Reading a great work of fiction is a rare privilege, and it is getting rarer all the time. It is beginning a conversation with a great mind that has contemplated the human condition in a creative and entertaining way–an artistic way. I get a kick out of discussing this material with my students, probably even more of a kick than they will EVER get out of it.
Here is today’s list of theses, and I suspect we can all think of ways to help each other in our areas of endeavor. I can’t wait to read these papers:
In A Tale of Two Cities Dickens uses the obvious and subtle differences between rich and poor to reveal the corruption and violence created by an unjust system.
In A Tale of Two Cities Dickens uses a set of obvious and hidden mirrored characters and places to illuminate why two similar cultures have divergent political destinies.
In A Tale of Two Cities Dickens chooses to emphasize both historical events and myths of the period to provide a greater verisimilitude than scholarly history can.
Throughout A Tale of Two Cities, three weddings provide a lens through which Dickens reveals the corrupting and edifying character of love.
In A Tale of Two Cities three female characters embody Dickens’ sense of the feminine mystique.
In A Tale of Two Cities Dickens presents the levels of cruelty humans can and will indulge when given the opportunity and the motivation to be cruel.
This is what I call fun. It works because it is difficult AND it is a pleasure.
“No man ever really loved a woman, lost her, and knew her with a blameless though an unchanged mind, when she was a wife and mother, but her children had a strange sympathy with him–an instinctive delicacy of pity for him” (Dickens 219).
SPOILER ALERT! It’s interesting you found this. In the end, he marries someone else. 🙂
“Hunger was pushed out of the tall houses, in wretched clothing that hung upon poles and lines; Hunger was patched into them with straw and rag and wood and paper; Hunger was repeated in every fragment of the small modicum of firewood that the man sawed off; Hunger stared down from the smokeless chimneys, and started up from the filthy street that had no offal, among its refuse, of anything to eat” (Dickens 40). As compared to “It took four men, all ablaze with gorgeous decoration, and the Chief of them unable to exist with fewer than two gold watches in his pocket, emulative of the noble and chaste fashion set by Monseigneur, to conduct the happy chocolate to Monseigneur’s lips” (Dickens 109).