In A Tale of Two Cities, what is foreshadowed in Book II, Chapters 17 - 24?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You have picked a large selection of chapters to focus on. Of course, Dickens, as a master of his art, includes lots of foreshadowing in his novels, and this novel is no exception. To me, one of the biggest examples of foreshadowing occurs in Chapter 21, which is entitled "Echoing Footsteps". This is a motif that occurs throughout the novel but it is also used to foreshadow the Revolution in France and the ensuing violence. Referring to a long list of the different echoes of footsteps of those who enter and leave their family life, suddenly the tone changes as a more ominous echo is heard:

But, there were other echoes, from a distance, that rumbled menacingly in the corner all through this space of time. And it was now, about little Lucie's sixth birthday, that they began to have an awful sound, as of a great storm in France with a dreadful sea rising.

Of course, this foreshadows the terrifying sea imagery that Dickens uses later on in this Chapter to characterise the uprising and the storm of the Bastille. Note the irony before the action shifts to France, when Mr. Lorry says of the echoes that Lucie hears:

"They are very numerous and very loud, though, are they not? Only hear them!"

Lorry treats the echoes that Lucie hears as a "fancy", yet even he cannot ignore the echoes of action that is far off, yet in Book III will impact and rush into their lives and threaten their domestic stability.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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