A Tale of Two Cities Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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Characterize the scene in which Dr. Manette meets Lucie in the attic room in A Tale of Two Cities

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Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator


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The reunion between Lucie and Dr. Manette is an emotional scene. Though Lucie does not remember her father, having been a young child when he was arrested, she is established in this scene as being a compassionate person. She weeps for Dr. Manette, not just because he is the father she never got to know as a girl, but because he is a human being in pain.

For his part, Manette is portrayed as traumatized. In his trauma, he has regressed to an almost childlike state and Lucie treats him as one might a frightened child. However, she has a healing influence as well, since he will slowly recover.

So this scene is a tender moment and an important one in terms of establishing Lucie and Manette's characterizations.

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Certainly, the reunion scene between Dr. Manette and Lucie has a sentimental quality to it; Dickens plays up the emotional side of the scene in Lucie's reaction to seeing her long-lost father:

"With the tears streaming down her face, she put her two hands to her lips, and kissed them to him; then clasped them on her breast, as if she laid his ruined head there" (Book 1, ch. 6).

Lucie's tender reaction to her father's ruined state brings a decidedly sentimental and emotional quality to the scene; when Mr. Lorry is more than a little perturbed at Dr. Manette's struggle to recall his past life, Lucie uses a gentle approach and kindness to help her father understand her connection to him.  She speaks to him softly and gathers him in her arms. Dickens characterizes Manette's reaction to her comfort as being extremely childlike.   Dr. Manette's weakened and confused mental state has resulted in their reunion being bittersweet, but it is Lucie's adept handling of the situation that helps the doctor slowly begin the process of being "recalled to life."

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