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Analysis

Literary Devices in A Tale of Two Cities

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Dickens isn’t exactly placing this metaphor delicately into his readers’ hands. He’s shoving it down our throats. If you missed the part where he warns us that blood will soon spi...

Setting

OK, this is a huge one. You can probably guess from the title of this novel (that’s A Tale of Two Cities, in case you’ve forgotten) that the actual events occurring in the cities might...

Narrator Point of View

Dickens likes to play the Voice of God. His narrator tends to know it all. Not in a bad way – it’s more like the voice of your favorite high school teacher and Oprah all rolled into one...

Genre

Well, A Tale of Two Cities is largely a tale of the French Revolution. That’s about as historical as you can get. Here’s the difference between "history" and "historical fiction," though: histo...

Tone

Enthralled by Thomas Carlyle’s History of the French Revolution, Dickens decided to try his hand at historical fiction. It wasn’t something that he often did. In fact, A Tale of Two Cit...

Writing Style

Charles Dickens is the King of Style. We’ll say that again: when it comes to style, Charles Dickens is the King. He’s the grand-daddy of all great fiction writers. The best stylist you&...

What’s Up With the Title?

Dickens is a master of self-descriptive titles. David Copperfield is about a little boy named David Copperfield. Oliver Twist is about a little boy named Oliver Twist. Little Dorrit is about a litt...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

Hmm…let’s talk about the author’s note instead, shall we?Good ol’ Charles Dickens. He always tries to make his readers feel like his pals. Maybe that’s why he remained...

What’s Up With the Ending?

Well, Sydney Carton dies. In fact, Sydney Carton and fifty-one other people die. In our first up-close encounter with la guillotine, we get front-row seats as hoards of "patriots" flock to the exec...

Plot Analysis

Released from prison in France, Doctor Manette starts a new life in England.Falsely imprisoned for almost two decades, the good doctor emerges from prison a broken man. With the help of his old ser...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Overcoming the Monster

We see the consequences of injustice through the character of Dr. Manette. The poor are treated horribly in France.OK, here’s the deal: there’s no actual monster in this novel. No Godzilla. Not...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Dickens makes this easy for us. He divides the novel into three sections. The first is "Recalled to Life." In it, Dr. Manette is…recalled to life. He’s released from prison and is cared...

Trivia

Think Dickens invented his accounts of the English court system? Think again:The Victorian Web includes a page with contemporary accounts of the Victorian court system. Here’s a sample: "That...

Steaminess Rating

Everything’s honorable and above-board in this novel, folks. After all, Dickens was a family man. He wrote family stories. Whole families used to get together to read the newest edition of hi...

Allusions

The Bible (3.9.89)Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution (note to the reader)Wilkie Collins, The Frozen Deep (note to the reader)French RevolutionThe Storming of the BastilleNone. Sorry, guys. This...
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