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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Family

This is a novel about war. But it’s also a novel about devotion. How much will you sacrifice to ensure that your family survives? Can you shoulder the blame for the actions of the past? Even...

Warfare

The French Revolution. The Storming of the Bastille. The formation of the New Republic. Sound like multiple choice answers to your next history test? Well, yes. But they’re also all important...

Loyalty

War seems to test the limits of all sorts of ties. Loyalty to family, friends, and even the institutions in which you believe suddenly comes into question. Just how much are you willing to sacrific...

Suffering

If you’re looking for suffering, A Tale of Two Cities is the novel for you. The poor of England have it pretty bad. The poor of France have it really, really bad. There’s no food, the n...

Society and Class

In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens loves to demonstrate how rich the rich actually are. One guy even needs four servants (count them: FOUR) to make his hot chocolate every morning. It’s exactly...

Justice and Judgment

Dickens exploits the hypocrisies and idiosyncrasies of the justice system in A Tale of Two Cities. As French citizens take to the streets, demanding justice for themselves and their families, they...

Politics

When an entire country decides to revolt against the ruling class, a couple of conversations about politics are certainly going to have to happen along the way. Unfortunately, too much of what pass...

Morals and Ethics

Things aren’t always what they seem. Disreputable, lazy good-for-nothings turn out to be saviors. Righteous, justice-seeking people turn out to be bloodthirsty thugs. In other words, war tend...

Life, Consciousness, and Existence

Dickens the storyteller is closely linked to Dickens the philosopher. Sure, A Tale of Two Cities is a rollicking good story. More than that, though, it’s also a meditation on some of the most...
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