Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities

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Frightening horror movies often illustrate disturbing scenes of removing corpses from the ground; and some religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, strongly believe in reincarnation. Imagining digging up bodies or getting recreated may seem unusual, but the act of resurrection happens frequently in Charles Dickens’ famous novel, A Tale of Two Cities. The novel revolves around the settings of both England and France during the unorganized, chaotic years leading up to the French Revolution. It also follows a story of the lives of several characters and families as they struggle to continue living with the harmful effects of government corruption. The prevalence of resurrection throughout the novel undeniably adds to the story’s elements of foreshadowing and symbolism. Resurrection is reflected during various incidents in several different characters, including Jerry Cruncher, Dr. Manette, and both Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. The first occurrence happens when the book introduces Jerry Cruncher.

Cruncher’s grave-robbing incidents directly exemplify the theme of resurrection. He literally raises corpses from the dead; thus, he holds the name of a “resurrection-man.” He executes this activity nightly, in order to make money by selling the dead bodies to scientists that use them to perform research on the body parts and anatomy of humans. These events get foreshadowed earlier in the book. In the initial stages of the story, Cruncher delivers a message to Jarvis Lorry. Lorry tells Jerry to send this message back: “recalled to life” (14). As Cruncher mounts his horse and rides away, he ponders Lorry’s response. He utters to himself, “‘Recalled to life.’ That’s a Blazing strange message. Much of that wouldn’t do for you, Jerry! ...

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...g a child who will bear Sydney’s name. Clearly, the final events of the novel tremendously depict resurrection.

The theme of resurrection contributes to foreshadowing and symbolism throughout the epic story. Starting with Jerry Cruncher, the novel describes a man who undertakes grave-robbing as a nightly custom, showing a literal action of resurrection which has been earlier predicted. In addition, Dr. Manette, Lucie’s father, portrays symbolism by drastically transforming from a lifeless old man to a stronger charisma. Finally, during the last scenes of the novel, resurrection occurs in both Carton and Darnay; Darnay getting saved, and Carton sacrificing himself. Although many Middle-Eastern cultures believe in reincarnation through spirit, and horror films depict supernatural rebirths, Charles Dickens shows that this idea can repeatedly happen during one’s life.
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