What happens in A Tale of Two Cities when a "young" man came to work at Tellson's?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A novel of dualities, Tellson's Bank has locations in both London and Paris. In addition, its London location symbolizes the rigidity of social class in England and is, of course, the object of satire for Dickens as he humorously draws parallels between this old institution and the other institution of the prison, which he brutally satirizes often.

But indeed, at that time, putting to Death was a recipe much in vogue with all trades and professions, and not least of all with Tellson's....

Cramped in all kinds of dim cupboards and hutches at Tellson's the oldest of men carried on the business gravely.  When they took a young man into Tellson's London House, they hid him somehwere till he was old.  They kept him in a dark place, like a cheese, until he had the full Tellson flavour and blue-mould upon him.

It is only once he becomes aged that the man is allowed to be seen by the public. With spectacles and "breeches and gaiters," this old man can be seen pouring over books and moving about the institution. Indeed, Tellson's is an old-fashioned place, run by old-fashioned men who are proud of the lack of light, the lack of room, and the lack of embellishment. In fact, the bank is not dissimilar to Newgate Prison with his iron bars and heavily shadowed areas that are small and confining. When customers enter they are put into "a species of Condemned Hold at the back." And, the young man who enters the bank and leaves as an old man, is much like one who serves a long sentence in prison.


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A Tale of Two Cities

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