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How does this passage tie to a theme from A Tale of Two Cities? Quote: I see a...

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horsielovr1234 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:11 PM via web

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How does this passage tie to a theme from A Tale of Two Cities?

Quote: I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out. I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light his. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 1, 2013 at 8:50 PM (Answer #1)

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This passage relates to the theme of resurrection and renewal.

Your passage is the very end of the book.  This is Sydney Carton’s final thoughts as he was about to die.  Although he does not actually say these things, they are suggestions to what he might have said.

If he had given any utterance to his, and they were prophetic, they would have been these… (Book 2, Chapter XV, p. 241)

Carton has made an interesting journey over the course of the book.  He was a drunkard, and though he was brilliant he was also pathetic.  He let Stryver take all of the credit for his work.  He let Darnay have Lucie. He hung around the Manette house almost like a stalker.  Yet love for Lucie changed him.  He became more self-confident, and more serious.

This speech does more than resurrect Carton as Darnay.  He gives Darnay a new life, making amends for the wrongs he has done and simultaneously freeing Darnay from his own past.  Yet he also renews the Manette family as a whole.  He saves them all.

Carton sees signs of renewal as he looks into the future.  He can imagine that the innocent will be redeemed, and the guilty punished.  France will survive.  In fact, it will be resurrected stronger and better, with its bloody past behind it.

Resurrection and renewal progress through the book in different forms.  We have the farcical, false resurrection of Jerry Cruncher, and the heartfelt resurrection of Jarvis Lorry and Sydney Carton.  Even Lucie grows stronger.  Everyone gets a new start, largely due to Sydney Carton.

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