Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities - Book II Analysis

Please respond to ONE of the following questions. Be sure to be thorough in your response and don't forget to support with text!

1. Support or argue against the following statement: Madame Defarge is Dickens' symbol for the French Revolution

2. Discuss the burning down of the Villa and the significance of the quote, "let it burn." Make a historical connection.

3. Discuss the imagery in these last chapters. Why do you think Dickens devoted so many pages to these images?

4. Throughout Book II, Dickens incorporates similarities and striking contrasts between setting, characters and themes. Discuss one of the following topics and show through text and analysis the similarities and differences between them.
A. London/Paris
B. Charles Darnay/Sydney Carton
C. Light/Darkness
D. Repression/Liberation
E. Death/Rebirth
F. Secrets/Revelations

26 comments:

  1. 4. B) Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton are similar and different in many ways. They share in common lots, but also have large differences. The major thing that separates Sydney from Darnay is that Sydney simply doesn't have the motivation that Darnay has. Sydney has never been given a reason to do anything, until he met Lucie. He never has really tried anything, spending most of his life in a drunken mess. Carton also struggles with his self confidence. "I have no business to be, at all, that I know of." Says Sydney when talking about how he doesn't think he himself even deserves life. "I am not worth such feeling" (117) He says when talking to Lucie. But at the same time as he is lost in his own regret and sorrow this is the one part of the book where Carton reveals himself to posses traits like Darnay. He has his own revelation when he realizes he could have been Darnay. Lucie sparks this in him and he realizes he could have been a happy, independent man instead of becoming known as "Stryver's Jackal. "On the other hand, like Carton, Darnay is a smart man. He is also more devoted to life and persistent at his goals. Darnay is also handsome and plans to marry Lucie, something only Carton could dream of. Darnay is successful at what he does and seems to be a happy man when with Lucie. Darnay is seemingly a more heroic character because he possesses the will and determination to complete a task, and that is the only real thing separating these two characters. Many things have happened to separate them, but it all was because of this one main difference. Now in the story Carton has asked for Darnay's companionship and is seemingly trying to resurrect himself from the years he has wasted as being the Jackal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 3) The imagery is these last chapters was very very thorough. Dickens spends almost two pages describing things in chapter 24. I think that the main reason that he wrote so much description was because he was paid by the word. So if he wrote more words he would get payed alot more. I think that he devoted so many words to the description because that was the easiest way he could expand alot on something to have more words.

    ReplyDelete
  3. They burning of the Villa takes place in chapter 23. The chateau is set on fire, by the towns people, and they watch as the Villa burns to the ground. "The mender of roads, and two hundred and fifty particular friends, stood with folded arms at the fountain, looking at the pillar of fire in the sky." They didn't really seem to care that the Villa was on fire. A man who was from the Chateau tries to get help, but he isn't given it. "At the gate, a group of officers were looking at the fire; removed from them, a group of soldiers. 'Help, gentlemen-officers! The chateau is on fire; valuable objects may be saved from the flames by timely aid! Help, help!'" No one helps him, they just reply with "'Let must burn.'"

    I think that the burning of the Villa symbolizing something for the village people. The Chateau was the home of the late Monsieur Marquis, who was the higher ruling power of the people. He was a terrible person and didn't care or think anything about the lower class people except that they were awful terrible things. The burning of the Villa probably symbolized finally getting rid of Monsieur Marquis's home, memory, and rule. It also could be the burning of the higher power all together and coming into the age of the Revolution.

    I'm not sure on the historical connection with the quote, "It must burn."

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1. I feel that Madame Defarge is Dickens' symbol for the French Revolution. I feel so because of her various actions throughout book II. She is always sitting in the wine shop, knitting, and listening to what people are saying. She is never absent from her post. In chapter 21, she also shows a significant role in the revolution. Her and Mr. Defarge were leading a mob of people when they were storming the Bastille. When Mr. Defarge kills a man who was defending the Bastille, Madame Defarge cuts of the head of the man he killed. This shows that she had a strong belief in the revolution, and her involvement represents the many people who were fighting in favor of the revolution.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 2.) When the Villa burns it has a historical connection to the storming of the Bastille. It is essentially the same thing except on a smaller scale the Bastille represented the tyranny of the king over all of France. The Villa represents the aristocracy and oligarchy of the Villa over the village. To Una's point, the burning of the Villa represented the "good riddance" of Marquis. However I think it represented much more, it represented the people taking back what was theirs, power. The people of this town were fiscally under the iron fist of Marquis being forced to pay for his luxuries year after year and they finally had enough of it. There is also a literal storming of the Bastille at the end of the book headed by Mouser Defarge, coinsidence? I think not.

    ReplyDelete
  6. 1) I agree with Chris that the violent symbolism of the French Revolution shows the strong belief of Madame Defarge and those who fought in favor of it. The first significant sign of Madame Defarge's symbolism for the French Revolution was explained in chapter twenty-one. In France, the residents of Saint Antoine armed themselves with endless amounts of weaponry and began to gather in the streets as the Defarges lead them in the attack on the Bastille. The crowd attacked the governor of the prison. The gruesome cutting off of his head that was done by Madame Defarge was a notable sign of her symbolism of the French Revolution.
    In chapter twenty-two, revolutionaries found that Foulon, a hated official who was thought to be dead, was alive and captured, and faked his death in order to escape from them. They learned that Foulon was at the Hotel de Ville. When the mob, lead by Madame Defarge, found Foulon, they stuffed his mouth with grass, and then hung him. In the thinking of the death would be enough, Foulon's head was again cut and placed on a pike. From this scene, it shows that in leading the mob to the hotel in which Foulon stayed, Madame Defarge's involvement was more worthy of attention. An important quote was that she watched him "silently and composedly"as Foulon beged for mercy. This demonstrates the unfeeling and pitiless behavior she is capable of presenting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. 4, C.) Light/Dark, a familar topic for all of us after dealing with Oedipus the King. Light is represented by truth, and being enlightened. While the dark is built upon falsehood and lies. The character that has been both in the cave and in the sunlight is Dr. Manette, he has seen both sides of the story. If you recall from book one all he did was sit on his tool bench making shoes, and when someone spoke to him his response was simply, "What did you say?" However by Chapter 17, Book II he is a new man, infact he has even learned to open up about his imprisonment. He describes this crucial period in his life to Lucie as he says,"My thoughts, when they were wildest, never rose near the happiness that I have known with you, and that we have before us(146)."
    Another character we have witnessed change as he made his way through the process of enlightenment is Sydney Carton. At the trial during book I, he is always drunk and tells Charles Darnay upfront he does not like him. By book II he tells Lucie, "He would die in order for her to be happy," and even asks Darnay for friendship.


    **Quick question to anyone, when Darnay writes his goodbye letter, is he leaving forever or temporarily?

    ReplyDelete
  8. 4b.) Charles Darnay and Sydney are foils of each other; but they are also similar to each other. One similarity they have is that they look alike but their personalities are complete foils. Charles Darnay is a man of honor and is very hardworking and is considered a hero in this book. The complete opposite is Sydney Carton who has no motivation to do anything but, he has potential to be a hero. Darnay is what Carton thought could've been him if he had just tried harder. They are identical (even played by the same character in the movie) but Darnay is a reflection of what Carton's life could have been. Another similarity between both of them, and a couple other characters in the book is that they both are in love with Lucie Manette, and right before Darnay marries her, Carton expresses his love towards her. I predict that this is foreshadowing something that Carton will sacrifice towards the end of the novel. Carton is known as "the jackal" to stryver; he works hard but Stryver gets all the credit for his work. Carton worked hard before he became an alcoholic and has the potential to be just like Darnay.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 1) I agree with the other responders to this question, that Madame Defarge is the symbol of the French Revolution. I think that her dedication is the main part of her being the revolution. She was dedicated to be part of the revolution. She did not want the men to do all the work, so she made sure herself and all the women were participating too. She also knows that for the revolution to succeed they cannot just speak of it, there needs to be action. She also knows that the revolt will not happen in one day, it takes planning and patience for the revolution to be successful. She says "Vengeance and retribution require a long time; it is a rule. (p.137" She knows that to succeed in what they want to do they have to be patient. She dedicates her and her husband’s life to the revolution going to any extent to win.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton are very similar but are also very different. Both of them are very smart people; however, Darnay unlike Carton decides to use his intelligence while Carton uses it to some degree, doing Stryver's work for him but does not use it for himself to create a good reputation for himself. Although Darnay does not have a good reputation either, because of his being accused of treason, Darnay is known to be smart and intelligent while Carton is known to be a drunk. Darnay and Carton also literally look the same but are actually quite different because Darnay is a good man while Carton has the potential to be good however, does not put the effort into it. When Carton sees Darnay he sees what he could have become, he sees Darnay and Lucie and he wishes he could be Darnay but since he wasted his life, he can't. He says that "I am like one who died young. All my life might have been." This directly shows how he regrets wasting his life

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay are very similar and yet very different. The main difference like Joe said is that Carton does not have that motivation to try and doesn't have that strive for life. One similarity that they do have in common is that they both love Lucie. This inspires a spark in Sydney and is motivated now to become a better man for Lucie. Eventually Darnay ends up marrying Lucie and listens to her request to try and help Sydney considering, "...how strong we are in our happiness, and how weak he is in his misery"(161). Another way Dickens shows how these two contrast is that Darnay is portrayed as a lion (takes all the glory and is the leader in life), and Carton to a jackal (the brains of the bunch, yet doesn't own up to fame). Carton realizes he is seeing what his life could have been in Darnay, and asks for his help to become a better man. "...and he no more thought of emerging from his state of lion's jackal, than any real jackal may be supposed to think of rising to be a lion."(161). Overall the two characters relate in many ways, yet are different in other ways.

    ReplyDelete
  12. 1. I think that Charles Dickens uses Madame Defarge as a symbol for the French Revolution. You can really tell that she wants to be a part of it. More towards the beginning of the novel, she is very quiet and keeps to herself by knitting but secretly she is listening in to all of the conversation about it and how people are beginning to get angry at the royal class. I agree with Josie and Chris about the part later on in the novel when Madame Defarge violently cuts off the head. I think this action really symbolizes her being a part of the French Revolution, because Dickens is starting to show that the revolution is going to get very gruesome and he is using the character Madame Defarge to show that. He says "Madame's resolute right hand was occupied with an axe, in place of the usual softer implements, and in her girdle were a pistol and a cruel knife" (pg.166). So I think Madame Defarge serves as a symbol for the French Revolution because she acts like a leader and takes charge and he is using her to show how bloody the Revolution is about to get.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 1. I agree with everyone else who has responded to this question, that Madame Defarge is Dickens’ symbol for the French Revolution. I think the greatest symbol of all, though is Madame Defarge’s knitting. I think her knitting really represents the secretive but sly, heartless bitterness of the revolutionaries. Madame Defarge always seems innocent and quiet as she knits, when she is really putting people to death. This relates to the French Revolution because all the peasants seem quiet and innocent at first, but finally they rise up to massacre their rulers.

    ReplyDelete
  15. 1.Madame Defarge is a symbol for the Revolution because in the same way a wife should be an accessory to her husband, and not have the right to speak her own mind, a peasant should not speak out against the government, and should obey the government. To have Madame Defarge be one of the people leading the Revolution is very different, but the people going against the government was also very different at the time. Madame Defarge has built up her anger towards the monarchs for all of the problems they have caused her, like most of the French Population, and her blood thirst and revenge embodies the disorder that is going on during this war. I was shocked when I found out that she stormed the Bastille, and cut off a man’s head because throughout most of the book she has sat peacefully and observed while knitting names. Until recently it seemed that she was at the command of Mr. Defarge, but in the past few chapters it appears that it is the other way around, and Madame Defarge is the one who is really calling the shots.

    Rebecca- I think that Darnay might assume he will see them again, but when he will, or if he will at all isn’t really confirmed yet. I understood it a little bit, but I don’t completely get it either.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay are very similar and different in many ways. To start off they look very similar, in fact in court they were mistaken as each other. Darnay is motivated to do anything, as he was described as the lion. Sydney isn’t very motivated and doesn’t try in life, and he is always drunk. “Sydney Carton, idlest and most unpromising of men…” He is described as the Jackal and a feeds off of Darnay’s success. They both like Lucie Manette but because Darnay is the motivated one he cleans up and becomes the man for her. After their marriage Sydney came “to offer his congratulations…He was not improved in habits, or in looks, or in manner; but there was a certain rugged air of fidelity about him, which was new to the observation of Charles Darnay”. After Darnay and Lucie were married it seemed as if Carton was trying to change or wanted to change, he was tired of not trying and was trying to live up to what he was capable of. “Upon my life,” said Carton, smiling, “I find that easier to comprehend in my own mind, than to convey to yours. However, let me try.” Sydney says to Darnay, “I wish we might be friends.” He was reaching out to Darnay for help and inspiration, “…when I say I wish we might be friends, I scarcely mean quite that, either.”

    ReplyDelete
  17. 1.) Madame Defarge represents all that there is to represent about the revolution. She is bold she is uncharacteristically brave and she doesn't care about the repercutions. In the book the narrator says "It was nothing to her, that an innocent man was to die for the sins of his forefathers; she saw, not him, but them." She is fighting for the cause. She is fighting for what she believes in, so when it comes down to it she will do anything to insure the successfulness of this revolution. Another thing she is is clever. She is always cryptically recording in his knitting. Always watching to see who comes in her store. And always waiting for the perfect time to initiate this revolution. But not only is she clever and relentless but she is also fierce. Her husband describes her as " frightfully grand woman". She is a great women but you can be scared for you safety at times but she is grand all in all. She represents all there is about the revolution: cleverness, fierceness and relentlessness. It is not wonder she is one of the point women for the whole operation.

    ReplyDelete
  18. 4.E) In book 2, the theme of Death and Rebirth is very apparent. The way that Dickens incorporates this I believe is the way he explains the start of the French Revolution. It is interesting how as the Marquis and other important government officials are killed in the overthrow of the French Monarchy, a birth of democracy occurs. Now the common people are the leaders, showing how the death of the government officials brings to life the power of the peasants and common people. Where the Monarchs used to rule their country is now where Democracy thrives. The book says “Saint Antoine’s blood was up, and the blood of tyranny and domination by the iron hand was down.”(p.169) this shows how the tyranny had died, and now I believe a Democracy is going to form.

    ReplyDelete
  19. 1. I think that Madame Defarge is the symbol of the french revolution. Dickens always has her just sitting in her chair watching, kind of like people in the french revolution just waiting for the right time to fight back. She also was very violent when they were storming the bastile. I think that she's very brave which all the revolutionarys had to be. She is definitely a symbol for the french revolution.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think that Dickens decided to use Madame Defarge as the symbol of the French revolution. He showed this through her leadership and her independence along with pure national pride that made her willing to lead and represent the formation of a new government. From the beginning of our time that we have read about Madame Defarge she has been a spy and a leader. When she said hello to the man in the shop in chapter seventeen she not only said hello but noticed every quality about him and tried to figure his political views. This was what the revolution was about, viewing the government, finding its flaws, and criticizing and destroying those flaws. The other very important quality about her and how she represented the revolution was that she led the women to victory, and did not live to the reputation of women at that time. When she was leading the women she lead as she cried, “‘See!’ cried Madame, pointing with her knife. “See the old villain bound with ropes. That was well done to tie a bunch of grass upon his back. Ha ha! That was well done.’” She was the heart of the mob mentality and was the leader of the riots and she was the person who managed to overcome the important political people and help all the underestimated women to victory.

    ReplyDelete
  21. 1) I agree that madame defarge is a symbol of the revolution. She sat and knitted, just waiting for the right moment, and gathering information. She never gave anything away, and was a great spy. WHen the time was right, she gave advice. Madame defarge spread revolution spirit. SHe also knew how to take charge. durring the storming of the bastille, she cut off a mans head. She lead the crowd. I agree with Liz, she is brave. There wernt many women like her back then, which i why i think dickens uses her as a symbol. not only is she brave and strong, but in a time where women just sat around, she defied the stereo types. The people of france did the same. they broke down the walls put up by the royals.

    ReplyDelete
  22. 3. The imagery that Dickens provides for the reader is phenomenal. He goes into depth about everything and makes the reader feel as though the reader were there. I can easily picture everything that happens in the book. Dickens especially focuses on torture and the peasants getting revenge. However, before he gets into that he describes the setting. He describes it as, “Cannon, muskets, fire and smoke; but, still the deep ditch, the single drawbridge, the massive stone walls, and the eight great towers. Slight displacements of the raging sea, made by the falling wounded. Flashing weapons, blazing torches, smoking waggonloads of wet straw, hard work at neighbouring barricades in all directions, shrieks, volleys, execrations, bravery without stint, boom smash and rattle, and the furious sounding of the living sea…” (Chapter 21). Dickens describes the sound, sight, and smell. Then, he describes the revenge and beating of a man who was mean to the peasants. The peasants get revenge by having him be, “dragged, and struck at, and stifled by the bunches of grass and straw that were thrust into his face by hundreds of hands; torn, bruised, panting, bleeding, yet always entreating and beseeching for mercy; now full of vehement agony of action, with a small clear space about him as the people drew one another back that they might see; now, a log of dead wood drawn through a forest of legs; he was hauled to the nearest street corner where one of the fatal lamps swung…” (Chapter 22).
    I think Dickens devoted so many pages to imagery because he wanted the reader to feel like they were there. Dickens knew the book would be more exciting if you could feel the tension and pretend like you were at the battle seen. The setting and emotions are described with such detail, which makes the book more entertaining.

    ReplyDelete
  23. 1. Support or argue against the following statement: Madame Defarge is Dickens' symbol for the French Revolution

    Madame Defarge is Dickens’ symbol for French Revolution because as seen in the book, Madame Defarge is separated from all other characters and is the odd one out. Also, all she does is keep knitting, and what does she knit? She knits names, names of people who are going to die in the French Revolution. I don’t exactly remember what chapter Dickens’ talked about this so I couldn’t find any quotes. If anyone can help that would be great? Madame Defarge is courageous and even though she is a quiet person through out the novel, she lead the France people to attack the Bastille which also shows the symbol for French Revolution. Also Dickens, starts to build up on the symbolism, he tells us how Madame Defarge had axe and knifes. "Madame's resolute right hand was occupied with an axe, in place of the usual softer implements, and in her girdle were a pistol and a cruel knife." (166) If you think about it, Dickens makes Defarge look bold and not scared of anyone, almost a perfect match for a leader also perhaps French Revolution.

    ReplyDelete
  24. 1. I agree with many people above that Madame Defarge is a symbol of the Revolution. Throughout the book so far it mentions a lot about spies, and Madame Defarge is an example of an excellent one. She would quietly in her chair knitting, listening and watching everyone and everything around her until one day when everybody snapped. When her husband was just about ready to lead the mob, she states, "Eh, well! Here you see me!”, accompanied with an axe, pistol, and knife (things in place of her usual knitting and feminine objects). She led the women's mob and took a stand, cutting off heads and being the voice of many people. I think she's a symbol mostly because while men were out in the mob most women were tending to their children and homes, but Madame Defarge was the complete opposite of all those other women. She knew she was in this from the beginning and was taking a stand for herself and the citizens of her village, she's a very important character book and I think a hero to many women.

    ReplyDelete
  25. 1. Support or argue against the following statement: Madame Defarge is Dickens' symbol for the French Revolution

    I think that Madame Defarge is a symbol of the French Revolution because of her gender in two different situations. One of these situations was during the beginning of the revolution when Mr. Defarge first asked where his wife was, she answered: “’Here you see me!’... composed as ever, but not knitting to-day. Madame’s resolute right hand was occupied with an axe,… and in her girdle were a pistol and a cruel knife... ‘You shall see me at the head of women, by and by.’” (pg. 214 NOTE that I do have a different book). This reinforces the importance of the revolution because even the women are partaking in the revolution. Despite that fact that typically back then women didn’t fight and also possibly care for their children– it did not happen today since it was “Not before dark night did the men and women come back to the children” (pg. 224) which means that even abandoning the care of your children was worth fighting for the revolution. Another example which was also explained by Josie S. was when they bound Foulon with ropes, Madame Defarge spoke: “’See the old villain bound with ropes. That was well done to tie a bunch of grass upon his back. Ha, ha! That was well done’… Madame put her knife under her arm, and clapped her hands as at a play.” (pg. 222) This shows the unmerciful behavior demonstrated by Madame Defarge, but also shows the unmerciful behavior of entire French Revolution which supports the fact that Madame Defarge is a symbol of the French Revolution.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I support the argument that Madame Defarge is described by Dickens as a symbol of the French Revolution. Defarge is constantly seen in the story knitting in her husband's wine shop. Madame's knitting represents the well spent time on the organization of the Revolution. Madame also is a symbol because she is a woman, and women had almost no rights, which gave them a good reason to be unhappy. On page, 214, she is seen, "right hand was occupied with an axe, and in her girdle were a pistol and a cruel knife." This shows that women, who mostly were responsible for homecare were ready to fight when they needed to.

    ReplyDelete