What makes the voice of Dr. Manette pitiful and dreadful?  To what name does Dr. Manette answer? Why does he associate himself with that name?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Long unused to speech after his years imprisoned in the Bastille, Doctor Manette’s voice is rough and pathetic, almost apologetic for daring to speak. While he responds to Defarge’s questioning, he supplies only the most basic information. He has dissociated his personality from what he was before his imprisonment to that of a lowly shoemaker. His only identification of himself as to a name is “One Hundred and Five North Tower,” the cell in which he had been imprisoned. This is similar to the identification of Jews in concentration camps only by the numbers tattooed on their arms. Neither Defarge (his old servant) or Mr. Lorry is able to reach through this dissociation. Only his daughter Lucie and her resemblance to his long dead wife, begin to crack Doctor Manette’s wall of protection. He knows that it cannot be his wife, being aware of the passage of time and the likelihood of his wife’s death. Eventually, after his return to England, does he become aware of his surroundings and his identity, but there are long years of memory that he never regains.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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