|Chapter 1 - Five Years Later
1. In the following quotation, Dickens compares Tellson’s Bank with England. List the qualities, both positive and negative, that he attributes to the old bank and that he also attributes to old England. Be sure to include the bank’s position on capital punishment.
“In this respect the House was much on a par with the Country; which did very often disinherit its sons for suggesting improvements in laws and customs that had long been highly objectionable, but were only the more respectable.” (Pg. 53)
Tellson’s is described as small, dark, old, decaying, and very respectable; it is said to be ugly, lacking modern facilities, and very proud of its long history. The bank figuratively puts anyone to death who commits even the smallest of crimes.
2. Why do you think Jerry Cruncher is against his wife’s praying on his behalf? What is implied by the mud on his boots?
Jerry thinks his wife’s praying is going to prevent him from earning some money. He gets mud on his boots late at night, which implies that he is doing something after dark to earn money. Whatever it is, his wife disapproves of it and feels the need to pray for her husband.
3. How are young Jerry and his father alike? Why do you suppose Mr. Cruncher frequently has rust on his fingers?
They both have spiky hair and like to bully people. Answers will vary. Example: The rust is probably the result of Mr. Cruncher’s after-hours job, which also results in the mud on his boots.
Chapter 2 - A Sight
1. What is Jerry Cruncher’s opinion of execution by quartering?
He thinks that it is unnecessarily cruel and that killing a man should be enough of a punishment.
2. Briefly describe the prisoner, Charles Darnay. Why is he fascinating to the crowd?
He is a young, good-looking man with dark eyes, dark hair, a sunburned cheek, and a self-possessed manner. The crowd is fascinated by him because of the horrible sentence he faces.
3. Why is there a mirror over the prisoner’s head?
It is there to reflect the light onto the prisoner to make him more visible to the crowds.
4. Who are the witnesses against Charles Darnay? Why is Mr. Lorry sitting with the defense attorney?
The witnesses are Lucie and her father. They do not want to testify against Charles Darnay. Mr. Lorry is there as their friend to help Mr. Darnay.
Chapter 3 - A Disappointment
1. Briefly outline the charges the Attorney General presents against Mr. Darnay.
Mr. Darnay is accused of traveling frequently to France, beginning with the start of the American Revolution. It is known that France helped the Americans, so any help to France is considered treason. Darnay travels to France on secret missions which he refuses to explain. The Attorney General has a witness who will testify he found incriminating papers among Mr. Darnay’s personal things.
2. How does Mr. Solicitor-General try to discredit John Barsad’s testimony?
Mr. Solicitor-General suggests that he is not credible because he has been in debtors’ prison, cheats at dice, and owes the prisoner money. Mr. Solicitor-General also suggests that John Barsad planted the incriminating papers on Charles Darnay.
3. How does Mr. Solicitor-General try to discredit Roger Cly’s testimony?
He suggests Cly is a thief and, being a good friend of John Barsad’s, is part of the plan to incriminate Charles Darnay.
4. In what ways is Miss Manette’s testimony against Mr. Darnay both helpful and damaging to his case?
She helps him by portraying him as a kind, helpful gentleman. Her testimony hurts because she admitted witnessing him talking to two Frenchman just before the ship departs. He admits to her on the voyage that he had secret business in France and would be making several more journeys. He was traveling under an assumed name. Also, he tried to explain to her the reasons for the American Revolution.
5. How does Mr. Carton help Mr. Stryver cast doubt on the testimony of the witness who was in the Dover mail with Mr. Lorry five years earlier?
Mr. Carton writes a note to Mr. Stryver suggesting that he ask the witness if he notices any resemblance between Mr. Carton and Mr. Charles Darnay. Everyone is stunned by the resemblance between the two men, which cast doubt on the witness’ testimony.
6. What is revealed about Mr. Carton’s character by his behavior toward Lucie and Mr. Darnay?
Mr. Carton is very observant and is interested in Lucie. He is insolent when he is talking to Charles Darnay but gives him hope by saying it is in his favor that the jury is taking so long to reach a verdict. Mr. Carton is a complex character who is perhaps hiding his good side.
7. One of the major themes in this novel is the idea that resurrection is possible. How does this theme apply to Charles Darnay’s acquittal for treason?
Most prisoners accused of treason are convicted, so they are considered dead men at their own trials. Since Charles Darnay is acquitted, he has been recalled to life, or resurrected.
Chapter 4 – Congratulatory
1. Briefly describe Mr. Stryver. In what way is he unfair to Mr. Carton?
He is thirty but looks fifty and is stout and red-faced. Stryver is unfair to Carton because he takes full credit for Darnay’s acquittal.
2. What evidence is there that Carton is jealous of Charles Darnay?
Answers will vary. Example: Carton is attracted to Lucie although he does not admit it. He is jealous that she pities Darnay. He is also jealous that Darnay is not wasting his life and talents.
Chapter 5 - The Jackal
1. What is the secret to Stryver’s success as an attorney?
He hires Carton to evaluate his legal cases and point out strategies to win the cases.
2. Briefly describe how Carton looks when he is working at Stryver’s desk.
He is concentrating on the work, drinking, and wearing wet towels on his head.
3. What do we learn about Carton’s childhood? What does Carton blame for his miserable life?
He did the other boys’ homework when he was still in school just as he does Stryver’s homework now. He blames his bad luck for the miserable life he leads.
4. Find a quotation in this chapter which suggests that Carton may believe in fate.
While discussing Stryver’s success and Carton’s failure, Stryver says, “I had to get into the front rank; I was not born there, was I?” Carton replies, “I was not present at the ceremony; but my opinion is you were.” (Pg. 86)
Chapter 6 - Hundreds of People
1. Why is Miss Pross unhappy because there are “dozens” and “hundreds” of people coming to visit Lucie? (Pg. 92)
She is complaining about the visitors because she thinks they will want to marry Lucie.
2. Who is Solomon?
He is Miss Pross’ brother who took her money and left her in poverty.
3. What questions does Mr. Lorry ask Miss Pross concerning the doctor and his shoemaking tools?
He wants to know if the doctor remembers who had him imprisoned and if he still thinks about his years in jail.
4. Why is Dr. Manette afraid to remember his past?
He is afraid to dwell too much on the reasons for his imprisonment because, if he remembers too much, he may lose himself to the past and begin making shoes again.
5. Why do you think Darnay’s story about the prisoner in the tower upsets Dr. Manette?
He may have written something when he was a prisoner and hid it in his cell. The story about the prisoner in the tower reminds him of the note.
6. Comment on Dickens’ use of foreshadowing at the end of this chapter when Lucie, Carton, and Darnay discuss the crowds in the streets of London. Some readers find this to be too lengthy. Did you?
Answers will vary. Example: The crowds suggest to the reader the mobs of the French Revolution. The foreshadowing is lengthy and seems to be overdone. Dickens is writing with a dramatic fl air because he intends to read the story to a live audience.
Chapter 7 - Monseigneur in Town
1. What is almost comic about the way Dickens illustrates the excesses enjoyed by the
Monseigneur, a character representing the upper class of France?
It is ridiculous that the Monseigneur requires four men just to pour his chocolate.
2. Briefly list the noble ideas that the Monseigneur believes to be true.
The nobles of the time ignore the business of the public and think all public business should enhance their power and wealth; they think the world is made for their pleasure.
3. Who is the Farmer General, and what is his relationship to the Monseigneur?
The Farmer General is the Monseigneur’s brother-in-law. The Monseigneur let him marry his sister because the Farmer General wants the family connection and the Monseigneur needs the Farmer General’s wealth.
4. What is ironic about the following conversation between Defarge and Monsieur the Marquis?
Defarge begins, “Be a brave man, my Gaspard! It is better for the poor little plaything to die so, than to live. It has died in a moment without pain. Could it have lived an hour as happily?”
“You are a philosopher, you there,” said the Marquis, smiling.
“How do they call you?”
“They call me Defarge.”…
“Pick up that, philosopher and vendor of wine, said the Marquis, throwing him another gold coin…” (Pgs. 104-105)
The Marquis, in his conceit, thinks Defarge is trying to help him by telling Gaspard that the death of the child is a blessing. When Defarge throws the coin back into the carriage, he is really saying that life in France is so terrible because of the excesses of the aristocracy that the child is better off dead.
5. Read the following passage. What do you think the water in the fountain may symbolize in this story?
“The water of the fountain ran, …so much life in the city ran into death according to rule, time and tide waited for no man, …all things ran their course.” (Pg. 105)
The water from the fountain may be a symbol of the terrible fate awaiting the nobility of France at the hands of the revolutionists.
Chapter 8 - Monseigneur in the Country
1. Why is the Marquis annoyed with the mender of roads?
The mender of roads notices a man hanging onto the back of the Marquis’ carriage. The
Marquis is annoyed with the mender of roads because he does not immediately alert the Marquis to the man’s presence.
2. How does the poor woman’s husband die? What does she want from the Marquis?
Her husband dies of hunger. She requests a piece of wood or stone to mark his grave.
3. Whom do you think the Marquis is expecting when he arrives back at his château?
He is expecting a visit from Monsieur Charles, probably Charles Darnay.
Chapter 9 - The Gorgon’s Head
1. What is the family relationship between Charles Darnay and the Marquis? What evidence is there that Darnay suspects the Marquis contributed to the treason charges he faced in England?
The Marquis is Darnay’s uncle, his father’s twin brother. Darnay says that he thinks his uncle helped to make the English suspicious of his trips to France.
2. Read the following quotation. What do you think is the Marquis’ opinion about the best way to handle the peasants?
“Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend,” observed the Marquis, “will keep the dogs obedient to the whip as long as this roof,” looking up to it, “shuts out the sky.” (Pg. 117)
The Marquis truly believes that repression, fear, and slavery are the best ways to keep the peasants in line.
3. Why does Darnay plan to abandon the property of his family when he inherits it from his uncle?
He thinks it is a ruin of waste, mismanagement, oppression, hunger, and suffering.
4. In the following passage from the story, to what mystery is Darnay alerted by his uncle’s behavior?
“As he bent his head in his most courtly manner, there was a secrecy in his smiling face, and he conveyed an air of mystery to those words, which struck the eyes and ears of his nephew forcibly.” (Pg. 119)
Darnay is alerted to a connection between the Marquis and Dr. Manette.
5. What does the note attached to the knife tell the reader about the identity of the Marquis’ murderer?
Since it is signed Jacques, the reader knows the murder has been committed by a member of the revolutionary group headed by Monsieur Defarge.
Chapter 10 - Two Promises
1. How does Darnay earn his living in England?
He teaches French language and literature.
2. What promise does Darnay make to Dr. Manette concerning Lucie?
Darnay states that he will never do anything to separate Dr. Manette and Lucie even if
Lucie agrees to be his wife. Darnay wants the doctor to promise to tell Lucie that he believes Darnay is sincere in his promise to keep them together. In addition, he wants the doctor to promise he will not say or do anything to keep Lucie from accepting Darnay’s proposal.
3. What promise concerning his past does Darnay make to Dr. Manette?
He will reveal his true identity to Dr. Manette only when the doctor asks for it or on the morning of his marriage to Lucie.
4. What evidence is there that Dr. Manette is greatly disturbed by the prospect of Darnay and Lucie’s marriage?
When Lucie comes home that night, she fi nds her father making shoes. He reverts to shoemaking only when he is very upset.
Chapter 11 - A Companion Picture
1. Why does Mr. Stryver want to marry Lucie? Why does this character’s name seem appropriate for him?
Mr. Stryver is a conceited man who wants to marry Lucie to please himself. He says that he is well off, a man of distinction, and a piece of good fortune for her. He thinks she will be a good wife because she will “always do me credit.” (Pg. 134) Mr. Stryver is a striver after success. In Dickens’ novels, the names of his characters frequently have significance
2. Why does Stryver suggest to Carton that Carton consider finding a wife for himself?
He thinks Carton is going to need a nurse and should marry a landlady who will be available to take care of him when he needs it.
Chapter 12 - The Fellow of Delicacy
1. What does Mr. Lorry say to Stryver to discourage him from proposing marriage to Lucie?
He says that it would be painful for Stryver, Dr. Manette, and Lucie if she should refuse the offer of marriage. He suggests Stryver wait for a few hours and let Mr. Lorry find out what the answer will be before Mr. Stryver proposes marriage.
2. How does Mr. Stryver handle the situation when Lorry comes to visit him later that evening?
He pretends that he is relieved Lucie does not want to marry him and that he is sorry he considered it in the first place. He suggests that Lucie is a foolish girl and concludes that he is better off out of the situation.
Chapter 13 - The Fellow of No Delicacy
1. Why does Carton say that he is grateful that Lucie does not love or want to marry him?
He is grateful that she does not love him because he thinks he will bring her only misery. “If it had been possible, Miss Manette, that you could have returned the love of the man you see before you …. he would have been conscious this day and hour,…that he would bring you to misery…pull you down with him.” (Pg. 142)
2. Does it strike you as odd that Carton cannot conceive of himself changing for the better?
While answers may vary, the idea of fate may enter in to a rationale of Carton’s mindset.
3. What secret does Carton ask Lucie to keep as the “last confidence” of his life? (Pg.
He wants her to know about his love but to keep his declaration a secret. He wants to remember that at least he is capable of telling her how he feels even if he is not capable of changing himself for the better.
4. Assume the closing of this chapter is an example of foreshadowing. What future event do you think Dickens may be suggesting to the reader?
Dickens is suggesting that, at some future time, Carton will give his life to help Lucie “… keep a life you love beside you!” (Pg. 144)
Chapter 14 - The Honest Tradesman
1. What is Jerry Cruncher’s after-hours secret occupation that results in mud on his boots and rust on his fingers?
He digs up fresh graves and sells the corpses to doctors for medical research.
2. List three examples of mischief in which the crowds following Roger Cly’s funeral engage after the casket is buried. Why does the mob finally disperse?
The mob breaks windows, plunders public houses, and pulls down summer houses. They disperse because there is a rumor the guards are coming.
3. Why do you think young Jerry wants to be a Resurrection-Man? What does the phrase “no fish for breakfast” suggest about the success or failure of Mr. Cruncher’s nighttime occupation? (Pg. 152)
Young Jerry wants to be a grave robber like his father. There is no fi sh for breakfast because Mr. Cruncher has been unable to deliver a corpse to the doctor, so he does not get any extra money.
Chapter 15 – Knitting
1. How do you know that the mender of roads is a revolutionary? Where does Monsieur
Defarge take the mender of roads?
He is a revolutionary because Monsieur Defarge introduces him by the code name, Jacques. Monsieur Defarge takes him to the same upstairs room where Dr. Manette worked on his shoes after being released from prison.
2. Who is the tall man described by the mender of the roads? What is his crime? Why do the people of the village have hope that he will not be executed?
He is Gaspard, the man whose child was killed by the Marquis. He killed the Marquis and has been hiding for a year in the hills. Petitions have been sent to the king to spare his life because he killed only after going mad as a result of the death of his child.
3. Many critics believe Dickens had a fascination with horrifying scenes. What evidence is there in this chapter that the critics may be correct?
The death of Damiens, who attempted to assassinate King Louis XV, is described in gory detail.
4. Why is the method of Gaspard’s execution particularly cruel, not only for Gaspard, but for the peasants?
He is hanged from a forty-foot scaffold right over the community fountain. His body is polluting the water and frightening the women and children.
5. What do the Jacques mean when they vote to register the Marquis’ château and “all the race”? (Pg. 161)
Madame Defarge will knit a record of the crimes of the Marquis and the punishment voted on by the Jacques. The château is to be destroyed, and all of the Marquis family are sentenced to death.
6. What does the following metaphor say about Monsieur Defarge’s plans for the mender of the roads?
“Judiciously show a dog his natural prey, if you wish him to bring it down one day.” (Pg. 162)
He is going to take the mender of the roads to see the King and his court so he will recognize them when the time comes to overthrow the monarchy.
Chapter 16 - Still Knitting
1. Briefly describe John Barsad. Why does Madame Defarge register him as one of the men who is marked for death in her knitted registry of names?
John Barsad is English, forty, and fi ve foot nine, with black hair, dark eyes, and a thin face. She knits his name into her registry because he is a spy for the French government.
2. Support or refute the following statement: Madame Defarge is more patient and more
confident than her husband that the revolution is coming in their lifetime.
She is content to prepare for the revolution and never loses her courage. She criticizes her husband for his lack of confidence when she says, “But it is your weakness that you sometimes need to see your victim and your opportunity to sustain you.” Also, she refuses to listen to his worries that their work will not be realized in their lifetime and says, “Nothing that we do is done in vain. I believe, with all my soul, that we shall see the triumph.” (Pg. 168)
3. What does Madame Defarge do to alert the other customers that a spy has entered the wine shop? What does the spy say that rattles Monseiur Defarge?
Madame Defarge pins a rose to her head dress. The spy tells Monseiur Defarge that Lucie is about to marry Charles Darnay.
4. What is the “structure yet unbuilt” mentioned in the following passage? Why do you think Dickens makes reference to it at the end of this chapter?
“So much was closing in about the women who sat knitting, knitting, that they their very selves were closing in around a structure yet unbuilt, where they were to sit knitting, knitting, counting dropping heads.” (Pg. 173)
The unbuilt structure is the guillotine. Dickens is trying to create interest by reminding the reader about the horrible deaths awaiting the aristocracy of France and perhaps Charles Darnay, too.
Chapter 17 - One Night
1. Dr. Manette refers to his past imprisonment the night before Lucie’s wedding. What is
Lucie’s reaction to this conversation?
She is alert to the references he makes to the past but not alarmed by them. He seems to be comparing his life then with the happy life he has now.
2. One of the major themes in this novel is the confusion between reality and illusion. Cite an event in this chapter illustrating this theme.
Dr. Manette talks about imagining a child coming to him in his cell and leading him out to freedom. This child is imaginary. In reality, Lucie, as an adult, leads her father into a normal life after his release.
3. What epithets does Dickens give to the following characters?
Madame Defarge - always knitting
Charles Darnay - a generous man
Mr. Lorry - a man of business
Lucie Manette - golden hair
Dr. Manette - white hair
Miss Pross - red hair
Jerry Cruncher - spiked hair
4. The night before her wedding, why do you think Lucie checks in on her father while he is sleeping?
She needs to be sure he is sleeping well and is not making shoes or pacing the floor. After seeing him, she feels free to marry Darnay.
Chapter 18 - Nine Days
1. Just before Darnay’s marriage to Lucie, what do you suppose Charles Darnay and Dr. Manette are speaking about behind the closed door of the doctor’s room?
Charles Darnay is telling Dr. Manette about his relationship to the Marquis and the reasons he is living in England.
2. Why do you think Dr. Manette begins to make shoes again after waving good-bye to Lucie and her new husband?
There is a relationship between his past imprisonment and the Marquis. His conversation with Darnay causes Dr. Manette’s relapse into the role of the shoemaker.
3. What does Mr. Lorry observe about Dr. Manette’s shoemaking skills after the ninth day? What does he tell Lucie about her father?
Dr. Manette is getting very skillful at making shoes. Mr. Lorry and Miss Pross do not tell Lucie about her father’s relapse.
Chapter 19 - An Opinion
1. What is Mr. Lorry and Miss Pross’ plan once they realize that Dr. Manette is awake on the tenth morning and no longer making shoes?
They decide to pretend everything is normal until after breakfast. If the doctor is still functioning, then Mr. Lorry will talk to him about his relapse.
2. Mr. Lorry carefully discusses Dr. Manette’s condition with the old man. What three questions does Mr. Lorry ask Dr. Manette to answer in the course of this discussion?
First, he wants to know if a relapse from the same cause is possible for the future. Next, he asks if overwork could cause a relapse. Finally, he asks if it would be better if they removed the shoemaking tools.
3. Why does the doctor resist the idea of giving up his shoemaking tools?
He needed them to survive his imprisonment and is afraid to be without them. He feels secure having them around. Also, they have been part of his life for so long that they are like an old companion.
4. Under what conditions does the doctor agree to the removal of the shoemaking tools?
They must be removed when he is not present.
Chapter 20 - A Plea
1. Why does Carton ask Darnay for his friendship?
He wants his permission to visit their home occasionally.
2. What does Lucie ask her husband to do for her regarding Carton?
She wants Darnay to remember that Carton does have a good heart despite his many faults. She wants him always to treat Carton generously.
Chapter 21 - Echoing Footsteps
1. In this chapter, time passes for the Darnay family. Briefly describe what happens to the following people:
Lucie’s son - He dies.
Carton - He visits six times a year and is always sober when he comes.
Stryver - He marries a widow with three sons.
2. Why is Mr. Lorry upset when he arrives at Dr. Manette’s house?
The bank is very busy because its French depositors are taking their assets out of France and putting them into Tellson’s.
3. What do Monseiur Defarge, his wife, and the other Jacques do on July 14, 1789?
They lead a mob to the Bastille; the mob storms the prison and releases the prisoners.
4. Once inside the Bastille, what does Monseiur Defarge do? What does Madame Defarge do to the governor?
He goes to One Hundred and fi ve, North Tower. There, he searches the room for something. The reader knows this is the cell in which Dr. Manette spent eighteen years. Madame Defarge cuts the governor’s head off.
5. What do you think water symbolizes in this story? Cite incidents from the story to support your answer.
Answers will vary. Water is a symbol for life. The water in the fountains keeps the peasants alive. When the man who killed the Marquis is hanged over the fountain, the water is polluted, and the peasants suffer.
Chapter 22 - The Sea Still Rises
1. Briefly describe The Vengeance.
She is the wife of the grocer and mother of two children. She is Madame Defarge’s second in command and is as vicious and as murderous as her leader.
2. Who is old Foulon, and why is he marked for death by the Defarges? What happens to his son-in-law?
He is a man who does not care that other people are dying from starvation. He tells them to eat grass. His cruelty lasts for threescore and ten years. He is killed by the people of Saint Antoine. Old Foulon’s son-in-law is also killed, and his head is placed on a pike.
3. How do the killings by the peasants of Saint Antonine impact the lives of the poor and hungry peasants?
While the killings do not directly impact the quality of their lives so early in the revolution, the peasants do feel the comradeship that develops between people fi ghting for their survival as a result. Dickens writes, “Yet, human fellowship infused some nourishment into the flinty viands, and struck some sparks of cheerfulness out of them.” (Pg. 211)
Chapter 23 - Fire Rises
1. Who is the man in wooden shoes? What does he do?
The man in the wooden shoes is a member of the revolution. He sets the Marquis’ château on fire.
2. Who is Monsieur Gabelle? How does he escape the people of his village?
He is the tax and rent collector. He spends the night on the roof of his house.
3. Why do you think the mender of the roads and the other village people decide to light candles in all of their windows?
They are showing their support for the revolution.
Chapter 24 - Drawn to the Loadstone Rock
1. Define loadstone. What is the Loadstone Rock in this story, and who is drawn to it?
Loadstone is a type of rock that is a strong magnet. The Loadstone Rock is France, and
Darnay is drawn to it.
2. Why is Mr. Lorry traveling to France? Who is he taking with him?
He is going to rescue some important papers for the bank. He is taking Jerry Cruncher with him as a bodyguard.
3. Find a quotation in this chapter confirming the fact that Darnay does confide his true identity to Dr. Manette the morning of his marriage.
“On the marriage morning, Dr. Manette had made it his one urgent and express request to Charles Darnay that the secret of this name should be…kept inviolate between them.”
4. What does Mr. Stryver think of the mysterious Marquis St. Evrémonde?
He thinks the Marquis is a coward for abandoning his property to the mob.
5. Assuming Gabelle’s plea for help is the catalyst that makes Darnay want to return to
France, what other reasons could Darnay have for deciding to go back?
He knows that he left France in a hurry and did not take the time to explain fully his reasons for wanting to renounce his social place. Darnay feels like a coward for not returning sooner to dispose of his property properly and give the people who work for him, like Gabelle, his support. He wants to go back to try to stop the bloodshed.