A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Powerful Essays
To most, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is that book about the poor people and the French Revolution that isn’t Les Miserables where he ravages the rich people, calling them “tigerish,” (Dickens 33) following the lord “ignorancem” (Dickens 33) and saying that they “held life as of no account,” (Dickens 221) right? Wrong. Yes, A Tale of Two Cities is a book by Dickens mostly about the poor people and the French Revolution (that isn’t Les Miserables) wherein he makes metaphorically eviscerates the rich people, but these are all references to the poor, the downtrodden, the little guy, in short, the people we and Dickens are supposed to root for. Dickens, for a genuine friend of the poor, as shown in his books A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist, and as someone who wrote to the masses, disparages the poor quite a bit in A Tale of Two Cities. In the words of Frederick Busch “[Dickens] fears revolution, … the downtrodden in revolt become, to Dickens, downright revolting.” It is not that the gentry in A Tale of Two Cities are the protagonists; rather, that the poor are antagonists as well. To sum, when blood rains from the sky, no one’s hands are clean.
There is the need to point out that, yes, the aristocracy is evil; there exists little dispute of that, but it bears repeating. Since Dickens is fond of representative characters, look at Marquis Evrémonde. When the Marquis is introduced, he is described “with a face like a fine mask.” (Dickens 114) Then, after enjoying “the common people … barely escaping from being run down,” (Dickens 114) he runs over a kid, hereafter referred to as “the bundle.” (Dickens 115) He then adds egregious insult to grievous injury by asking if his horses are okay and remarking, “...

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... assault with a deadly weapon, concealment of a gun without a permit, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, solicitation to commit a crime, and suicide. She makes the Marquis look like a protagonist by comparison. She is an extraordinarily clear statement on Dickens’ feelings on revolt. He finds it revolting.
Dickens is a friend to the poor, right? Would a friend describe their friend as inanimate objects? Would he describe them as animals, as ogreish, or as an elemental force of destruction? Dickens creates two characters who represent the small folk of two countries, one, Mme. Defarge, is pure evil, and the other, Jerry Cruncher, is unobjectionable at best. He doesn’t exactly love the rich either. Dickens is no friend to the poor, though most people think that, like G. K. Chesterton, Dickens is a “spokesman for the poor” Dickens is a friend of the people.
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