect while yours was incomplete”. Similarly it is through one of his long conversation with Mr. Lorry that we learn the reason why he sometimes relapses into the state of insanity to which he had been driven by his prolonged imprisonment in the Bastille. It is through dialogue that he reveals his desperation when Darnay, after his second trial by the Revolutionary Tribunal, has been sentenced to death. “I will go to others whom it is better not to name,” he says to Mr. Lorry, meaning that he has not yet given up all hope. Charles Darnay too reveals the essential traits of his character through dialogue. Of course, one of his basic traits appears through action also. That happens when after going through Gabelle’s letter, he goes at once to Paris is order to try to save that man’s life. That action by him shows his deeply sympathetic nature and his disregard of personal danger where his honour as a gentleman is involved. But his love for Lucie, which is one of the chief facts about him, appears mainly in the course of the long conversation, which he has with Dr. Manette, and to which a reference has already been made above. In the course of that conversation he says to Dr. Manette: “Dear Dr. Manette, I love your daughter fondly, dearly, disinterestedly, devotedly. If ever there were love in the world, I love her”. Nor do we have any reason to doubt the sincerity and intensity of Darnay’s love for Lucie. Similarly, Darnay’s essential humanitarianism is revealed to us through his dialogue with his uncle to whom he says that the Evremonde family has done many wrongs to the poor that he would like to redress some of those wrongs that he has decided to give up his entire claim to the family estate and the family title. We, then, come to Sydney Carton. In his case his action in giving up his life for the sake of the husband of the woman with whom he has always been in love is of the highest importance. It is this action, which raises him to the
25 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
status of the hero. When he is on the point of death, he looks sublime and prophetic. But all the other traits of Carton’s character appear only through dialogue. He has a dialogue with Darnay immediately after Darnay’s acquittal by the court at the Old Bailey. In the course of this dialogue, Carton says that he is a disappointed drudge, that he cares for no man on earth and that no man on earth cares for him. When Darnay is gone, Carton looks at himself in the mirror and says that he hates Darnay even though there is a physical resemblance between them. Then there is a dialogue between Carton and Stryver. From this dialogue we learn that Carton has been a seesaw kind of man, “up one minute and down the next, now in high spirits and now in despondency”. From this dialogue we also learn that even at school. Carton did exercises for other boys and seldom did his own, just as now he does no work of his own but does plenty of laborious work for Stryver. Q: ‘SYMBOLISM IN “A TALE OF TWO CITIES” IS IN ABUNDANCE’ IS IT A JUSTIFIED ANALYSIS? Q: “A TALE OF TWO CITIES” HAS SYMBOLIC IMPORTANCE, ELABORATE? Ans: A Tale of Two Cities contains a copious use of symbols and symbolic imagery. Symbolism implies the use of an object, an idea, or a person in a larger or wider or deeper sense than is literally conveyed by that object, idea, or person. An author employs symbolism in order to give a deeper meaning to his writing. The symbolic meaning is generally veiled; or it may lie at a deeper level than the surface level. The use of symbolism thus necessarily lends additional meanings to those, which are apparent on the surface. A Tale of Two Cities is replete with symbols. Symbolism here is an essential element in the structure of the novel. Indeed, symbolism permeates the whole novel. The very opening chapter employs two symbols. These are the Woodman symbolizing Fate, and the Farmer symbolizing Death. This Woodman and this Farmer, says the author, work unceasingly, and they work silently; on one hears them as they go about with muffled steps. Here the Woodman is not just a worker in the woods, and the Farmer is not just a tiller of the soil. The Woodman represents or symbolizes Fate, while the Farmer represents or symbolizes Death; and the whole idea is that these two
26 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
forces are at work in France to bring about destruction and bloodshed and to ruin human happiness. The manner in which the author describes the journey of the mail-coach in the second chapter has also a symbolic significance. It is an uphill journey; the hill, the harness, the mud, and the mail are all so heavy that the horse have a difficult time of it and therefore. With drooping heads and shaking tails, the horses laboriously make their way through the thick mud, floundering and stumbling as if they were going to fall to pieces. This depressing state of affairs is made even more gloomy by the fact that there is an atmosphere of suspicion all over and around the mail-coach; the guard suspects the passengers, the passengers suspect one another and the guard, they all suspect everybody else, and the coachman is sure of nothing but the horses. The whole of this account of the conditions in which this journey is being made is a fit prelude to a story, which in many of its chapters deals with the violent scenes of the French Revolution. The Broken Wine Cask - With his depiction of a broken wine cask outside Defarge’s wine-shop, and with his portrayal of the passing peasants' scrambles to lap up the spilling wine, Dickens creates a symbol for the desperate quality of the people's hunger. This hunger is both the literal hunger for food—the French peasants were starving in their poverty—and the metaphorical hunger for political freedoms. On the surface, the scene shows the peasants in their desperation to satiate the first of these hungers. But it also evokes the violent measures that the peasants take in striving to satisfy their more metaphorical cravings. For instance, the narrative directly associates the wine with blood, noting that some of the peasants have acquired “a tigerish smear about the mouth” and portraying a drunken figure scrawling the word “BLOOD” on the wall with a wine-dipped finger. Indeed, the blood of aristocrats, later spills at the hands of a mob in these same streets. Throughout the novel, Dickens sharply criticizes this mob mentality, which he condemns for perpetrating the very cruelty and oppression from which the revolutionaries hope to free them. The scene surrounding the wine cask is the novel’s first tableau of the mob in action. The mindless frenzy with which these peasants scoop up the fallen liquid prefigures the scene at the grindstone, where the revolutionaries sharpen their weapons, as well as the dancing of the macabre Carmagnole. Madame Defarge’s knitting - Even on a literal level; Madame Defarge's knitting constitutes a whole network of symbols. Into her needlework she
27 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
stitches a registry, or list of names, of all those condemned to die in the name of a new republic. But on a metaphoric level, the knitting constitutes a symbol in itself, representing the stealthy, cold-blooded vengefulness of the revolutionaries. As Madame Defarge sits quietly knitting, she appears harmless and quaint. In fact, however, she sentences her victims to death. Similarly, the French peasants may appear simple and humble figures, but they eventually raise up to massacre their oppressors. Dickens’s knitting imagery also emphasizes an association between vengefulness and fate, which, in Greek mythology, is traditionally linked to knitting or weaving. The Fates, three sisters who control human life, busy themselves with the tasks of weavers or seamstresses: one sister spins the web of life, another measures it, and the last cuts it. Madame Defarge’s knitting thus becomes a symbol of her victims’ fate—death at the hands of a wrathful peasantry. The Marquis - The Marquis Evrémonde is less a believable character than an archetype of an evil and corrupt social order. He is not only overly self-indulgent, as evidenced by the train of attendants who help him to drink his chocolate; he is also completely indifferent to the lives of the peasants whom he exploits, as evidenced by his lack of sympathy for the father of the child whom his carriage tramples to death. As such, the Marquis stands as a symbol of the ruthless aristocratic cruelty that the French Revolution seeks to overcome. In the same chapter Dickens, the symbol of the mill, employs another symbol. Literally, of course, a mill grinds wheat into flour, which serves as a food for human beings. But here the mill performs a different function. Here we are told that the people of Saint Antoine had undergone a terrible grinding and re-grinding in the mill. The mill, which had worked them down was of the kind that grinds young people old. And then author goes on to say that the children in this suburb “ancient faces and grave voices”; and upon their faces, and also upon the faces of the grown-up people, the sign of hunger was apparent. The symbol of the mill presents grinding and regrinding, not wheat but human beings. In the later cases, the enraged members of the revolutionary crowd are described as sharpening their bloody hatchets, knives, bayonets, and swords at a grindstone, which has a double handle and which is being worked by two men furiously. Both the mill and the grindstone thus serve as symbols of the destruction, which the people in France face.
28 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, email@example.com
The Bastille is another important symbol. Hundreds of prisoners have been languishing in the prison for years and years, neglected, uncared for, almost forgotten. The governor of the Bastille must be a hardened administrator without the least pity or compassion in his heart because otherwise the prison cannot be run cruelly. The inhabitants of Saint Antoine, under the leadership of Monsieur and Madam Defarge, march upon the Bastille and, after a brief assault upon it, capture it. Great is their jubilation at having captured this bastion of authority and tyranny. The governor is seized. And Madame Defarge with her own hand cuts off his head with a knife. Later in the story, La Guillotine becomes the symbol of excesses being committed by the revolutionary mob. If the Bastille was a symbol of the tyranny of the government of King Luis and of the privileged classes in the France, La Guillotine has reversed the process. Now it is the turn of aristocracy and he nobility to be prosecuted and tyrannized over. La Guillotine has become “the National Razor which shaved close”. It is regarded as the sign of the regeneration of the human race. La Guillotine is mercilessly beheading all the eloquent, the powerful, the beautiful, and the good. La guillotine is thus a symbol of the brutalities and the barbarities, which are committed by the poor and the downtrodden when they come into power. La Guillotine is as ugly and hideous symbol as the Bastille previously was. Some of the characters are also symbols. Madame Defarge symbolizes unlimited hatred and evil. She certainly has a motive and a reason for her revengeful and bloodthirsty attitude, but all her vindictiveness and bloodthirstiness cannot be explained. Her very knitting acquires a sinister significance and becomes a symbol of revolutionary ruthlessness and resolves because in the knitting are “registered” the names of those who must be exterminated. Miss Pros on the other hand is a personification of love. Her attachment to Lucie is deep and abiding. Sydney Carton too serves a symbolic purpose. His sacrificial death symbolizes the way by which the highest human aspirations can be achieved and also the means by which a profligate can attain moral regeneration. William H Marshal tells us that A Tale of Two Cities is a story about rebirth through death, and therefore Dickens gives us opposed symbols of life and death. The symbols of death seem to triumph over the symbols of life. In a nutshell, “A Tale of Two Cities” is one of the best novels of
29 By Qaisar Iqbal Janjua from Lahore, Pakistan. Contact (92) 300 8494678 qaisarjanjua@hotmail, qaisarjanjua@gmail, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dickens where symbols play a significant and thematic role. It is the mastery of great novelist that he has employed nominal things for great purposes.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.