Summary Analysis Outside a wine shop in the poor Parisian suburb of Saint Antoine, a cask of wine accidentally falls and breaks in the street. Everyone in the area scrambles to drink the runoff: It turns into a game with dancing and singing in the streets. Someone jokingly uses the spilled wine to scrawl the word "Blood" on a wall.
Jerry Cruncher, for instance, considers his nocturnal occupation a viable source of income to provide for his hungry family but Mr. Lorry views it as an abhorrent practice worthy of censure.
Under scrutiny Cruncher admits that the sights of the bloody revolution in Paris have convinced him that such an occupation is immoral and he resolves to give up the practice. The revolution itself is believed to be an abomination by the exiled aristocrats that meet at Tellson's whereas the peasantry, personified by the mender of roads and the woodsawyer, see it as an opportunity for empowerment and revenge.
Most significantly, Doctor Manette's Bastille manuscript reveals that during his years in prison the doctor believed that the whole Evremonde clan should be destroyed but when his daughter has wedded an Evremonde he is resolute in his determination to save him.
The litany of wrongs suffered by the French peasants including the horrible execution of Gaspard serves to create sympathy for events such as the storming of the Bastille.
After the revolution turns bloody, however, the reader's sympathies are transferred to the doomed aristocrats awaiting execution. Class Struggle The overarching theme of the novel is the struggle between those who have power and privilege and those who do not. At the beginning of the story, the French aristocrats exercise complete and more-or-less unfettered freedom to persecute and deprive those of the lower classes.
This fact is harshly illustrated in Doctor Manette's prison manuscript which details how one of the Evremonde brothers utilized his medieval privilege of harnessing a vassal to a cart and driving him like an animal to his death. It is also shown by Jerry Cruncher's insistence that the strict and violent sentence of quartering is "barbarous" and being told by the sanctimonious bank clerk that the law is just simply because it exists.
Later, when the tables have turned, it is the peasants who use their newly discovered power to harshly persecute the aristocrats through mass executions and imprisonment.
Darnay notes when he is first interred in La Force prison that the rough looking men are in charge and the prisoners are polite and civil. Jerry Cruncher is deeply affected by the revolution and he more than any other English character in the novel would have reason to be inspired by the uprising of the French poor.
But as a good Englishman, his avowal that its bloody sights have caused him to reconsider his grave robbing occupation indicates that he, at least, recognizes the futility in avenging violence with violence. Self-Sacrifice The novel's theme of self-sacrifice is best exemplified in the character of Sydney Carton whose willingness to give his own life for Lucie's happiness creates the means for Charles Darnay's salvation.
He makes this willingness known well before the dangers of the revolution overtake the family when he says to Lucie: This theme is furthered by the seamstress who accompanies Carton to the Guillotine who hopes that by her death her cousin, a long-suffering member of the peasant class, will profit by the bloody revolution.
Charles Darnay is willing to sacrifice his own happienss when he returns to France in an attempt to save the life of his former servant. Furthermore, Doctor Manette is shown to sacrifice his own mental health when he suffers a relapse of his prison-born derangement by allowing the nephew of his nemesis to marry his daughter.
Prison Reform As in many of Dickens' stories, prisons figure prominently in this novel. Imprisonment's ill effects upon the health of inmates is shown in Doctor Manette's mental illness and the pitiful state of shoemaking labor he is reduced to in order to survive.
The oppressiveness of penal time is illustrated in the litany of "eighteen years" that Mr. Lorry dreams before retrieving the doctor, the count of the brutally tortured woman who lies bound and repeats her 12 count monologue until her death, and Charles Darnay's marking the hours by the chimes of the church bell.
Dickens' descriptions of the harsh punishments given for minor offenses in both France and England connects the two regimes and serves as an implicit warning to Dickens' fellow countrymen that a bloody revolution is the result of wrongs done in the name of the people. The clerk at Tellson's fails to appreciate this relationship when Jerry offers his opinion that the punishment of quartering is "barbarous" and the clerk, echoing the sentiments of his government, he advises Jerry to "leave the law to take of itself".
The clerk's matter-of-fact observation that "We all have our various ways of gaining a livelihood.Analysis Like many nineteenth-century authors, Dickens uses atmosphere and setting to establish the mood of a story, and this chapter exemplifies his mastery of the technique.
The action of the novel begins with discomfort and anxiety as the characters slog along the muddy highway in the dark, damp chill of a late November mist.
A Tale of Two Cities: Theme Analysis, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.
Complete summary of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of A Tale of Two Cities.
Chapter 4 Summary and Analysis story of the hated. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes A Tale of Two Cities Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.
In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Darnay tries to escape his heritage as a French aristocrat in the years leading up to the French Revolution. During the Revolution, he's captured, but Sydney Carton, a man who looks like Darnay, takes his place and dies on the guillotine.
A Tale of Two Cities key characters: In A Tale of Two Cities, Sydney Carton is an alcoholic lawyer who helps bring about Darnay’s acquittal and later replaces him before the guillotine.