A Tale of Two Cities Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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What is the meaning of the term "recalled to life" in A Tale of Two Cities?

The phrase "recalled to life" within A Tale of Two Cities refers to the physical liberation of Dr. Manette from the Bastille and the spiritual awakening of Sydney Carton when he falls in love with Lucy. 

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I must say, due to mwestwood's exquisite answer, there is not too much to add; however, I can give a couple different tidbits.  Of course, the term "recalled to life" is the carrier's, Jerry Cruncher's, message during his return on horseback from the Dover stage.  Jerry's message reaches Jarvis Lorry right before he heads to France and is kind of a secret message.

The message is truly a mystery to Lorry.  Even Jerry thinks it is a "strange message."  It is only the reader that truly understands it and how it connects to "Mam-selle" at Dover.  It is about Manette's rescue from his imprisonment at the Bastille.  When he was let go, Manette was in poor condition, and his release gives him a new lease on life (especially to live in peace with his daughter, Lucie).

In conclusion, it is important to note that this message of "recalled to life" introduces one of the main themes of the novel:  the dual nature of the body and the spirit.  Note how Manette is bodily "recalled to life" from the Bastille after many years.  Further, Sydney Carton is spiritually "recalled to life."  He goes from a being a person of ill-repute (a simple barrister) to an upstanding citizen when he falls in love with Lucie Manette.  This is proven when Sydney sacrifices his own life.

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"Recalled to Life" is the return message that Jerry Cruncher, the carrier on horseback, returns with from the Dover stage one foggy night. On this stage is Mr. Lowry of Tellson's Bank, a representative who sojourns to Paris, but he has been told to "wait at Dover for Mam'selle." Jerry's urgent message reaches Mr. Lowry just before he embarks upon the boat to Calais, France, across the English Channel from which he will again take a coach.

It is a mysterious message, indeed, that Mr. Lorry gives Jerry to carry back to the bank--"recalled to Life," and he puzzles over its import as he rides back...

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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