A tale of two cities

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Historical Novel-

*A novel in which the action takes place in an historical setting before the time of the

author’s writing it.

*A historical novel tries to present the attitudes and customs of the times accurately.

* Also, the main character usually has divided loyalties which are set in the historical


* The reader knows the outcome of history, but the character doesn’t. The resolution of

the conflict for the character is usually directly related to the social conflicts of the

Epithets- An adjective or phrase used to define a characteristic or attribute of some person or thing.
Homeric epithet is an adjective, usually a compound adjective, repeatedly used of the same thing or person- i.e. - “the wine-dark sea” – “golden hair”.
Parallelism- A balanced arrangement of sentences or phrases suggesting some correspondence between them. i.e. - “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”- Dickens compares the two cities in the opening paragraph.

  • Dicken’s opinions of the following are evident in the novel:

    • capital punishment

    • horrors of prisons

    • dangers of mob rule

    • abuse of power

    • the ideal woman

    • horrible ways to die

    • belief in fate

  • Use of foreshadowing :

    • use of imagery to set the mood for future action

    • suggestive titles of each chapter

    • inclusion of “cliff hangers” that end of the chapters

  • Use of suspense:

    • the cliffhanger

    • the unsolved mystery

    • the life and death situation

    • concern for other characters

  • Dicken’s often exaggerates the descriptions and actions of his characters so they become caricatures for a particular class of people (stock characters)-

    • Miss Pross- loyal British servant

    • Lucie- the ideal woman

    • Jarvis Lorry – the consummate business man

    • The Defarges- zealous revolutionaries

    • Stryver- ambitious and unscrupulous people

    • The Monseigner- abusive noble

  • Use of pairs or twins in the novel:

    • Darnay and Carton

    • France and England

    • St Evermonde brothers

    • Use of mirrors

  • Use of symbols in the novel:

    • water as a symbol of life

    • color red as a symbol for blood

    • Lucie’s hair as a symbol of home

  • Themes:

    • Theme of resurrection or rebirth through sacrifice:

    • Dr Manette

    • Sydney Carton

    • Charles Darnay

  • Theme of importance of home and family:

  • Plight of the poor

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