Winning critical acclaim, A Tale of Two Cities occupies a central place in the cannon of Charles Dickens’ work. A Tale of Two Cities, published in serial form starting on April 30, 1859, is a historical fiction novel. A dominant theme in this historical novel is the duality found in many of Dickens’ characters. Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is somewhat autobiographical; emphasizes the key elements of theme, plot, and character; and has received extensive criticism.
A Tale of Two Cities is told in three parts and takes place in England and France before and during the French Revolution. The novel starts with the well known opening, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The action begins with Mr. Jarvis Lorry, and elderly manager at Tellson’s Bank, meeting a lady named Lucie Manette, and together they find Dr. Alexandre Manette, Ms. Manette’s father, who has lost his memory and spends his time making shoes. Five years later in a courtroom there is a French nobleman named Charles Darnay who has been accused of being a spy, Sydney Carton, and English barrister points out how similar he and Darnay are in appearance, proving that a case could be made for mistaken identity. Later in the story, Darnay and Carton both fall in love with Lucie, who chooses Darnay. Revolution breaks out in France, and Darnay leaves his wife and daughter to try to save his captured steward, Gabelle. In the end, Darnay is caught and arrested twice as a foreigner and later for the crimes of his noble family, the cruel Evremondes. Fortunately for Darnay, Carton heroically saves him by disguising himself as Darnay in prison, ultimately dying by the guillotine, all for his love of Lucie (Dickens 1-528).
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England (Borowitz). His father was John Dickens and his mother was Elizabeth Dickens. Charles is the second child of eight children and had a pleasant childhood (Telgen). This pleasant part of his life was filled with book and play, which Charles loved to reenact his favorite characters (Borowitz). Charles’ father fell under debt when the family was moved to London. Sadly this is when Charles’ life became less pleasant (Telgen).
Charles Dickens was originally home schooled, and later attended a Dame School and Wellington Academy in London (Borowitz). In between attending a Dame School and Wellington Academy in London, Charles had to work (Shmoop Editorial Team). Since his father was in debt Charles worked at a bootleg factory, here he labeled bottles. He loathed his job. What made it worst was that his sister Frances was allowed to continue to study at Royal Academy of Music, and received much recognition (Telgen).
After Charles left his job, and returned to school, he often found himself reading extensively at the British Museum. Charles was at the top of his class, and started up his writing career with “penny-a-line stuff.” He then got work as an office boy, and soon excelled in his literature. He...