Chapter 1 of Book the 2nd in A Tales of Two Cities is a typical of Dicken's style: discuss his use of figures of speech, sentence construction, irony.Must discuss his style in detail and must...

Chapter 1 of Book the 2nd in A Tales of Two Cities is a typical of Dicken's style: discuss his use of figures of speech, sentence construction, irony.

Must discuss his style in detail and must refer to the following uses.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens paints with his sentences; for, he uses long sweeping strokes of his brush--excessively verbose phrases and sentences in imitation of the long-winded lawyers such as C. J. Stryver, and short strokes of his literary brush to emphasize movement, as in his swift description of the beginning of the French Revolution:

Deep ditches, double drawbridge, massive stone walls, eight great towers, cannon, muskets, fire and smoke....

Certainly, Dickens's repeated words and phrases create a dominance of an idea on his literary canvas, lending emphasis to that idea. At the beginning of Chapter I of Book the Second, for instance, Dickens writes that Tellson's Bank is old-fashioned twice.  Then, he repeats the word very four times in one sentence, and the word proud four times in the following sentence which also contains parallelism with its phrasing:

 TELLSON’S BANK BY Temple Bar was an old-fashioned place, even in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty. It was very small, very dark, very ugly, very incommodious. It was an old-fashioned place, moreover, in the moral attribute that the partners in the House were proud of its smallness, proud of its darkness, proud of its ugliness, proud of its incommodiousness.

Later, Dickens satirizes this pride in Tellson's antiquated characteristics with parallels to the false pride in England for its antiquated laws by writing,

Any one of these partners would have disinherited his son on the question of rebuilding Tellson’s. In this respect the House was much on a par with the Country; which did very often disinherit its sons for suggesting improvements in laws and customs that had long been highly objectionable, but were only the more respectable.

Then, with characteristic metaphor and ironic humor, Dickens writes that Tellson's Bank "was the triumphant perfection of inconvenience."  His humorous description rather darkly compares the bank to a prison with the young man coming into Tellson's London house being hidden

somewhere until he was old. They kept him in a dark place, like a cheese, until he had the full Tellson flavour and blue-mould upon him.  Then only was he permitted to be seen, spectacularly oring over large books, and casting his breeches and gaiters into the general weight of the establishment.

Towards the latter part of the chapter, Dickens employs comic relief in the description of Mr. Cruncher and his "private lodging" at Whitefriars, "not...a savory neighbourhood."  Enhancing the comic relief, Dickens has Jerry lying under a patchwork blanket, "like a Harlequin at home."  Using rather elevated prose to emphasize the contrast of Jerry's brutal behavior, however, Dickens writes,

After hailing the morn with this second salutation, he threw a boot at the woman as a third. 

The doppelganger motif is also in this chapter as little Jerrry mirrors his father by sitting on the stool outside Tellson's, excited when he is given an errand, pointing to the doubles that exist in the novel as well as the motif of the rigidity of social class.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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