A Tale of Two Cities |Charles Dickens |Inclined Scorpio |Book Review
Cover page of the novel, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

‘A Tale of Two Cities’, a novel written by Charles Dickens is a historical fiction and political commentary set in the 18th century and published in the 19th century. The novel, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ was published in a serialised manner ‘All the Year Round’ from 30 April 1859 to 29 November 1859. The novel was later compiled into three books. ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ is set in France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท and London ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง, narrating the impacts of French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way”.

A Tale of Two Cities: Book I, Chapter 1

Book the First: Recalled to Life 

Book I  of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ has six chapters ๐Ÿ“‘ which are as follows:

Chapter I: The Period ๐Ÿ—“๏ธ

Chapter II:  The Mail ๐Ÿ“ฉ

Chapter III:  The Night Shadows ๐ŸŒŒ

Chapter IV: The Preparation ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

Chapter V: The Wine-shop ๐Ÿท

Chapter VI: The Shoemaker ๐Ÿ‘ž

Jerry Cruncher to Dover 

‘A Tale of Two Cities’ begins in the late 1775 and Jerry Cruncher has come from London to Dover in the night ๐ŸŒƒ mail-coach ๐Ÿš‚. Jerry Cruncher is an employee of the Tellson’s Bank ๐Ÿฆ in London has come to forward a message๐Ÿ’ญ to one of his bank ๐Ÿฆ managers,  Jarvis Lorry. Lorry responds to Jerry as ‘Recalled to Life’, ๐Ÿ˜ฒ which implies that the French physician, Alexandre Manette, who had been imprisoned in Bastille for 18 years is released ๐Ÿ™‚ and is alive ๐Ÿ˜ฏ.

Lucie Realises her Father is Alive๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Lucie Manette, daughter of Dr. Alexander Manette is unaware ๐Ÿ˜‘ that her father is alive. She is under the guard ๐Ÿ™‚ of her Governess, Miss Pross. She is met by Lorry and the news ๐Ÿ—ž๏ธ is forwarded. She faints ๐Ÿ˜ฒ hearing the news as she believed her father was dead all these years. Lucie is taken to France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท  by Lorry  for their reunion. 

The Reunion ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ง

A Tale of Two Cities |Charles Dickens |Inclined Scorpio | Book Review
Lucie aand Dr. Alexander Manette ‘s reunion in the novel,’ A Tale of Two Cities’

Lorry and Lucie reach Paris ๐Ÿš†. They meet Dr.Alexander Manette as a shoemaker ๐Ÿฅพ lodged by his former srevants, Ernest Defarge ๐Ÿ™Ž๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ and his wife Therese ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ in the poverty-stricken neighbourhood ๐Ÿš๏ธ of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Ernest Defarge and Therese Defarge runs a wine shop ๐Ÿท๐Ÿป. Lucie finds her father ๐Ÿ˜š in garret making shoes ๐Ÿ‘ข, a profession he has learnt from the prison. Dr. Manette couldn’t recognise ๐Ÿ˜ถ his daughter at first, but realises later ๐Ÿ˜ฑ as she resembles her mother. 

Book the Second: The Golden Thread 

Book II of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ ๐Ÿ“™ consists of 24 chapters which are titled as follows: 

Chapter I: Five Years Later ๐Ÿ“†

Chapter II: A Sight ๐Ÿง

Chapter III: A Disappointment ๐Ÿ˜”

Chapter IV: Congratulatory ๐Ÿ‘

Chapter V: The Jackal ๐ŸฆŠ 

Chapter VI: Hundreds of People ๐Ÿ™Ž๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿฆณ

Chapter VII: Monseigneur in Town ๐ŸŒ‡

Chapter VIII: Monseigneur in the Country ๐ŸŒ„

Chapter IX: The Gorgonโ€™s Head ๐Ÿ‘จ

Chapter X: Two Promises ๐Ÿค

Chapter XI: A Companion Picture ๐Ÿ‘ฌ

Chapter XII: The Fellow of Delicacy ๐Ÿค—

Chapter XIII: The Fellow of No Delicacy ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Chapter XIV: The Honest Tradesman ๐Ÿ’ต

Chapter XV: Knitting ๐Ÿงต

Chapter XVI: Still Knitting ๐Ÿงถ  

Chapter XVII: One Night ๐ŸŒƒ

Chapter XVIII: Nine Days ๐ŸŒ„๐Ÿ™๏ธ

Chapter XIX: An Opinion ๐Ÿคจ

Chapter XX: A Plea ๐Ÿ™

Chapter XXI: Echoing Footsteps ๐Ÿ‘ฃ

Chapter XXII: The Sea Still Rises ๐ŸŒŠ

Chapter XXIII: Fire Rises ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Chapter XXIV: Drawn to the Loadstone Rock ๐Ÿ™„

Who is Charles Darney? 

Book II of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ begins by 1780 that a man named Charles Darney, a French immigrant, was kept on trial ๐Ÿ“œ in London charging treason against Britain. John Barsad and Roger Cly were brought as witnesses ๐Ÿ™ƒ against Darney. Darney’s lawyer also pointed ๐Ÿ‘‰ out that Sydney Carton, a depressed cynical drunkard ๐Ÿฅƒ, strongly resembles Darney. Thus Darney was acquitted ๐Ÿ˜ as testimony of Barsad was also weakened. 

A Tale of Two Cities |Charles Dickens |Inclined Scorpio |Book Review
Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton in the court as per the novel, A Tale of Two Cities

The Cruel Marquis St. Evrรฉmonde

“Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend,” observed the Marquis, “will keep the dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof,” looking up to it, “shuts out the sky.”

A Tale of Two Cities: Book II, Chapter 9, Marquis St. Everรฉmonde
A Tale of Two Cities |Charles Dickens |Inclined Scorpio |Book Review
Marquis St. Everรฉmonde in ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

Marquis St.Evrรฉmonde is a stone hearted man who hails from the aristocratic ๐Ÿฏ family of  Paris, St. Evrรฉmonde. He is so cruel ๐Ÿ˜  that he even killed a child ๐Ÿง’ running his carriage ๐Ÿšƒ over the child in busy streets ๐Ÿ›ฃ๏ธ and later throws a coin ๐Ÿ’ฐ upon his father Gaspard as a compensation for his loss ๐Ÿ˜ฐ.

Will Gaspard be satisfied with the coin that Marquis St. Evrรฉmonde throws on him or will he take revenge upon the loss of his child ๐Ÿคจ?

Charles Darney, the Heir of St.Evrรฉmonde

“A multitude of people, and yet a solitude!”

A Tale of Two Cities: Charles Darnay, Book 2, Chapter 6

Charles Darney is the nephew of Marquis St.Evrรฉmonde but he hates ๐Ÿ˜–his family for committing crimes ๐Ÿ—ก๏ธ๐Ÿ”ซand being cruel ๐Ÿ˜  to people around him. Thus he changes โžก๏ธ his surname from  St.Evrรฉmonde and adapts his mother’s anglicised maiden’s name D’Aulnais and changes it to Darney. That is how he became Charles Darney๐Ÿค . 

What are the brutalities done by the St.Evrรฉmondes to others ๐Ÿค”? What has made him hate his own family that forced him to change his surname? โ‰๏ธ

Gaspard Takes Revenge ๐Ÿ˜ก 

Gaspard enters the  chรขteau, the manor house where Marquis leaves. He was murdered by Gaspard when sleeping ๐Ÿ˜ด. He avoided to surrender himself but was caught and hanged after a year. 

The Love Triangle in London ๐Ÿ’•

A Tale of Two Cities |Charles Dickens |Inclined Scorpio |Book Review
Lucie Manette, Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton

“For you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything. If my career were of that better kind that there was any opportunity or capacity of sacrifice in it, I would embrace any sacrifice for you and for those dear to you. Try to hold me in your mind, at some quiet times, as ardent and sincere in this one thing. The time will come, the time will not be long in coming, when new ties will be formed about you [โ€ฆ] O Miss Manette, [โ€ฆ] when you see your own bright beauty springing up anew at your feet, think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you!”

A Tale of Two Cities: Book II, Chapter 13, Sydney Carton

Sydney Carton proposes to ๐Ÿ˜ Lucie which is rejected by her. But Sydney Carton promises to sacrifice โ˜บ๏ธ anything for her anytime. Later Charles Darney seeks the permission of Dr.Alexander Manette to marry Lucie. Dr.Manette is happy ๐Ÿ˜š to get her married ๐Ÿ‘ฐ to him. 

What Makes Dr.Manette Move to Paris Again ๐Ÿ˜’? 

Dr.Manette comes to know about the family ties ๐Ÿ˜• of Charles Darney and his kinship with the Evrรฉmondes. Dr.Manette is upset ๐Ÿ˜ž hearing it and decides to move ๐Ÿ›„ to Paris and continue with the shoe making ๐Ÿ‘ž. His disappointment ๐Ÿ˜” isn’t shared with his daughter, Lucie. 

Why was Dr.Alexander Manette disappointed ๐Ÿ˜ž as he heard of Darney’s relation with the Evrรฉmondes? Is there anything that makes him upset about ๐Ÿ˜” them or have the Evermondes been cruel to Dr.Manette ๐Ÿค”

Little Lucie ๐Ÿ‘ถ

A Tale of Two Cities |Charles Dickens |Inclined Scorpio | 19th Century Novel
Lucie aand Charles Darnay with little Lucie

Charles Darney and Lucie begin to build up their family. Lucie gives birth ๐Ÿคฐ to a son, who dies โšฐ๏ธ in his childhood and later a girl ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿป, who is called little Lucie. Lorry and Carton too visit them often. Carton becomes the favourite of little Lucie. 

The Storming of the Bastille ๐Ÿš๏ธ

A Tale of Two Cities |Charles Dickens |Inclined Scorpio |Book Review | French Revolution
The Bastille Storming

In July 1789, the Defarges in Paris led the storming in Bastille ๐ŸŒซ๏ธ and slaughtered ๐Ÿ—ก๏ธ the aristocratic ๐Ÿข and official representatives of the country. The chรขteau of St.Evremonde is also burnt ๐Ÿ”ฅ. The storming in Bastille ๐ŸŒซ๏ธ is symbol of royal tyranny. While being a part of revolution, they also searches ๐Ÿ”Ž the prison cell where Dr.Alexander Manette lived. 

Darnay to Paris ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท 

Lorry goes to Paris to collect the documents ๐Ÿ—ƒ๏ธ from the Paris’ branch of Tellson’s Bank ๐Ÿฆ in 1792. Darney also decides to go to Paris ๐Ÿค” as he receives a letter โœ‰๏ธ from Gabelle, an imprisoned former servant of his uncle, Marquis St. Evrรฉmonde pleaded ๐Ÿ™ to help him release from the jail. Darnay, as the heir of Evrรฉmonde moves to Paris to set out his duties ๐Ÿ˜‘ but this isn’t revealed within his family ๐Ÿ˜ถ. 

Book the Third – The Track of a Storm

Book III of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ comprises of 15 chapters which are as follows:

Chapter I: In Secret ๐Ÿคซ

Chapter II: The Grindstone โš™๏ธ

Chapter III: The Shadow ๐Ÿ—ฟ

Chapter IV: Calm in Storm ๐ŸŒช๏ธ

Chapter V: The Wood-Sawyer ๐Ÿšช

Chapter VI: Triumph ๐Ÿ“ฏ

Chapter VII: A Knock at the Door ๐Ÿšช

Chapter VIII: A Hand at Cards โ™ ๏ธโ™ฃ๏ธ

Chapter IX: The Game Made ๐ŸŽฒ

Chapter X: The Substance of the Shadow ๐ŸŒฌ๏ธ

Chapter XI: Dusk ๐ŸŒ˜

Chapter XII: Darkness ๐ŸŒš

Chapter XIII: Fifty-two 5๏ธโƒฃ2๏ธโƒฃ

Chapter XIV: The Knitting Done ๐Ÿงฃ

Chapter XV: The Footsteps Die Out For Ever ๐Ÿšท

Darnay is Imprisoned ๐Ÿ™„

Book III of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ begins when Darnay is arrested ๐Ÿ˜ฃ for being an illegal aristocratic emigrant and is jailed in La Force Prison. His family ๐Ÿ‘ช, being restless ๐Ÿ˜ฅ, moves to Paris near Lorry’s housing to save him. He is released from jail after 15 months ๐Ÿค— as Dr.Manette testifies in favour of him. Unfortunately, he is arrested again ๐Ÿฅด. 

Why is Darnay re-arrested ๐Ÿค”? Can his family save him again ๐Ÿคจ

Solomon = Barsad

๐Ÿ‘ฎโ€โ™‚๏ธ = ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธ 

Miss Pross, the guardian of Lucie is happy ๐Ÿ˜Š to find her long lost brother Solomon while running erands with Jerry. Solomon is an employee of the French revolutionary authority as well as the prison officer ๐Ÿ‘ฎ of Darnay. But Carton memorises ๐Ÿ˜ฎ him as Barsad ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธ, the spy who tried to defame Darnay in his 1780 trial โš–๏ธ. Carton uses his his hidden identity ๐ŸŽญ as an opportunity to blackmail ๐Ÿ˜ Solomon and execute his plan to help ๐Ÿค— Darnay. 

Why was Darnay Rearrested ๐Ÿค”? 

A Tale of Two Cities |Charles Dickens |Inclined Scorpio |Book Review
Charles Darnay during the trial in Book III of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

Darnay was re-arrested based on the denunciations by the Defarges. The manuscript ๐Ÿ“ that the Defarges found in the prison cell of Dr.Manette says that he had been jailed as he tried to report ๐Ÿ“ƒ the crimes of the Evrรฉmondes. The Evrรฉmonde brothers, the father and uncle of Darnay had kidnapped, raped and killed ๐Ÿ—ก๏ธ a poor peasant ๐Ÿ‘ณโ€โ™€๏ธ girl and her brother ๐Ÿ‘ณโ€โ™‚๏ธ who came to confront them by hiding their younger sister ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿป. The court decides to punish Darnay for the sins ๐Ÿ˜ซ for his elders and is ordered to die ๐Ÿฅบ by the next afternoon in the guillotine ๐Ÿ—œ๏ธ. 

This was why Dr.Alexander Manette was disappointed on hearing that Darnay was a heir of the Evrรฉmondes ๐Ÿ˜”. But why did the Defarges report against Darnay ๐Ÿคจ

Madame Defarge: The Surviving Younger Sister ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿป

Judge you! Is it likely that the trouble of one wife and mother would be much to us now? 

A Tale of Two Cities: Madame Defarge, Book 3, Chapter 3

Sydney Carton comes to know that Madame Defarge is the surviving younger sister ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿป of whom the Evrรฉmondes killed. She has planned to take revenge ๐Ÿ˜  by attacking Lucie and her family ๐Ÿ‘ช. Carton overhears ๐Ÿ‘‚ her as he visits her wineshop๐Ÿท. Carton says Lorry to care ๐Ÿค— of Lucie and her family ๐Ÿ‘ถ as well as to take her out of the place by 2pm ๐Ÿ•‘ in a carriage ๐Ÿšƒ the next day where he waits. 

Sydney Carton as Charles Darnay ๐Ÿคจ 

Carton is into implementing his plans. Carton covinces Solomon ๐Ÿ‘ฎโ€โ™‚๏ธ to get into Darnay’s prison. After getting in the prison, Carton drugs ๐Ÿšฌ Darnay and both their clothes ๐Ÿ‘• are exchanged ๐Ÿ”„. Carton who resembles Darnay is ready to die for Lucie, so that she can live happily ๐Ÿ™‚. Darnay is taken to the carriage ๐Ÿšƒ where Lucie and family waits. They flee to England ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ and Darnay gains his consciousness ๐Ÿ˜‡ in the midst of the journey ๐Ÿ›ฃ๏ธ. 

Madame Defarge on her Way

A Tale of Two Cities |Charles Dickens |Inclined Scorpio |Book Review
The fight of Madame Defarge and Miss Pross in the novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

Madame Defarge hoping to kill ๐Ÿ”ซ Lucie finds Miss Pross in her lodging ๐Ÿ˜๏ธ who is waiting for Jerry to move out of Paris. They indulge in a fight ๐Ÿฅต where the pistol ๐Ÿ”ซ discharges which kills Madame Defarge ๐Ÿ˜‘ and deafens Miss Pross ๐Ÿ™‰. 

Sydney Carton is Guillotined ๐Ÿ™„

A Tale of Two Cities |Charles Dickens |Inclined Scorpio |Book Review |French Revolution
Sydney Carton is Guillotined by the end of the novel, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

“I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.”

A Tale of Two Cities: Book III, Chapter 15, Sydney Carton

Carton waits for the tumbril, ๐Ÿšœ the vehicle that takes them to guillotine. Meanwhile he meets another prisoner, a seamstress who is also waiting for the tumbril ๐Ÿšœ to be guillotined. Carton comforts ๐Ÿ™‚ her saying that they are moving to the best of lands ๐ŸŒจ๏ธ and where these worldly worries ๐ŸŒŽ won’t touble them. He dreams ๐Ÿ˜Œ that he, who was valued by none, will now be santuaried in the hearts ๐Ÿ’– of Lucie and her family and his soul ๐ŸŒฌ๏ธ will be honored than anyone’s by them.

“I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman, weeping for me on the anniversary of this day. I see her and her husband, their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I know that each was not more honoured and held sacred in the other’s soul than I was in the souls of both”.

A Tale of Two Cities: Book III, Chapter 15, Sydney Carton

‘A Tale of Two Cities’: A Tale Set in Paris ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท and London ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known”.

A Tale of Two Cities: Book III, Chapter 15, Sydney Carton

A Tale of Two Citiesis a novel ๐Ÿ“– that sketches the events and disturbance ๐Ÿ˜• that happened during the French Revolution. There were no sensible ๐Ÿคจ reasons to get punished. Everything seems to be confused ๐Ÿ˜•. Nothing remained proper. The whole world ๐ŸŒ was in its improper state. This unstability ๐Ÿ˜ฉ is explained in the novel. Nobody knows, why and when the prisoners where punished ๐Ÿ˜‘.ย 

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A Tale of Two Cities Explained Summary

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Naeema Jaleel

Naeema Jaleel

Writer at Inclined Scorpio

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