Tale Of Two Cities Charictarization Essay Research — страница 3

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so marked that it saves Darnay’s life at two critical junctures. As we’ve seen, the two men are doubles. For many readers, they form halves of a whole personality. Darnay is sunny and hopeful, representing the chance for happiness in life; Carton is depressed and despairing. Both characters compete for Lucie Manette, and both enact the novel’s all-important theme of resurrection. If we think of Darnay, saved twice by Carton’s intervention, as the resurrectee, then Carton becomes the resurrector. (As you’ll recall, Carton in fact dies imagining himself “the Resurrection and the Life.”) Many readers have noted that “Charles Dickens” and “Charles Darnay” are similar names, and they view Darnay as the bright, forward-looking side of Dickens, the hero. Though he

undergoes trial and imprisonment, Darnay ultimately gets the girl and leads a long, blissful life. He has a pronounced capacity for domestic happiness, something Dickens yearned for. There’s also been debate over whether Darnay is a fully realized character or just a handsome puppet. You’ll have to reach your own conclusions about Darnay, of course. In doing so, take into account that Dickens intended his plot to define character, and was working in a limited space–A Tale of Two Cities is one of his shortest novels. -DR. ALEXANDRE MANETTE Dr. Manette’s release from the Bastille after 18 years of solitary confinement sounds the first note in the theme of resurrection, and sets Dickens’ plot in motion. The secret papers left in Manette’s cell lead directly to A Tale’s

climax, Charles Darnay’s sentence to die. Does the doctor seem believable, a man of psychological depth? To support a yes answer, look at Dickens’ rendering of a white-haired man, just released from his living tomb, whose face reflects “scared, blank wonder.” As the story continues, Dr. Manette’s spells of amnesia feel authentic. Doesn’t it seem natural that Dr. Manette returns to shoemaking–the task that preserved his sanity in the Bastille–whenever he’s reminded of that dark period of his life? Less believable for some readers is the journal Dr. Manette composes in blood and haste, and hides in his cell. These readers find the doctor’s journal long and melodramatic, and point to the dying peasant boy, gasping a vengeful monologue, as an instance of realism

being sacrificed to drama. From the point of view of the French Revolutionaries, Dr. Manette is a living reminder of their oppression. They revere him for his sufferings as a Bastille prisoner. During Darnay’s imprisonment in Paris, Dr. Manette uses the Revolutionaries’ esteem to keep his son-in-law alive. As a result, you watch him grow stronger, regaining the sense of purpose he’d lost in the Bastille. -JARVIS LORRY All through the story Jarvis Lorry protests that he’s nothing more or less than a man of business. “Feelings!” he exclaims, “I have no time for them.” Mr. Lorry’s time belongs to Tellson’s bank, “the House,” his employer for over 40 years. Yet behind his allegiance to business, Lorry hides a kind heart. When Dr. Manette responds to Lucie’s

marriage by falling into an amnesiac spell, Lorry deserts Tellson’s for nine full days to look after his friend. How closely does Lorry conform to modern ideas about bankers and businessmen? He admittedly values the bank above himself, an attitude you might consider old fashioned. Readers have described him as the sort of clerk Dickens saw passing in his own day, and mourned. Lorry compares favorably with the two other men of business in the story: Stryver, the pushing lawyer, and Jerry Cruncher, the “honest tradesman” who digs up bodies and sells them to medical science. During the Revolution Tellson’s in London becomes a haven for emigrant French aristocrats, the same aristocrats found guilty, a few chapters earlier, of squeezing their peasants dry. How should you view

Tellson’s for sheltering an oppressing class? (Dickens has already revealed that the cramped, dark bank resists change of any sort.) More to the point, how should you judge Jarvis Lorry for dedicating his life to such an establishment? Readers have suggested that Dickens, despite his liberal politics, found the solidity of institutions like Tellson’s appealing; the old bank and its banker, Jarvis Lorry, represent a kind of bastion against the new, aggressive ways of men like Stryver–and against the frenzied violence of the French mob. -MADAME DEFARGE Dickens is famous for tagging his characters with a habit, trait, or turn of phrase. Just as Jarvis Lorry’s constant catchword is “business,” so Madame Defarge’s defining activity is knitting. Madame knits a register of