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A Tale of Two Cities, Book the Third, Chapters 9-15 Charles Dickens

STUDY AND RESPONSE

Study Questions

RECALLING

Pick out two examples of coincidences, and tell whether or not you agree that they can be criti­cized as flaws.


Why did Dr. Manette denounce the family of Charles Darnay?

What does Carton say to Lorry about Charles's prospects after Darnay is con­demned?

What does Carton learn when he overhears the Defarges' conversation at the wine shop in Chapter 12?

4.

5. 6.

Explain how Sydney Carton saves Charles Darnay's life.

How does Madame Defarge die? Relate Sydney Carton's final thoughts.

INTERPRETING

  1. In Carton's conversation with Lorry at the
    end of Chapter 11, point out two examples of
    verbal irony—words that mean something
    different from what they seem to mean.

  2. What statement of Madame Defarge shows
    that she regards herself as stronger than even
    the elemental forces of nature? Why might
    she feel this way?

9- In what sense does the phrase "Recalled to life" apply to Sydney Carton's final days?

EXTENDING

10. Identify the moral values stressed by Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities. How important do you think these values are in today's world?

Literary Focus

PLOT AND THEME

Plot is the ordered sequence of events in a story, novel, or play. A plot usually revolves around a conflict, or problem of some kind. For example, the main plot of A Tale of Two Cities involves the conflict of the French Revolution and its effects on the Manette and Darnay families. The plots of most works are constructed to build up to a climax, or point of greatest reader interest. After the climax the plot winds down to a resolution, which re­veals the final outcome of the narrative.

The events of the plot, besides building a fasci­nating story, help the author to express one or more themes, or ideas about life. For example, the events of the French Revolution in this novel enable Dickens to develop his ideas about the need for social justice and the horrors of violent change.

THINKING ABOUT PLOT AND THEME

  1. What are the climax and resolution of A Tale of
    Two Cities?

  2. What idea about life is suggested by the events
    related in Dr. Manette's manuscript?


Viewpoint

The critic Edgar Johnson praises the intricate craftsmanship of Dickens' plot in A Tale of Two Cities, remarking that the author had never "previ­ously plotted a novel with more skill." Neverthe­less, Johnson writes, "Melodramatic coincidences ... flaw the otherwise splendid structure of the book."

Responding in Writing: Morality Scale

Create a "morality scale," and place each of the following characters on it: Jarvis Lorry, Lucie Manette, Dr. Manette, Ernest Defarge, Therese De­farge, Charles Darnay, Sydney Carton, and the Mar­quis St. Evremonde. Explain why each character belongs where you have placed him or her in rela­tion to the others.

A Tale of Two Cities Study and Response: Book the Third, Chapters 9-15 37


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