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A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

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In A Tale of Two Cities, Book 2, why does Sydney Carton love Lucie?

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In a modern movie entitled, As Good as It Gets, like Helen Hunt's character, Lucie Manette inspires Sydney Carton to "bee a better person."  Fair and delicate, like the maids of Camelot, pretty Lucie inspires the dissipated man to become someone better. So inspired by this fair maiden is Sydney that he tells her he is willing to die for her if doing so will ensure her happiness, for sacrificing himself will give his sad life meaning.

In addition to inspiring Sydney to become a better person, Lucie represents the concept of virtue by Dickens as an inactive quality, much like the Calvinist notion of "grace" as something God-given and unattainable.  As Lucie suffers passively and bears up under the threats against her family, Carton falls more in love with her, hoping to redeem his sins and the dissolute life he has through a spiritual resurrection. 

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