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A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities


by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities Life, Consciousness, and Existence Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Volume.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. (1.3.1)

In case we thought that Carton just happens to be a weird loner, Dickens takes care to remind us that his cynicism might just be a stark form of realism. None of us really knows much about anyone else.

Quote #2

In any of the burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them? (1.3.1)

Dickens emphasizes a sort of existential loneliness on two levels: we don’t understand the folks we know and love, and we’re also surrounded by communities and cities of strangers. How’s that for a warm and fuzzy feeling?

Quote #3

"I hope you care to be recalled to life?"

And the old answer:

"I can't say." (1.6.94-6)

Are there experiences that make life no longer worth living? Does unfair imprisonment eventually rob people of their humanity? These are serious questions, and Dickens doesn’t offer any easy answers.

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