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In the novel A Tale of Two Cities there were three strands of people: the
Manettes, the Everemonds and the revolutionists. These three strands became
critically entangled at one point in the book. Everyone of the strands became
involved when Charles Darnay was found guilty at his trial and sentenced to death.
Charles was currently involved with the Manette family when the revolutionists
imprisoned him for being an Evremonde. Of course there were many events
leading up to Darnay’s conviction.
The first event occurred when Dr. Manette was locked up in the Bastille by the
Evremonde family. He was called upon to care for Madame Defarge’s sister and
brother, but when they died he was imprisoned so he could not tell anyone of their
murder. Madame Defarge became very angry with the loss of her family and
planned revenge against all the Evremondes. Dr. Manette stayed in the Bastille for
eighteen years. During his time in there he wrote a diary of what went on. He also
lost his identity and became a shoe cobbler. When he finally got out of prison he
had no recollection of his early life.
The second event was when Charles Darnay asked to marry Lucie Manette.
Dr. Manette, who had be reunited with his daughter, saw no problem with the
marriage until Charles revealed his real identity to everyone on the wedding day.
Charles’s last name was really Evremonde. His father was the man who put Dr.
Manette in the Bastille for all those years. Manette forgave Charles because he was
not like his evil father or his uncle, the Marquis St. Evremonde. Charles and Lucie
got married as they planned to.
The last event occurred when Madame Defarge planned revenge against all
the Evremondes. She was a revolutionist and knitted a list of names for her people to
murder. Charles Darnay was added when she found out his real identity as an
Evremonde. Also the names of his wife, Lucie Manette, and his newly born
daughter, Little Lucie, were added to her murder list. Charles and his family were
now in the middle of the three strands differences.
Charles Dickens showed the relationship between the Evremondes, the
Manettes and the revolutionists all through the one character, Charles Darnay. He
was closely related to all these groups in many ways. Each part of the story was
connected and related to each other so without the three events leading up to
Darnay’s trial, the outcome of the story would of been different.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of
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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--in short, the period was so far like the present
period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil,
in the superlative degree of comparison only.
This was the opening paragraph to A Tale of Two Cities. It had a great deal of
contrast within it. Every sentence that Dickens wrote, he went back and contradicted
himself on it. It became a very well known paragraph with many readers. Charles
also contrasted his characters, settings, ideas and the moods in the novel.
Dickens said it was the best of times and it was the worst of times. So which
one was it? It was both, clearly depending on which group you were in at that time.
It was the best of times for the revolutionists. They got to rebel against the aristocrats
like they planned to do while getting revenge on the people they disliked. It was the
worst of times for the Evremondes. They got murdered for things that they did in the
past years. The Manettes were having good times and bad times both. They just got
mixed up in the middle of all the confusion.
Charles Dickens also contrasted his characters. Two men, Sydney Carton and
Charles Darnay, resembled each other a whole lot. However, their personalities and
attitudes contrasted very much. Sydney was a sensitive and caring man, where
Charles was a self-centered and passive man. How could these two men that looked
so much a like be so different? Also, Lucie Manette and Miss Pross contrasted in the
novel. These two women spent so much time together. Miss Pross raised Lucie from
childhood but yet she grew up with a completely different personality.
Without all the contrast in A Tale of Two Cities the story would of been very
dull. Charles did a good job writing the story to contrast the two countries of
England and France, but at the same time he showed how they went through some of
the same problems.