In "A Tale of Two Cities", what does Madame Defarge say about dolls and birds?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Book the Second, Chapter 15, ('Still Kinitting') of "A Tale of Two Cities" Madame deFarge remarks at the chapter's conclustion,

'You have seen both dolls and birds to-day'...with a wave of her hand towards the place where they had last been apparent; 'now, go home!'

This remark is said by Mme. DeFarge "superciliously."  That is, she speaks with contempt and disdain because she thinks of the Evremonde family whose name she has entered into her knitting.  The Jacquerie has sat as a tribunal.  Now, Madame DeFarge tells the mender of roads that he will "shout and shed tears for anything, if it made a show and a noice."  He agrees.  Then, Mme. DeFarge remarks that if the mender of roads were show a flock of birds, unable to fly, he would strip them of their feathers.

'It is true' he replies.

Madame de Farge then says that he has seen both dolls and birds to-day, the dolls being the spies and the birds being unable to fly are the aristocratic families of those like the Evremondes from London.  All these she has entered into the registry.  Madame DeFarge knows that the mender of walls would love to prey upon the aristocrats.  The time is ripe for the revolution.  These metaphors are such that the peasants can understand.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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