The opening paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities is one of the most famous in all of English literature. It is an example of parallelism, the repeated use of words, phrases, or sentences that have similar grammatical form. Analyze how Dickens uses parallelism to state themes that might be developed in the novel. Point out some examples from Book the First that continue the development of themes introduced in the opening paragraph. Remember to include page numbers as you cite the examples.

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The opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens may be some of the famous lines in English-language literature. The rhythm and parallel content and structure of the lines evokes many questions about the story to come and sets the stage for a tale of conflict and opposing perspectives.

The book begins:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Some of these pairs of descriptors seem to be impossible contrasts. How can...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 757 words.)

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