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Christine Song Structure/Transitions (30)

Mr. Henry, pd. 8 Content/Analysis (30)


English 10 Embedding (30)
December 3, 2007 Conventions (20)

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Madam Defarge and Miss Pross, in Charles Dickens’s novel, A Tale of Two Cities,

are perfect examples of a foil. Although the two characters are similar in social standing

as middle-aged working women and in simple fierce determination, they hold such

contrasting values and beliefs as to highlight these characteristics in each other when they

finally confront the other near the conclusion of the novel. They both have fiery

personalities and an iron will but use these personality traits for different means. Their

contrasting values include warm empathy and cold indifference, biting vengeance and

tender forgiveness, and the capacity, respectively, to encourage stability and chaos. Miss

Pross embodies goodness and benevolent intent, while Madame Defarge is inherently evil

with a will bent on destruction of all who oppose her.

Miss Pross is introduced with a show of utmost love and concern for Lucie

Manette. When Lucie faints after learning that her father, Dr. Manette, is actually alive,

Miss Pross , in a flurry of activity, runs to treat her “ladybird”. Miss Pross in that scene is

described as tending to Lucie “with great skill and gentleness” and handling her “with

great pride and care” (Dickens 27). Obviously this is an expressive character who is

capable of immense love. In contrast Madame Defarge is a