From Chapters 17 and 24 in Book II of A Tale of Two Cities, what is the contrast between the scenes in London and in Paris?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In A Tale of Two Cities, Book II, Chapters 17 and 24, two very different tones prevail in the depictions of London and of Paris. Chapter 17 opens with a calm and tranquil reference to the risen moon over London, while Chapter 24 opens with rising fire and shaking earth in relation to Paris. London is quite and warm. People, even once imprisoned people, lie in peaceful sleep in happy determination for goodness in their present lives. They awaken to peaceful dawns. Paris is shaken, in metaphor, by an angry ocean the rises ever higher bringing terror and tempest. People who were once secure in privilege, wealth and power are scattered to foreign lands without home or means to live by. They find themselves unappreciated, unwanted, terrified and in danger of their lives, waking or sleeping.

One thing, however, ties the two cities together and that is the kindness and care of one person for another person. In London, Lucie swears her devotion to her father and he to her. The scattered refugees from Paris rely on Tellson's Bank as a connection to other refugees who had the foresight to save their wealth and therefore can share to help keep the less prepared French Monseigneurs alive. In other words, the two are tied together by people looking out for each other, finding ways to take care of each other and acting with kindness toward one another.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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