What does Mr. Lorry dream about in the first chapter of A Tale of Two Cities, and what is its significance?

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Michael Foster | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Mr. Lorry is on his way to meet Lucie Manette and to accompany her to France to meet the father she thought was dead. He sends a message back to Tellson’s Bank (where he is a bank manager) that says simply, “Recalled to Life.” This message of resurrection leads to his dreaming of a disembodied voice speaking to him. Mr. Lorry asks him how long he has been “buried” (meaning, imprisoned in the Bastille), and the voice (Doctor Manette) replies that it has been eighteen years. He had given up hope of being dug out. When Mr. Lorry asks him if he cares to live, Doctor Manette says that he cannot say. Mr. Lorry asks if he would like to see “her” (meaning his daughter, Lucie). Doctor Manette does not answer. This conversation is repeated several times, always with the theme of being dug out of his grave and recalled to life. It is probable that this is not simply a dream but a remembrance of the real conversation that Mr. Lorry had with Doctor Manette when the latter was finally released from the Bastille.