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A/L English Literature Made Easy - Novel :

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

Chapter 8 - Monseigneur in the country

The scene in which the Marquis comes to his mansion is picturesquely presented. In the contrasting picture of the chateau and the poor condition of the village. The village church, windmill and the prison are prominent features.

The starving villagers flocking round the carriage and road-mender informing the Marquis about a man hiding under the Marquis' carriage clinging on to it and he jumped off and ran away. That is another poignant scene. The Marquis asked the Postmaster Gabelle to arrest the man not paying heed to all the requests made by the poor, helpless village folk. Monseiur Charles has not arrived yet.

The description of the countryside, the poverty stricken people and the roadmender's latest news of the man who escaped emphasises the trauma experienced by the poor.

Chapter 9 - The Gorgon's Head

Most of the things and the house itself of the Marquis were all made of stone and epitomize a Gorgon's Head. When Charles Darnay arrived, the Marquis wanted to know whether he knew a doctor and his daughter and having got a positive reply from Darnay the Marquis went to bed but never to get up alive.

A knife had run through his heart and there was a note visible on the handle of the knife. "Drive him fast to his tomb" from Jaques. The result of the indifference shown at the killing of Gaspard's child signalling the arrival of the French Revolution.

Chapter 10 - Two promises

Chales Darnay establishing himself as a teacher and a translator of French helping the undergraduates. Having exposed his extreme love for Lucy Manette to her father Dr. Manette and promising to keep the father and daughter together thus wins the favour of Dr. Manette. The ironic situation here is that Dr. Manette's going to have relationship with a family he detested.

Chapter 11 - A

Mr. Stryver hoping to marry Miss Lucie Manette urges Carton to marry a landlady who could look after him, being aware of Carton's 'Superior legal mind' and his help essential for Mr. Stryver. But Carton is aware of Stryver's attitudes.

 

In chapter 10 Darnay telling Dr. Manette about Lucie and in chapter eleven Mr. Stryver and Carton touching on the same topic. Darnay's behaviour and attitudes anticipating in a timid manner, with consideration for the persons concerned, Stryver presumes that he is doing a favour to Lucie Manette by making his proposal.

Chapter 12 - The fellow of delicacy

Sydney Carton promptly declares his love for Lucie and requests her to keep it a secret saying that he would even sacrifice his own life for her or for any other person dear and near to her. The irony is Stryver saying that Carton is sans the 'Delicacy of feeling'. But Carton's love remains sincere to the end.

The title itself is significant and ironical. It seems to be a sarcastic statement made by Stryver at Carton, for he thought and imagined high of himself and his status.

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