Many lives. Two cities.
A challenging novel, that is definitely worth the effort.
We cannot possibly take you to Dickens’s world (only Dickens can do it), but what we can do is give you a glimpse of what you can expect when you read the actual book.
Who Should Read “A Tale of Two Cities”? And Why?
“A Tale of Two Cities” is a book that depicts life in the eighteenth century France and England through lives of a number of complex characters with different backgrounds and motivations.
In fact, it is such an extensive story, which it is impossible to retell it in one short summary.
That is why we recommend that everyone reads the whole thing.
Charles Dickens Biography
Charles Dickens was an English writer of the Victorian era that has penned one of the best books ever written and has created some of the best-known characters in the literary world.
At the end of the eighteenth century, France and England are suffering from different social ills.
That is the setting in which we meet Jerry Cruncher, an employee in Tellson’s Bank, who sends an urgent message to Jarvis Lorry to meet a woman in Dover.
Lorry responds back mysteriously with the words: Recalled to life.
He indeed meets the young woman at Dover. Her name is Lucie Manette, and she is the daughter of an eminent doctor with glory days that have passed, who had just been found in France.
Lorry joins Lucie on her journey to Paris and escorts her to the meeting with Defarge, who was once a servant of her father.
She finds out that her father spends all the time making shoes, and that he went mad after spending almost two decades in prison in Bastille.
Lorry believes that Lucie if she finds it in herself to forgive him and love him, can bring him back to life.
What he believes turns out to be true.
A few years later, Charles Darnay is accused that he has committed treason against the English king. He is represented by Stryver, who is known to be a great lawyer, but actually, his drunk colleague Carton who is nowhere near as good as him is the one that saves him from the court by pointing out that even him bears a resemblance to the spy the authorities believed exists.
After he is set free, Carton hangs out with Darnay, and we realize he resents him because he finds a resemblance to everything that he has once wanted to be, but in the end, give up.
In the meantime, in France, we meet Darnay’s uncle, the cruel Marquis Evrémonde. The first impression we have of this men is him running down a plebian child while he is moving with his carriage.
His character manifests typicality for the aristocracy during the time he lived in, and their attitude toward the lower class.
The fact that he not only does not show remorse towards his deed but that he also curses the poor, makes the readers dislike his character from the very beginning.
This situation and the picture we get of this man foreshadows the later argument he has with his nephew: Darnay, once he arrives, states his intention to give up the identity as an Evremonde and to return to England.
The same night, the Marquis is killed by a murderer that signed himself as Jacques.
A year later, both Darnay and Carton are in love with Lucie and pledge their love to her. Lucie agrees to marry Darnay and his promises her father that when they get married, he will reveal his identity.
Moreover, we saw a spy known as Roger Cly who is being buried. Cruncher joins the funeral procession, and demonstrates his abilities as a thief of bodies, by sneaking into the cemetery and unburying the body.
In France in the meantime, another spy Barsard appears in front of Defarge talking about uncovering a mounting revolution.
On the wedding morning, Darnay keeps the promise he gave to Lucie’s father, and the following evening, Manette starts making shoes again.
Nine days pass, and Manette regains his common sense, joining the wedded couple on their honeymoon.
After he returns from the honeymoon, Darnay is confronted by Carton who asks for his friendship.
A few years later, the reader is taken to the moment when the French Revolution starts.
Aristocrats are murdered on the streets by the revolutionaries, and a man named Gabelle, who was in charge of maintaining the Evremonde estate, is taken to prison.
Three years after his imprisonment, he writes to Darnay asking for his help.
Although the operation is highly dangerous to him, Darnay decides to rescue him and departs for France.
But, as soon as he sets his foot in Paris, he is arrested by the revolutionaries as an immigrant.
Lucie and her father follow him hoping that they could somehow save him.
However, he is kept in prison, until he receives a trial three months later.
A Tale of Two Cities Epilogue
After he arrives to help him, Manette uses his influence and connections to help Darnay. He succeeds, but his freedom lasts for only a night when he is arrested because of the charges pressed by Defarge and his wife.
Then, it is Carton that goes to Paris to help Darnay.
What will happen to all of these characters?
How will the tales spread in two cities end?
Read the book to find out!
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“A Tale of Two Cities PDF Quotes”A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. Click To Tweet It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known. Click To Tweet It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Click To Tweet You have been the last dream of my soul. Click To Tweet I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
There is a reason that Charles Dickens is considered as one of the best writers ever born. His ability to tell a good story filled with so many well rounded, believable characters is truly fascinating.
If you are a Dickens fan, you will surely enjoy this. And if you are still not acquainted with his works, now is the right time to do so.