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Some men are engraved eternally in the hearts and minds of those he inspired. It is done so in a fashion that allows his name to live eternally, long after his ephemeral existence. However, what truly sets a man apart from his lesser counterparts is his willingness to give without taking. Indeed, the pioneer aviator and author Anne Morrow Lindbergh puts it best when she says, “to give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own” In Charles Dickens’s A Tale of two Cities , Dickens shows the inherent goodness of his characters . By exemplifying various acts of sacrifice, he demonstrates the character’s gifts ultimately bring about great change, often changes that facilitate the revival of their loved ones.
The very first signs of sacrifice are noted in the opening scenes of the book. Dickens writes of a “fated revolution” by metaphorically comparing the woodsman and the forester to the creation of the guillotine. Dickens notes that in the midst of a revolution, heavy bloodshed must be made in order to achieve the vengeance that the peasants desire. Though the peasants were originally people of good faith, they were forced by the aristocratic government to take drastic actions. Poverty, the mother of all crimes, along with the aristocrats “crushing of humanity out of shape once more” gave the peasants no choice.” Dickens conveys here that because of the negligence of the government, the people were forced to sacrifice their good nature and engage in the violent acts that caused a time of great animosity and dejection.
Sacrifices are often made to strengthen bonds, and no other bond in the novel is stronger than the one that Lucie Mannette shares with her father , Dr. Manette. Indeed, Lucy has gone to great lengths to ensure that their bond stays strong. In the opening chapters of the novel, Lucie, in hopes that her pleas can cure her father’s insanity, devotes herself to Dr. Manette wholeheartedly, disregarding any personal desires of her own. She promises her father that if, “ ..I hint to you of a home there is before us, I will be true to you with all my duty.” (46) Lucie’s undying devotion to her father is a clear example of how one person’s sacrifice can inspire life in another.
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As Dr. Manette slowly recovers his sanity, he too, makes bold sacrifices for his beloved daughter. On one occasion, Mr. Jarvis Lowry, trusted friend of Dr. Manette, asked for his permission to destroy the shoe-making tools. Though reluctant to part ways with the tools that serve as his security blanket, Dr. Manette declared that, “in [Lucie’s] name, then, let it be done; I sanction it.” (207). However, this was not his only gift to his daughter. It was in perhaps the most audacious acts of sacrifice that Dr. Manette allowed the nephew of his enemy, Charles Darnay to marry his beloved daughter. Though at times Darnay’s resemblance to the Marquis St.Evermonde still brings horrors to the countenance of Dr. Manette, Dr. Manette is able to view the world with a brighter outlook. As he explains to Lucie , “ my future is far brighter , seen through your marriage, than it could have been –nay, than it ever was without it.”(189) Through the sacrifices of both Dr. Manette and Lucie, it is evident that small acts of giving can, in turn, bring about happiness and revival in a form much greater than expected.
Dr. Manette is not the only one who looks out after Lucie. Miss Pross, diligent servant of the Manettes , has been looking after Lucie ever since Lucie was eight years old. Her willingness to protect and serve her “ladybird” ultimately ensures the group’s safe arrival in England. In Miss Pross’ epic battle against Madame Defarge, she willingly put her life at stake to defend those she loved. In the struggle between Madame Defarge and Miss Pross, which can be characterized as a battle between the forces of good and evil, Defarge was killed by an accidental gunshot. Though Miss Pross’ valiant effort was triumphant, she lost her hearing because of the gun. As they prepared to leave, Mr. Cruncher concluded that,” [Miss Pross] will never hear anything else in this world.” (376). Her unwavering loyalty to the Manettes resulted in the potential revival of the Darnays, as the successful escape granted them a chance at new life. Dickens uses this scene to again show how an act of loyalty or sacrifice, will never go unnoticed.
Though many in this story have shown acts of compassion through their sacrifices, no person has sacrificed more than Sydney Carton. But in order to truly measure the impact of his offering, we must examine eventful life. Mr. Carton was, at a young age, a promising and brilliant child. However, the death of his parents quickly shattered his life. Dickens describe him as a, “man of good abilities and good emotions” but was “incapable of his own help and happiness” (92). Though much of his brilliance had continued with him onto adulthood, he had become a drunkard who describes himself as person who, “cares for no man on earth and no man care for” (85) . However, after revealing his love for Lucie, he is determined to protect her and the ones she love. He declared to Lucie that he was a man who would,” give his life to keep a life you loved besides you.” (155). In the last few moments of his life, he again said the same words to Lucie. As he was about to leave Lucie’s residence he bent down and murmured something in her ear. It was said that ,” the child nearest to him told her grandchildren when she was a handsome old lady that [Carton] had said “a life you love” .” (341). At that point, Carton had decided that his sacrifice would not only revive the life of Darnay, but also his own. Dickens notes that though Carton” was a tired man who had wandered and struggled and got lost , [he] was determined to stick to the road and see it to its end” (318). Carton eventually disguises himself as Darnay and takes the burden of Darnay’s death sentence. As he awaits his execution, he begins to contemplate the impact in which his actions might bring about. He sees,” a beautiful city, and a brilliant people rising from this abyss.” (381). Throughout the novel, Dickens repeatedly compares Carton’s sacrifice to Christ , largely due to the fact that in Carton’s death he created life. Carton sees , “ that child who bore my name, winning his way up in that path of life that was once mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious by the light of his.” His sacrifice brought resurrection in both metaphorical and literal forms. He revived himself, through the future accomplishments of “the boy who bore his name” , and revived Darnay by taking his place. In short, Carton’s action accomplished nothing short of what he had perceived he would do. With his last breath he recalled to himself a that , “ it’s a far ,far better thing that I do than I have ever done. It’s a far far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” (382).
Indeed it was, Mr. Carton, indeed it was.
Through the actions of Dickens’ characters, he demonstrates that even a small act of sacrifice can bring about immense change in another person’s life. Sydney Carton offers the gift of a lifetime, by sacrificing his life, and in turn, has guaranteed the survival of many. With his heroic actions, Sydney Catron elucidates that with every sacrifice made; the kind gesture is rewarded in some way. When a part of a soul is willingly given up for the purpose of sacrifice, it immediately fills the vacancy within another man. Indeed, it is these compassionate gestures that allow the world to function properly. It was theses simple but profound actions that allowed Carton to see the beauty and purpose of his life. It was these undaunted statements that brought an end to the horrors of the revolution. It was these gestures, the ones done without any reward or notice, which impel us to hold men like Carton, dear to our hearts.
NOTE: There are numerous gramatical mistakes and two or threee sentences in which i omitted words by accident. Please make changes accordingly.