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?
Explain how Sydney Carton saves Charles Darnay's life.
How does Madame Defarge die? Relate Sydney Carton's final thoughts.
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.
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?
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?
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 Citiesinvolves 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
What are the climax and resolution of A Tale of
What idea about life is suggested by the events
related in Dr. Manette's manuscript?
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."
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.