A Tale of Two Cities Book the Third, Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis

Charles Dickens

Book the Third, Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis

Summary:

Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher run their errands around Saint Antoine, completely ignorant of Charles Darnay’s arrest. They stop at a shop for wine. While they drink, Miss Pross suddenly screams; her brother, Solomon, has appeared, and he is disguised as a French republican. Solomon angrily attempts to quiet her. Jerry Cruncher, meanwhile, is certain he has seen Solomon before but cannot recall where. Sydney Carton suddenly emerges, reminding Cruncher that Solomon was the “unimpeachable patriot” who appeared as John Barsad during Charles Darnay’s trial in England. Carton arrived in Paris the day before and happened to both recognize Barsad and learn that he has been serving as a French government spy in the prisons. Carton, Jerry Cruncher, and Barsad walk to Tellson’s Bank, leaving Miss Pross to return to Dr. Manette and Lucie. After Lorry confirms Solomon’s identity, Carton blackmails Solomon into helping him with a plan to rescue Charles Darnay. Carton threatens to reveal Solomon as a French government spy and a former spy for England, adding that he observed Solomon consorting with Roger Cly (another English spy). Solomon informs Carton that Cly is dead and produces a certificate of burial as proof. At that moment, however, Jerry Cruncher insists that Cly is not dead; he (Jerry) discovered that Cly’s coffin was filled with “paving-stones and earth.” Solomon yields to Carton’s demands, and the two enter into a separate room to talk privately.

Analysis:

The theme of resurrection resurfaces in full force when Miss Pross identifies Barsad as her long-lost brother, Solomon. First, Solomon, who works as a spy under the guise of “Barsad,” risks a reverse resurrection when his sister voices his true name. Instead of being “recalled” to his old life, Solomon will be executed at the hands of the revolutionaries if they learn that he is a spy for the French government. Sydney Carton, who makes a sudden and convenient reappearance in the wine shop, understands this and uses it to facilitate a nearly literal resurrection by blackmailing Solomon into helping him rescue the doomed Charles Darnay. We can begin to surmise the specifics of Carton’s plan, given both his professed loyalty to Lucie and his prior wish to “switch places” with Darnay (though, undoubtedly, under different circumstances).