In "A Tale of Two Cities" what are the greatest similarities and differences of parallel or recurring events?"A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Charles Dickens's classic, "A Tale of Two Cities," is a novel of many parallels: characters, motifs, themes, events. 

Here are some similarities: 

  1. In the earlier chapters Charles Darnay is put on trial for treason in London; later, under his real surname of Evremonde he is recalled to be tried for the same offence in Paris.
  2. The witness against him is John Barsard in London; later in Paris this same man is involved in Darnay's imprisonment there.
  3. One Sunday when Carton visits in London, Lucie claims that she hears many echoing footsteps.  In Book the Second after she and her husband and little Lucie arrive in Paris, she again hears these echoing footsteps.
  4. Mr. Lorry works at Tellson's bank which is described as a prison:  young men come there to work and enter into the dark passages with creaking doors, and they leave old men; in Book the Second, Chapter 24 Tellson's is alluded to as the "penitential dungeon."  Dr. Manette, of the same age as Mr. Lorry, also has spent the better part of his life working in prison.
  5. While Manette is figuratively "resurrected" from the dead--recalled to life, as Mr. Lorry says--Jerry Cruncher calls himself a "resurrection man" as he robs graves and sells the corpses.
  6. Sydney Carton resembles Darnay enough to get the charges against Darnay removed in his early trial; in the Paris prison, Carton's resemblance to Darnay is sufficient to have Darnay's place at the guillotine be taken by Carton.
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A Tale of Two Cities

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