How do the Defarges manipulate the mender of roads in the Versailles scene?Book the second chapters 10-16

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The mender of roads is a simple peasant who gets involved in the revolution almost by accident when he notices a man hanging off the carriage of the Marquis.  The Defarges treat him well because they want his information.

The Defarges pretend to be interested in what the mender of roads’s needs. 

“My wife,” said Defarge aloud, addressing Madame Defarge‚ “I have travelled certain leagues with this good mender of roads, called Jacques. I met him—by accident—a day and half’s journey out of Paris. He is a good child, this mender of roads, called Jacques. Give him to drink, my wife!” (ch 15, p. 107)

The mender of roads is only respected and well-treated because he has information the Defarges want.  If he did not have such an incredible story to tell, he would not likely have been important.

He described it as if he were there, and it was evident that he saw it vividly; perhaps he had not seen much in his life. (ch 15, p. 109)

Clearly, the mender of roads enjoys feeling needed and having people listen to him.  They do not see him as an equal.

Defarge and the three glanced darkly at one another. The looks of all of them were dark, repressed, and revengeful, as they listened to the countryman’s story; the manner of all of them, while it was secret, was authoritative too. (p. 109)

They ask him a series of questions to make sure his information fits their needs.


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