Concept Paper

1455 words - 6 pages

A revolution is the radical and pervasive alteration in a society’s political or social structure. Often accompanied by violence, a revolution sparks hatred, vengeance, and bloodshed. A prominent example of a passionate, brutal revolution in the history of mankind is the gory revolution of France. The most popular novelist during the Victorian era, Charles Dickens, creates a novel titled A Tale of Two Cities that details a fictional situation that occurs around the French Revolution period. Through the utilization of harsh symbolism that portrays the instigation of the French Revolution, Dickens cautions the English government of his time period to refrain from continuing with the ...view middle of the document...

” (B2, C5, P2) The blood-like wine that poured out onto the streets of Paris foreshadows the bloodshed bound to happen afterwards. To demonstrate further the correlation between the wine and the people’s suffering, Charles Dickens continues, :The hands of the man who sawed the wood left red marks on the billets’ and the forehead of the woman who nursed her baby, was stained with the stain of the old rag she wound about her head again.” (B2, C5, P2) The stains of the win on the people symbolize and foreshadow the intoxicating power the revolutionaries become addicted to. Being drunk on power, the freedom fighters evolve into wild, bloodthirsty savages. Also, Dickens refers to an Indian woman between the lines of the quote above. The red dot and rag are stereotypical qualities the English believed the Indians possessed. With this allusion Charles strives to convey the similarity between the conditions of prerevolutionary France and nineteenth century India. Another allusion is also hidden among the words. The blood red wine can be interpreted as the blood of Christ. Rather than having the pure quality of Christ, the revolution shifts to a brutal and unholy upheaval. However, only as a result of the excessive suffering did the savagery exist.
Though the suffering of the people was a prominent cause of the French Revolution, it was not the only cause. Injustice existed both dreadfully and excessively in the political structures of France over hundreds of years. In Dickens’ novel, certain instances of the lower class being mistreated represent progress towards the inevitable revolt. The author correlates the progress to footsteps, as seen in the sentence, “There was a great hurry in the streets of people speeding away to get shelter before the storm broke; the wonderful corner for echoes resounded with the echoes of footsteps coming and going, yet not a footstep was there.” (B2, C6, P8) The footsteps are a prominent symbol relating to the mistreatment of the poor. The first instance of mistreatment, the beginning of the footsteps, is detailed on the first page of the novel, “Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards.” (B1, C1, P1) Such a cruel and unnecessary punishment for a mere trivial crime would certainly enrage many. In addition to cruel punishment to common people, crimes by the wealthy were less likely to have such extreme consequences. To exemplify, Charles Dickens writes about an instance where an aristocrat ran over a young child, and the only justice that followed was that, “He threw out a gold coin for the valet to pick up, and all the heads craned forward that all eyes might look down at it as it fell.”...

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