With which side of the revolution does Dickens side?

Asked on by malx4life

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think it's a testament to Dickens' style and insight to not make any quick or arbitrary judgments when it comes to the French Revolution.  He is able to depict the aristocracy as guilty of rapes, violations of the public trust, outward cruelty, and the most intense of disrespect to its people.  Yet, he is also able to depict the revolutionaries as possessing a blood lust that is limitless, complete with bizarre dances and an almost orgasmic release at the guillotine and the abuse (once again) of public trust.  I think that Dickens' ambiguity with whom he "sides" helps to bring out a statement about the French Revolution's failure to understand that the spirit in declaring and obtaining independence and the need to maintain it are two different realities.  Within both different realities, different skill sets are required.  Dickens' notes this in his depiction of both pre and post French Revolution reality.  In it, we see a strong statement about political history in the work of a literature.

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