How do Jerry Cruncher and Sydney Carton connect elements of the plot and prepare for the conclusion?
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
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By the conclusion of A Tale of Two Cities, subplots integrate with the main plot in a nearly unbelievable way. Two of these subplots that infuse themselves with the main plot of Sydney Carton's final act of heroism are Jerry Cruncher's night occupation as a Resurrection Man and Carton's manipulation of the duplicitous Solomon Pross/John Basard.
In Book the Third, Chapter VIII, Jerry accompanies Miss Pross as she shops for groceries; while out Miss Pross recognizes her brother Solomon and calls to him. Upon seeing him, Jerry blanches as though having seen a ghost. He ask Solomon if his name is John Solomon or Solomon John, but he knows he is a John from "over the water" in England. Coincidentally, Sydney Carton walks up and pronounces the man's name as Basard, whom he calls "a Sheep of the Prisons," the "cant word" for spy.
Now, since Dr. Manette has failed to procure Charles Darnay's release from prison, Carton offers to play "the losing hand" for Basard. Proceeding to "play his Aces," Carton tells Basard that he will denounce him to the nearest Section Committee as the spy that gleaned information in the Defarge wine-shop, first as an English spy, then as a spy for the bonnets rouges, the revolutionaries. Playing another "Ace," Carton tells Basard that he has been seen in the company of the English spy Roger Cly, so he is still working for and against his employers. Basard denies his complicity with Cly because Roger Cly is dead and he has the death certificate to prove this statement. At this point, Jerry Cruncher interjects,
"So you put him in his coffin?"
"Who took him out of it?"
As Basard stumbles backward, Jerry contends that he and two others know that there was no one in the coffin of Roger Cly. Of course, Sydney Carton perceives the advantage that he has,
"A plot in the prisons, of the foreigner against the Republic. A strong card--a certain Guillotine card!"
Realizing he has failed in his deceptions, the Sheep of the prisons asks Sydney Carton what he wants him to do. Carton first asks the spy if he does not have access to the prison as a turnkey; then, he tells Basard that they will go into a dark room and speak in private.
Preparing for future chapters, Sydney Carton's conversation with John Barsard secures Carton's entry into the prison so that he can enact his brave sacrifice. In addition, his exposure of the duplicity of Basard suggests that retribution will be demanded of the double-spy by the revolutionaries against whom he has committed acts of betrayal. Certainly, Jerry Cruncher and Carton both expose the worthlessness of her brother to Miss Pross, who is thus strengthened in her resolve to save Lucie from the evil Madame Defarge.
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