A Tale of
By: CHARLES DICKENS
Published by: THE NEW AMERICAN, INC.
Published in the year 1960
Period / G
Summary of Novel
"A Tale of Two Cities" is written by Charles Dickens and it takes place in France and England during the troubled times of the French Revolution. The characters travels to both country but most of the story happens in Paris, France.
The hot spot of the French revolutionists, mostly takes place in a wineshop in Paris, because the wineshop owner is Ernest Defarge and his wife, Madame Defarge are the key leaders and officials of the revolution. The action in the book takes place in many parts of Paris, such as the Bastille, Tellson?s Bank, the home of the Manettes and largely in the streets of Paris. This places help introduce many characters into the story.
One of the main characters, Madame Theresa Defrage, is a major antagonist who seeks revenge. She is a very tense and unforgiving woman who seeks revenge on the Evermonde family.
Through out the story, she weave shrouds for the intended victims of the revolution. Charles Darnay, one of whom Mrs. Defarge is seeking revenge, is constantly being put on the stand and wants no part of his own lineage. He is languid protagonist and has a tendency to get arrested and must be bailed out several times during the story.
Dr. Alexander Manette, a veteran prisoner of the Bastille and moderate protagonist, cannot escape the memory of being held and sometimes fall back to cobbling shoes, he plays a very significant part in the story. His daughter , Lucie Manette, a positive protagonist, is loved by many and marries Charles Darnay. She is a quiet, emotional person and discriminating protagonist in the story. One who never forgot the love of Lucie, was Sydney Carton, who starts off as a frustrated, immature alcoholic, but in the end, he made the ultimate sacrifice for a good friend. This are the characters that gives the interesting and dramatic plot to the story.
Carton was deeply in love with Lucie and is always telling her that he loves her so much that he would do anything for her but Lucie ends up marring Darnay, a few days after their marriage when they were on their honeymoon, Dr. Manette has a fall back and cobbles shoes for nine straight days.
France?s citizens arm themselves for a revolutoin led by the Defarges and starts the revolution by riding to Bastille. Shortly before they start the revolution, the Marquis runs over a child in the street of Paris. The child?s father, Gaspard who is part of the revolution murders Marquis.
Three years later Darnay is called back to Paris to help his friend Gabelle, when Darnay was walking on the street of Paris he got arrested for being an enemy of the country. Lucie and her father Dr. Manette goes to Paris to see if they can be of any help to Darnay. Darnay is release from prison but the same day he is re-arrested on charges set forth by the Defrages and one other unknown person. The next day Darnay sent to trial and is convicted and sentence to death.
Here is when the heroe comes and with spy contacts finds out in which prison he is encarcelated, he goes and drugs Darnay, while Darnay was drug, Carton switches place with Darnay. Lucie, Charles Darnay and their daughter leaves Paris safely while Sydney Carton makes his final sacrifice and is taking to the guillotine in place of Darnay.
Summary of the Standard Historical Source
The French Revolution is a cataclysmic political and social upheaval, extending from 1789 to1799. The revolution resulted, among other things, in the overthrow of the Bourdon monarchy in France and in the establishment of the First Republic. It was generated by a vast complex of causes, the most important of which were the inability of the ruling classes of nobility, divine, and bourgeoisie to come to grips with the problems of the state, the indecisive nature of the monarch, extortionate taxation of the peasantry.
Another cause was the accession of Louis XVI in 1774 which lasted for a century, the French government had undergone periodic economic crises, resulting from the long wars waged during the reign of Louis XIV.
The rebellion continued the challenge of royal decrees and the mutinous mood of the royal army forced the king to capitulate. On June 27 he ordered the refractory nobility and clergy to join the unicameral legislature, which then designated itself the National Constituent Assembly. Yielding to pressure from the queen and the d?Artois. At the same time, Necker, the popular apostle of a regenerated france, was again dismissed from the government. The people of Paris reacted to these provocative acts with open insurrection. Rioting began on July 12, and on July 14 the Bastille, a royal prison that symbolized the despotism of the Bourdons, was stormed and captured.
Ever since the Parisian outburst, violence, occasional local disturbances and peasant uprisings against oppressive nobles occurred in many parts of france, alarming the propertied bourgeoisie, prominent reactionaries, the first of the so called emigres, fled the country. The Parisian bourgeoisie, fearful that the lower classes of the city would take further advantage of the collapse of the old administrative machine and resort again to direct action, hastily established a provisional local government and organized a people?s militia, officially designated the National Guard. The National Guard was placed under the command of the marquis de Lafayette,a hero of the American Revolution. Unable to stem the rising tide of revolt, Louis XVI withdrew his loyal troops. He recalled Necker, and then formally legalized the measures that had been talken by the provisional authorities.
Later in July, an invading army of emigres was defeated in Brittany. The National Convention then quickly completed the draft of a new constitution. Formally approved on August 22, 1795, the new basic law of France vested executive authority in a Directory.
Comparison of Two Sources
There wasn?t a lot of differences on the two sources, they are both based on the french revolution so their isn?t a lot to say about their differences but a little more to their similarities, for example of novel and historical source had a cause for the revolution, but the novel might be set on a few people in particular, on the other hand the real historical happenings affected the whole state and was a million times more complex than how the novel described it.
I think that the events that occurred in the novel might have some real happenings that occurred in the Real french revolution, but not so big, I mean maybe families like Lucie?s were separated and many people died of course but I do not think that any man or woman sacrifice his or her life for some one the way that Sydney Carton did for Charles Darnay.
Both novel and real event were very similar in some points but the real event I don?t think was so dramatic as the novel, it?s just too much drama for a real event that had happen in real life.
Your Opinion of the Historical Novel
My personal opinion about "A tale of two cities" written by Charles Dickens is that the novel is a very long and detailed historical novel. It is my opinion that the major strength of this book was the suspense and drama of it involved to keep the reader hooked and not putting the book down for one single second. There are always occasion that keep the reader asking themselves "what?s going to happen now?" For example "Will Dr. Manette ever be himself again?" and so on. A major weakness of this novel, is that the fact that it was so very long and it has a pretty advances vocabulary for me. "A Tale of two cities" uses words such as "capricious" or "coquette" and even "tergiversation" what ever that means, the good side of these words is that if you don?t know them, you would probibly check the word out in a dictionary for the meaning of it and b doing this it will expand your knowledge of your vocabulary, but in other words this piece of work by Charles Dickens is a good book to read, however I would not recommended to people with english as their second language.