Book the First Q's

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  1. Chapter 1...1. The first sentence in this novel is one of the most famous first lines in English literature. How is it and the paragraph that follows an example of parallelism?
    In the 1st paragraph, Dickens explores the antithesis of the defining characteristics of pre-revolutionary France. He then uses a parallel form to to indicate the similarities between the French and English Nobility.

    • Chapter 1...2. What does Dickens establish with his list of parallel contrasts?
    • He establishes that the era was not just one of contradictions, but that they were extreme in their degree. He also alludes to the fact that every period shares these same contradictions, and that it is a part of human nature.
  2. Chapter 1...3. What is Dickens’ apparent opinion of the list of complaints that the Continental Congress of 1775 sent to Parliament?
    Dickens is referring to the list of demands sent by early Americans just before their decision to rebel again English rule over America. Dickens declares that the complaints “…have proved more important to the human race than any communication yet received through any of the chickens of the Cock-lane brood.” The comparison seems to indicate he recognizes that the document is important, but that they are not noticed by those whose attention is focused on the messages rapped out by a ghost.
  3. Chapter 1...4. What allusions does Dickens make to the approaching French Revolution?
    Dickens refers to the Woodman, Fate, sawing boards to build a guillotine (the preferred method for killing the aristocracy during the revolution). He also refers to the Farmer, Death, with carts ready to shift from carrying manure, to carrying people to prison, and to their death. Finally, there are descriptions of musketeers firing on the mob, and the mob firing on the musketeers, which mirrors the mob, versus authority that is the central conflict in the French Revolution.
  4. Chapter 1...5. What is foreshadowed in Dickens’ beginning this novel with a description of the period?
    Dickens is creating a context that explains the conflicts and connects the events to the coming bloodbath of the French Revolution, and similar potential conflicts in later ages that grapple with similar contexts.
  5. Chapter 1...6. Find a quotation which shows that Dickens does not approve of capital punishment as a deterrent to crime.
  6. Chapter 1...7. What evidence is there in the last paragraph of this first chapter that Dickens believes in fate?
  7. Chapter 2...1. How does Dickens begin his actual story?
    Dickens begins the story with a description of the Dover Road, and the arduous challenge of slogging through the mud, the horses struggling, and the forlorn, and dangerous nature of traveling in England at the time.
  8. Chapter 2...2. Briefly identify Mr. Lorry and Jerry. What does the answer “recalled to life” suggest to the reader about the nature of Mr. Lorry’s business in Dover?
    Mr. Lorry is one of the passengers on the Mail coach. He works for Tellson’s bank, and is on his way to Paris on business. Jerry comes to stop the coach in order to give a message to Mr. Lorry. He is confused by the reply he is instructed to take back: “RECALLED TO LIFE.” Jerry indicates that he would “be in a blazing bad way, if recalling to life was to come into fashion.” Mr. Lorry, on the other hand, is dreaming that he is literally digging a man out of a grave so that he may be “recalled to life.” It suggests that he will be restoring someone to a life they once had.
  9. Chapter 2...3. What does Dickens achieve by his reference to The Captain and the fear and distrust of the travelers?
    The Captain is a tradesman by day who takes on the persona of “The Captain” at night in order to waylay (and kill) his fellow tradesmen. By referencing him, Dickens drives home the point that fear and distrust is the norm in England at this time. The neigbor you thought you knew could be a murderer, and no one is to be trusted.
  10. Chapter 2...4. What form of narration is used in the following quotation? What are the advantages of this type of narration for the author? “Jerry, left alone in the mist and darkness, dismounted meanwhile, not only to ease his spent horse, but to wipe the mud from his face.”
    • Chapter 3: The Night Shadows...1. Why does Dickens switch narration in the first paragraph of this chapter? What effect does Dickens achieve with his occasional lapses in narration?
    • “I” is an unidentified observer, who lends an educated, and thoughtful voice to fully exress the universal quality of the solitary nature of the characters we have been introduced to thus far. Lorry, sitting in a coach with 3 other passengers is living in his own head, 1st, dwelling on the bank, which is his life. He then begins dreaming about his task of calling back to life, a man removed from the world for almost 18 years. Dickens also foreshadows the coming bloodbath in France with references to the metaphorical death (distance, inaccessibility) of loved ones.
  11. Chapter 3: The Night Shadows...2. Briefly describe the first dream Mr. Lorry has on the Dover mail.
    Lorry dreams of Tellson’s bank, imagining. Elements of his physical surroundings take on qualities of that familiar place. The clinking of harnesses became the clinking of money etc. Lorry is checking on the strong rooms, and ensuring their safety, giving the reader insights into his character. He then drifts into a dream in which he is digging someone out of the earth, someone who is recalled to life, though he is not certain his actions will have a positive result.
  12. Chapter 3: The Night Shadows...3. Consider the message Mr. Lorry sends with Jerry Cruncher. What is revealed by the imaginary conversation Lorry keeps repeating in his mind?
    Mr. Lorry sends the message “recalled to life,” with Jerry Cruncher. As he travels to Dover, he holds an imaginary conversation with the mysterious apparition, which mirrors the literal details of his task. He imagines a multitude of expressions that could be a part of being removed from one’s life (buried 18 years). Lorry imagines the different reactions one might have toward seeing one’s daughter for the first time in many years, after a separation marked by a terrible isolation. Then he imagines the apparition responding to the query “I hope you care to live” with “I can’t say,” further considering the challenges of returning to a life and facing the “almost 18 years” missed. He must be considering if bringing him back will be in anyone’s best interests.

    • Chapter 4: The Preparation...1. Many critics believe the character of Lucie Manette represents Charles Dickens’ ideal woman. Briefly describe Lucie and list the qualities she possesses that might make her Dickens’ ideal woman.
    • Emotional, intellectual, has nobody to take care of her, beautiful, young, thing, blonde, pretty, also pleasant, polite, fair, dainty, faints easily, airy, English, weak (needs a man).
  13. Chapter 4: The Preparation...2. What connection did Mr. Lorry have to Miss Manette when she was a small child?
    He was the one who brought her across the English channel to England when she was orphaned as a small child.

    • Chapter 4: The Preparation...3. What has Mr. Lorry told Lucie in order to get her to go to Paris with him?
    • He tells her that her father, whom her mother had said was dead, was alive.
  14. Chapter 4: The Preparation...4. What hints are there in this chapter that Mr. Lorry’s secret mission resurrects some issues from his own past?
    Lorry’s compassion for Lucie, his distress at her distress, his intimate knowledge of what happened to her mother all indicate that the task is emotionally challenging for him, but he will follow through even though it is made clear that the estate of Dr. Manette was very small. This is also important when you consider that there are dangers attached to the task (he is traveling without “credentials, entries, and memoranda” that are a big part of the “business” he finds so comforting.
  15. Chapter 4: The Preparation...5. What are the blank forms for consignment mentioned in this chapter? How do they contribute to Mr. Lorry’s need for secrecy and his use of the code “Recalled to Life”?
    It is a form that an aristocrat could file against a person, consigning them to prison for as long as they liked with no hope of a trial, or opportunity to defend oneself.
  16. Chapter 4: The Preparation...6. How do Dickens’ characters conform to the literary conventions of his day?
    The characters are all archetypal. Dickens uses their physical appearance, occupations, and social standing to help define them. Most are fairly flat in that they represent a type, rather than being complex, individuals as we see in contemporary literature.
  17. Chapter 4: The Preparation...7. Support or refute the following statement: The wild-looking woman who comes to Lucie’s aid is a caricature of a loyal British servant.
  18. Chapter 5: The Wine-Shop... 1. What do you think the spilled wine foreshadows in this chapter?
    The wine spilled in the streets most clearly represents the blood that will be spilled in the coming revolution. It soaks the street, and stains the hands and faces of the people reveling in the fortunate spilling of the liquid. The images are reminiscent of animals rather than humans. They are reacting to the desperation of their situation and lose their humanity in the process.
  19. Chapter 5: The Wine-Shop... 2. What effect does Dickens achieve with personification in this chapter?
    The most effective use of personification is when the author personifies hunger. “It stared down from smokeless (fireless, foodless) chimneys, and up from filthy streets picked clean of every bit of edible trash, helping the reader gain a sense of the desperate lives of the people suffering in France.
  20. Chapter 5: The Wine-Shop... 3. Briefly describe the wine shop owner. What does the following passage from this chapter say about the character of the wine shop owner?
    • “…a man of a strong resolution, and a set purpose; a man not desirable to be met
    • rushing down a narrow pass with a gulf on either side, for nothing would turn the man.”
  21. Chapter 5: The Wine-Shop... 4. What does the following passage from this chapter say about the character of Madame Defarge?
    “…one might have predicated that she did not often make mistakes against herself in
    any of the reckonings over which she presided.”
    Stubborn, strong, immovable, resolute, determined, undeterred, large and mean looking, but has “good humor,” aka nice….
  22. Chapter 5: The Wine-Shop... 5. What information about Lucie’s father’s state of mind is revealed to Mr. Lorry during the climb up the five flights of stairs to Dr. Manette’s room?
    Mr. DeFarge lets lorry and Lucie know that Dr. Manette is always alone, that he is greatly changed, and that he has to have the doors locked because his long interment has left him scarred to the point where he would hurt himself if a door were left open.
  23. Chapter 5: The Wine-Shop... 6. What is implied by the way the Defarges call the men “Jacques”?
    They are not all really named Jacques. They share the pseudonym in order to identify themselves to other members of their group (revolutionaries). Monsieur DeFarge’s name is Jacques. This may indicate that he is a leader in the resistance

    • Chapter 6: The Shoemaker... 1. What makes the faintness of the Shoemaker’s voice so horrible?
    • He is only in his early to mid forties. He has recently been freed from a horrific imprisonment, and one might expect he would be encouraged and energized by the change. It brings to mind the horrible nature of what has been done, and his lack of opportunity to speak over the long incarceration. It shows just how profoundly being locked up has damaged him.
  24. Chapter 6: The Shoemaker... 2. What is significant about the Shoemaker’s name?
    It is his cell number and the address of the Bastille. It is the fact that DeFarge himself offers this information rather than his name that is profoundly sad. He no longer sees his own humanity because it has been so long since anyone else acknowledged it.
  25. Chapter 6: The Shoemaker... 3. What detail finally begins to bring the Shoemaker to his senses?
    It was Lucie’s hair because it matches a lock of blond hair he kept in a scrap of rag he kept around his neck. Thee hairs belonged to lucie’s mother and so he is briefly reminded of her until he rationalizes that she is too young to be his wife.
  26. Chapter 6: The Shoemaker... 4. How does Lucie begin to meet stereotypical expectations of an ideal woman?
    She is beautiful, submissive, inspires the best in those she meets. She understands her place and does not seek to change it. She is innocent, and seemingly intouched by the negative events that surround her.
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Book the First Q's
Book the First Q's
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