A Tale of Two Cities Themes

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The story of A Tale of Two Cities takes place during the turbulent years of the French Revolution. Dickens stresses the chaos of Revolutionary France by using images of the ocean. He calls the Paris mob a "living sea," and compares Ernest Defarge to a man caught in a whirlpool. Defarge and his wife are both at the center of revolutionary activity in Paris, just as their lives are at the center of the whirlpool. Order breaks down once again in the second chapter of the third book, "The Grindstone." "Dickens deliberately set Darnay's return to Paris and arrest at the time of the September Massacres," writes Ruth Glancy in A Tale of Two Cities: Dickens's Revolutionary Novel, "a four-day execution of 1,089 prisoners from four Paris prisons, condemned in minutes each by .. 'sudden Courts of Wild Justice.'" Contrasted to the chaos of Paris is the...

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This section contains 830 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Tale of Two Cities Study Guide
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A Tale of Two Cities from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.