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A Tale of Two Cities

Book III, Chapter 15, “The Footsteps Die Out Forever”




  1. Notes



Dickens concludes his book with the reiteration of several important themes. First, he

emphasizes that the French Revolution is the natural result of years of oppression and extravagance on the part of the aristocracy. The carts carrying the fifty-two prisoners to their deaths parallel "the carriages of absolute monarchs, the equipages of feudal nobles."Additionally, Dickens describes the wheels of the carts as "ploughing up a long crooked furrow among the populace in the streets."This imagery recalls the personification of Death as a farmer in the first chapter of the book. In A Tale of Two Cities, however, death often leads to resurrection, and Dickens uses this theme to conclude the book in a tone of hope. Carton's final vision indicates that the evil inherent in the previous regime and the current Revolution will eventually wear itself out and Paris and the people of France will be resurrected, "rising from this abyss."For those dying in the Revolution, Carton assures the seamstress that they will find everlasting life "in the better land"of heaven and will reunite with their loved ones there. Finally, Carton himself finds both resurrection and redemption through his death. He not only has the comfort of being reborn into the afterlife, but is also uplifted at the thought of being resurrected, in a sense, through his namesake. In dying, Carton restores meaning to his life and the lives of those he loves.


II. Terms

the seers people with the supposed power to foretell events or a person's destiny; prophets.

expiation a making amends or reparation for guilt or a wrongdoing.
III. Questions
1. At the execution, what is said about Carton?

The onlookers say Carton looked like a man at peace.

2. What does Carton foretell for Charles and Lucie, and how does their future bring honor to his name?



Carton views another son in Charles and Lucie’s future who will be named Sydney after Carton

3. After the confrontation between Madame Defarge and Miss Pross, the climatic meeting, and the unexpected consequences of the struggle, the little scene between Miss Pross and Jerry has provided some comic relief. What is the source of this comic relief?



Miss Pross is deafened by the gunshot and struggle to communicate with Cruncher afterwards.

4. Who follows the scene of Carton's being driven off to execution with nearly as much apprehension as the reader's?



The vengeance. She awaits Madame Defarge knowing she would find great satisfaction in Charles Darnay’s death.

5. What do Miss Pross and Sydney Carton now clearly have in common?



Both have made sacrifices for the family Pross refuses to tell Defarge that Lucie is no longer in Paris and is involved in a physical altercation with an armed woman carton sacrifices his life for the family.

6. How does the word "wine" in this chapter's second line describe the conditions in France?



Wine is symbolic of indulgence. The people of France find satisfaction in the mass killings and enjoy the scene. The bloodshed is referred to as wine.

7. What warning does Dickens once again issue to humanity in general, and English society in particular, about the atrocities of the French Revolution?



Dickens warns England in regards to treatment of lower classes.

8. In the seamstress's last remarks we come to certain equations: whom does Dickens mean us to take Carton and his persecutors for



Christ and the gentiles.


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