Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dichotomy with in Tales of Two Cities.

Dickens is trying to get us to relate to his characters by using contrast and dichotomies in their nature to bring to life the humanity in them. The definition of a dichotomy is the stark contrast between two related ideas. Secrecy and truth illustrate such a literary device. Early on in chapter three, we learn about how Dickens sets the mood. "...every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other." Contrasting with secrecy, truth floods from Jarvis Lorry to Miss Manette when talking about her supposedly deceased father, "But he has been- been found. He is alive. Greatly changed, it is too probable; almost a wreck, it is possible; though we will hope the best." A truth revealed after 17 years of a girls life as well as an offer of hope to a girl who previously thought she was orphaned. Such is a dichotomy of secrecy and truth.

These chapters showed me a spectrum of human emotions and reactions. With varying levels of the different dichotomies, such being truth vs secrecy, fear versus hope and wealth versus crippling poverty, Dickens is able to characterize almost every major player. Dickens shows, not tells. Many of the actions up until now have gone with the conflicting moods. The aforementioned contrast between secrecy and truth with Jarvis Lorry brought him to life. From his fear of the others and his own secrecy, we can tell he is a man that is normally kept to himself. His encounter with the rider demonstrated his secrecy. Speaking in code makes one think that there is something afoot that may have sinister implications. His speech to Miss Manette gives another impression. This is one of dedication to his work, empathy to the young ladies emotions and sympathy for her reaction to the news.

By far, the dichotomies and contrasts that will be seen in the book are located on page one, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of dispair, 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...". Dickens, through these contrasts allows me relate to the characters by employing human reactions in them. I believe he intended for the book to be about strong contrast. The beginning of the story confirmed this for me.   

1 comment:

  1. Nice job, Charlie. I particularly like how you tied things back to the first chapter of the book (even though we didn't officially read it).

    You may want to check out Tori's blog from my period 6 class. She also wrote about chapter 1.