Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities ~ Charles Dickens


A special guest post by my dear friend Jessica Pritchett from Plants and Pillars


Introduction: A Tale of Two Cities was a wonderfully deep and intriguing read. Sometimes the wording would get really tough (then I would have to take a deep breath and try again), but I kept at it and finished a Tale of Two Cities.


Dickens was a new author for me. I have watched Bleak House (a BBC film based on his book by the same title), but I had never read one of his books the whole way through. I picked A Tale of Two Cities because everyone always talks about it, and it was in a time period I was studying at the time (The French Revolution). I was very glad I did.


Overview: A Tale of Two Cities is filled with heroic men, devoted women, and hateful enemies. It is also filled with themes from Dicken's early life with his father and family.


Characters: "If all French Noblemen would abandon privilage as Darney, if all intellectuals would expose abuse as Dr. Mannette, if all men were as willing to sacrifice life as Carton, if there were more kindness as Lorry's or love like Miss Pross's; or more loyalty in a tight spot as Jerry Cruncher's; then, we are expected to believe, the world would be a better place.


Characters like this fill the pages of A Tale of Two Cities. The love between a Father and Daughter is powerfully displayed between Dr. Mannette and Lucie. The love of a Husband and Wife is equally displayed in the relationship of Lucie and Darney.


In Contrast, there is Madame Defarge. Madame Defarge is a monster. Her desire for revenge has turned her into a "monster of pure evil". Finally you reach the showdown between The Monster and The Lamb (if you will!). Madame Defarge and Miss Pross struggle physically as the emotions they each represent struggle as well (Love versus Hate). Love wins as Madame is destroyed when her gun discharges.


Themes:

  1. Prison Doors - The book opens with the opening prison doors and the closing of prison doors. This was powerfully significant to Dickens due to the fact that his father was in debtors prison while Charles was young.

  2. The Betrayal of Fathers - Again, a piece of importance to Dicken's reminding him of his father

  3. Obsession with Destructive Violence - Note that his emphasis was not on the guillotine, but with the "Mob Mentality".

  4. True Sacrifice as the Price of Love - This theme came from a play by Wilkie Collin's that Dicken was in at a young age (The Frozen Deep). The theme is: two young men love the same girl, one wins the girl, the other young man finally comes to grip with the fact that she does not love him, and as a final tribute; sacrifices his life for her true love.

  5. Dickens in the Heros - Darnay and Carton share initials with Charles Dickens and they also share personality traits. Darnay portrays the good side of Dickens, and Carton the evil side.


What Was My Overall Impression? I loved this book and I highly recommend this to families. One warning: There is a lot of violence and bloodshed. The French Revolution was a sad time in history and deserves to be told, just be careful with young readers. This gets 5 points.



Indecency ~ None
Age Appropriateness ~ 16 and Up
Violence ~ (4) Beheading, Death, Violence, Mobs, Bloodshed,
Language ~ (1)

Rating -4

1 comment:

Green Gardening Girl said...

Hey!!! I just saw this. Thank you very much my dear!!!

Love ya