illustration of a guillotine

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

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1. How is Lucie Manette the "golden thread" in the novel?

2. Why does Monsieur Defarge keep the door to Dr. Manette's room locked?

3. What causes the French mob to revolt? Do you think their actions are justified? How does Dickens feel about the revolutionary mob? How do you know?

4. How does Dickens use foreshadowing to prepare the reader for what will happen later in the novel? How does he foreshadow such important events as the revolution, Carton's final sacrifice, or the reemergence of Roger Cly?

5. In what way does Dr. Manette unintentionally testify against his son-in-law during Darnay's second French trial?

6. Why is Madame Defarge so intent on vengeance against Darnay and his family? What events lead up to her particular concern with him?

7. Contrast Miss Pross and Madame Defarge.

8. How does Carton persuade John Barsad to let him into Darnay's cell? What is Barsad's real name?

9. What coincidences do you find in the novel? Do they detract from the book's success?
10. Dickens is often described as a humorous writer. What humor do you find in A Tale of Two Cities? What does it add?

11. What symbols can you find in this novel? How do they help Dickens establish his themes?

12. Do you see any parallels between London and Paris? Why a tale of two cities?

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