What does the answer "recalled to life" suggest to the reader about the nature of Mr. Lorry's business in Dover in A Tale of Two Cities?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The phrase “recalled to life” indicates that Mr. Lorry is bringing someone back from the dead.

Mr. Lorry is taking the Dover Mail on a special mission.  He works for Tellson’s Bank, but this is not exactly a banker’s duty that he is doing.  He is serving as a messenger. 

‘Wait at Dover for Mam’selle.’ It’s not long, you see, guard. Jerry, say that my answer was, RECALLED TO LIFE.” (Book 1, Ch. 2)

Jarvis Lorry was on the Dover Mail carriage that day because he went to Paris to visit a prisoner named Dr. Manette.  Dr. Manette was held prisoner in the Bastille for 18 years, but Jarvis Lorry had visited him, and new that he was alive.  Since Dr. Manette was alive, but had just been found, and just gotten out of prison, the message was “recalled to life,” which basically means that he was brought back from the dead. 

Jerry Cruncher, the messenger (jack of all trades) thinks that is a strange message.  It really is a strange message.  There is a revolution going on!  You cannot write in your message something specific, like, “Dr. Manette just got out of the Bastille and I found him alive, Yeah!”  You have to be more discrete than that.  You never know who might be watching.  Dr. Manette’s life is in danger.  He is in bad shape.  It is best that no one know.

In fact, Jarvis Lorry is worried about him.  You can tell this from the dream he has, where he takes his own metaphor and brings it to life.

“Buried how long?”

The answer was always the same: “Almost eighteen years.”

“You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?” (Book 1, Ch. 3)

In a way, Dr. Manette has been buried.  He has been locked away in a prison, where no one knew if he was alive or dead.  He does not even know his own daughter.  Jarvis Lorry is worried about how he will react to getting out.  He is worried about the man’s mental state.  As you will see, he is right to be worried.  The man practically is a ghost.

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