Why does Mr. Manette keep repeating "105 North Tower" and what does it reveal about what he has experienced in A Tale of Two Cities?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dr. Alexandre Manette, one of the central characters in A Tale of Two Cities (in fact, the character who sets the story in motion and gives it the greatest opportunity for social examination), was arrested in Paris for trying to bring members of the St. Evermonde family to trial for crimes they had committed. It is interesting to note that in this name, Dickens has combined the word "saint," one of unquestionable goodness, with the English word "ever", meaning continuously or at all times, and the French word "monde" meaning world, suggesting that this family who had committed crimes for which Dr. Manette was willing to risk his freedom and happiness was absolute good at all times for the whole world. While Dr. Manette was imprisoned for eighteen years, he lost his sanity and, upon his release, was only able to remember and recite his prison cell identification: 105 North Tower...105 North Tower. This descriptive touch underscores that Dr. Manette was under horrible strain while imprisoned. After all, he had effectually abandoned his daughter by seeking justice and speaking up against the St. Evermondes, essentially sacrificing his daughter for an ideal that achieved nothing for anyone.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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