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A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

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What are examples of class disparity in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens?

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A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is a novel that contrasts the disparity between the rich and poor classes.

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A juxtaposition of the scene of the wine spilling in Saint Antoine in Book the First, Chapter V, with that of the monseigneur having his morining chocolate in Book the Second, Chapter VII, certainly exposes the disparity between the aristocracy and the poor.  For, when a wine casket overturns into...

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the street, the ravenous and desperate citizens of Saint Antoine suspend what they are doing and run to where the wine runs down the street.

Some men knelled down, made scoops of their two hands joined, and sipped, or tried to help women, sho bent over their shoulders, to sip, before the wine had all run out between their fingers.  Others...dipped in the puddles with little mugs of mutilated earthenware, or even with handerschiefs...squeezed dry into infants' mouths....

But, the Monseigneur, "one of the great lords in power at the Court," needs four strong men to assist him as he "takes his chocolate."

One lacquey carried the chocolate-pot into the sacred presence; a second, milled and frothed the chocolate with the little instrument he bore for that function; a third, presented the favoured napkin; a fourth...poured the chocolate out.

Rather than the crude street of dirt and grime as the receptacle for his drink, the Monseigneur rests in an inner room of a grand hotel in Paris. Moreover, his rooms are adorned with every touch of decoration and comfort that could be achieved at the time. Outside his rooms await people unconnected with anything that is real:  "exquisite" gentlemen of great breeding, "unbelieving philosophers," and "unbelieving chemists" described further by Dickens as the "leprosy of unreality." Indeed, this scene of wealth and decadence of thought is in sharp contrast to the earthy and destitute inhabitants outside the wine shop.

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