2 Answers | Add Yours
As the motif of grave threads through the narrative of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, Dr. Manette, Jarvis Lorry, and Charles Darnay are characters who help to explicate this motif. Overtly, Dr. Manette, One Hundred Five North Tower, is rescued from the Bastille as the French Revolution begins and "recalled to life" after eighteen long, lonely years of incarceration. Likewise, Jarvis Lorry, Dr. Manette's double, is brought back to a social life from the dark confines of Tellson's Bank, which Dickens likens to a prison; and, in the thinking of Dickens, prison was a grave. In Chapter One of Book the Second Dickens likens Tellson's Bank to Newgate prison:
After bursting open a door of idiotic obstinacy with a weak rattle in its throat, you feel into Tellson's down two steps, and came to your senses in a miserable little shop, with two little counters, where the oldes of men made your cheque shake as if the wind rustled it...[behind] their own iron bars proper, and the heavy shadow of Temple Bar....
But indeed, at that time, putting to Death was a recipe much in vogue with all trades and professions, and not least all with Tellson's....Accordingly, the forger was put to death; the utterer of a bad note ws put to Death....Thus, Tellson's, in its day, like greater places of business, its contemporaries, had taken so many lives, that, if the heads laid low before it had been ranged on Temple Bar....
Cramped in all kinds of dim cupboards and hutches at Tellson's, the oldest of men carried on the business gravely. When they took a young man into Tellson's London house, they hid him somewhere till he was old.
Mr. Lorry has been hidden and made an old man at Tellson's, but with his assignment to accompany Lucie to meet her father in Paris, he is brought into a social life, for he finds himself having to reassure her in a fatherly manner, even carrying her into the garret room where the former prisoner is stationed. After they return to London, Mr. Lorry visits the Manettes in Soho, where he is a friend to Dr. Manette and
the quiet street-corner was the sunny part of his life....he often walked out...with the Doctor and Lucie...on unfavourable Sundays, he was accustomed to be with them as the family friend, talking, reading, looking out of window, and generally getting through the day....
Again the motif of grave appears with the character of Charles Darnay who attempts to bury his surname of Evremonde in an effort to escape the infamy of this name. And, even while this name is yet buried, Darnay finds himself faced with the grave in a treason charge in Chapter Three of Book the Second. It is by means of his double that Dickens effects Darnay's release and Darnay is rescued from the grave. Then, when Darnay is charged by the French revolutionaries, Dr. Manette, who has become a hero to them, effects his release:
At every vote (the Jurymen voted aloud and individually), the populace set up a shout of applause. All the voices were in the prisoner's favour, and the President declared him [Darnay] free.
At this trial, Dr. Manette, too, is resurrected as a Frenchman of respectable station:
This new life of the Doctor's was an anxious life, no doubt; still, the sagacious Mr. Lorry saw that there was a new sustaining pride in it...
They put him into a great chair they had among them...In this car of triumph, not even the Doctor's entreaties could prevent his being carried to his home on men's shoulders....
Finally, of course, Darnay is saved from his third incarceration by the sacrifice of Sydney Carton, who tells the spy Basard that in his agreement to take Darnay's place, "Don't fear me. I will be true to the death."
In A Tale of Two Cities, two of the three characters you list most certainly can be said to literally have gotten a second chance at life. Dr. Manette was a prisoner of the Bastille, imprisoned secretly and unjustly. He easily could have died there virtually unnoticed and unremembered. Instead, the underground forces of the Revolution were able to whisk him away first to the home of Ernest Defarge and eventually to London with his daughter. You could use Jarvis Lorry's words "recalled to life" to prove this, certainly. To demonstrate that he not only regained his life but also regained his sanity, I might use this short phrase from his testimony at the trial of Charles Darnay: "a gracious God restored my faculties" (Book 2 chapter 3).
Charles is supposed to die twice in this novel, once when he was on trial for treason, where his life is spared with this line from the same book and chapter:
Hastily written on the paper was the word "ACQUITTED."
Charles was also supposed to be a victim of the guillotine during the Revolution. That doesn't happen, of course, as noted by the quiet seamstress who seems to be the only one who notices it's not really Charles in those last hours of his life.
"Are you dying for him?" she whispered.
The answer, of course, is yes. Charles's life is spared.
Jarvis Lorry is another matter altogether. He has been given a more figurative second chance at life. We have line after line in his initial meeting with Lucie where he calls himself a "business man" or a "man of business." Tellson's Bank had been his life, and when he wasreintroduced to the Manettes he discovered the joy and satisfaction of being connected to people he came to love as family. He cried at Lucie's wedding, he was instrumental at bring all the Darnays home from France, and he lived a long, productive life as part of this family.
We’ve answered 317,375 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question