What are some good modern day connections to Chapters IX to XII, Book the Second, in A Tale of Two Cities?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To aid you on your way, as the text you mention is extensive, one connection made between the modern day and Book the Second, Chapter IX of A Tale of Two Cities concerns imprisonment in foreign nations or in nations to which an expatriate may be repatriated, if even temporarily. There are many reports of individuals from one nation being imprisoned and punished (sometimes even to the death) in foreign nations.

In II.ix, Charles Darnay, the nephew of Monsieur the Marquis, returns by stealth to France to pay a visit to his uncle, whom he deeply distrusts, to try to find means to redress some of the wrong his noble family had done throughout the ages:

"[I am] bound to a system that is frightful to me, responsible for it, but powerless in it; seeking to execute the last request of my dear mother's lips, and obey the last look of my dear mother's eyes, which implored me to have mercy and to redress; ...." (Darnay, II.ix)

By returning to France to try redress ancient wrong (though ongoing in the person of the Marquis) and to avert present wrong, Darnay put himself in danger of being captured, imprisoned and potentially executed by the revolutionary forces of France.

In II.x, Darnay illustrates the life of a political refugee that constitutes another apt connection from the story to the modern day. Many political refugees arrive on English and American (and other Western country) shores to seek asylum from persecution, imprisonment and death. Very often, they are taken in and accepted after which they make contented lives for themselves as expatriated exiles.

In II.xii, the topics of banking and marriage are central to the situation and to the conversation between Stryver and Lorry. Though the particulars of the chapter are very specific to the story (though undoubtedly repeated in varying forms in the modern day), the topics are very relevant to the modern day.

With the advent of global concerns for human rights, spurred to the foreground by the involvement of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the internal financial affairs of developing countries, much attention is being paid to arranged marriage, most particularly child marriages, and to gross inequities in marriage, such as in countries where married women must be veiled. In this general topical regard, II.xii connects to the modern day in that a topic of concern in the nineteenth century--marriage--is a topic of concern in the twenty-first century.

In addition, though the topic of banks in only brought out by the setting, as Lorry works at Tellson's Bank, banks are very much a modern day concern. Banks are a serious topic in the modern day because of:

  • bank failures and closures and Federal Reserve Bank interventions.
  • manipulative mortgage offerings that resulted in mass foreclosures of price-inflated private residences.
  • manipulation of the economy by banks through offering derivative investments formed by bundling and selling bad mortgages.
  • government bailouts followed by unscrupulous monetary rewards paid to bank executives.
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A Tale of Two Cities

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