illustration of a guillotine

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

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Book the Second, Chapters 1 and 2 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. How is Tellson’s Bank described at the beginning of the chapter?

2. What is the eighteenth century view of the death penalty in England?

3. Why does Jerry Cruncher call his wife “a conceited female,” and what is her reaction to this?

4. What is the significance of the striking physical resemblance between Jerry Cruncher and his son?

5. Why is there such a large crowd in the courtroom?

6. What does Jerry Cruncher ask the man who assumes that Darnay will be found guilty?

7. Why do all eyes in the courtroom turn to Lucie Manette?

8. How is Lucie Manette different from those around her in the courtroom?

9. How is this strength undermined?

10. On what suspenseful note does the chapter end?

1. Tellson’s Bank is an unchanging, old-fashioned place, proud of its dirtiness and ugliness.

2. The death penalty was in great use for even minor crimes.

3. He calls her conceited because he assumes that she thinks her prayers are worth something. She tells him that the prayers come from her heart, and that is all that they are worth.

4. This shows that young Jerry will probably end up just like his father, stuck rigidly in a low social class.

5. The crowd is large because many people wish to see a public execution.

6. He asks this man if he means “if” they find the defendant guilty. The man assures Cruncher that the jury will find him guilty.

7. All eyes turn to her because of the striking expression of fear and compassion on her face.

8. She is one of the few people in the courtroom who are able to feel pity for the prisoner.

9. Her moral strength is undermined by her physical weakness, shown by her need to cling to her father.

10. We learn that, although Lucie feels compassion for the prisoner, she is a witness against him.

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