A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

914 Words4 Pages
Charles Dickens, a very successful writer who was born in 1812, wrote many famous novels during his life. Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities about the French Revolution in 1859, sixty years after it ended, and was still able to capture so many details in the captivating yet heartbreaking novel. Dickens’ usage of many symbols and metaphors throughout the novel is extremely effective. Through these symbols, Dickens skillfully incorporates various themes in the story. Fate is a significant theme that he expresses by using the symbols of the shadow, knitting, and fountains.
One of the symbols Dickens uses to help portray the theme of fate is the shadow. Dickens accurately describes the shadow by writing, “The shadow attendant on Madame Defarge and her party seemed then to fall, threatening and dark, on both the mother and the child” (Dickens 207). This shadow belongs to Madame Defarge, who is very intimidating to Lucie because of her confidence and ruthlessness. Lucie is also frightened by the mysterious dark shadow she casts. Her shadow is cast on other people by everyone’s oblivion to the strong power that she holds over everyone, through her mysterious comments, and through her remorseless attitude when she registers them on her hit list. Lorry remarks after Madame Defarge’s visit to him and the Manettes, “I am not thankless, I hope, but that dreadful woman seems to throw a shadow on me and on all my hopes” (208). From this, readers understand that Madame Defarge is so evil that Lorry and other people can feel it when they are in her presence. Her shadow also has an emotional affect on others because she comes off as such a threatening person she crushes the hopes of characters, like she does to Mr. Lorry in this quote. Dickens th...

... middle of paper ...

...e meaning of this quote, which is saying that time flies by and there is nothing that can stop it or change anything along the way. The repetition of the mention of fountains enforced the idea of fate very well.
Dickens brings the novel to life by expressing the theme fate through several symbols, which are the shadow, knitting, and fountains. His powerful usage of symbols helps tie in many different themes. All of the themes that he uses work very well together in making the plot more meaningful. A Tale of Two Cities is an excellent novel because Dickens was able to make the plot flow so well with his possession of such outstanding skills as a writer. His impressive ability to integrate themes in the novel through symbols calls for a smooth and meaningful read.

Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Dover Thrift ed. N.p.: Dover, 1999.
Print.
Open Document