Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Cities Read-along Check-in #2

The second half of Book Two brought some clarity, but more questions, too.  Here are some thoughts that I wrote in my book:

One year passes, and Darnay teaches French in London.  He likes to work!  He loves Lucie and asks Mr. Manette for her hand in marriage.  He wanted to tell Mr. Manette about his past, but Manette said no.

Carton reveals to Lucie his feelings in a strange way.  He longs to be reborn and tells Lucie she inspires him to want to be a better man.

A funeral procession for Roger Cly (a spy?) while crowds follow causing chaos and riots.

Cruncher meets with Izaak Walton and another man to head to graveyard.  Something bad happened? Young Jerry saw everything.  * What is the significance of a "resurrection man?"

Mrs. Defarge is always knitting (a secret coded record of those to be killed.)

The Four Jacques
* Who is "Jacques?"  Are all spies named Jacques?  Jacques equals revolutionary.

* Why is John Barsad important?  The description of his appearance reminds me a lot like the description of a shield - you know, like blazonry.
"Age, about forty years; height, about five feet nine; black hair; complexion dark; generally, rather handsome visage; eyes dark, face thin, long, and sallow; nose aquiline, but not straight, having a peculiar inclination towards the left cheek; expression, therefore, sinister!"
* Gaspard executed for murdering Monsieur the Marquis.

* Little Lucie spoke both French and English (the Two Cities blended in her life).

* What about these echoes in Lucie's life?

* Darnay decides to take a risk and heads to France to help his old, trusted servant Gabelle who has been accused of treason.

This is all that I am going to write about for this second check-in.  After this read-along is complete next week, I will wrap up my review; I plan to write about why Charles Dickens is an author I appreciate very much.  


  1. A resurrection man dug fresh bodies out of graves and sold them to medical students for dissection. A serious crime, but a lucrative one. Families who could afford it would hire a watchman to hang around for a few days and make sure the grave was safe, but watchmen could be bribed.

    1. Thanks, Jean. I figured that he was called that b/c he "resurrected" these bodies from the graves for medical purposes; however, I was wondering if there was more to this "resurrection man" business that was significant to the story. (At the beginning, there was the "recalled to life" message.) So I did some research last night and found nothing so far.

  2. I remember being struck by the descriptions of Tellson's Bank. Dickens used lots of personification, almost as if the bank was an entity itself.

    Just like your feeling that "resurrection man" is symbolic of something else (BTW, I think you're on to something), I also felt that Mr. Lorry continually being described as a man of "business" also meant something else. Dickens really beat the term to death describing Lorry in this manner, and I felt there was something more to it than what was on the surface. I never did come up with anything clever, though. Did it strike you too, Ruth? If so, any thoughts?

    1. Yes - Mr. Lorry was always a "man of business," and Cruncher is doing "honest work," or something like that. If they say it so often, there has to be something more to it, right? But I cannot figure it out, yet.