Resurrection In A Tale Of Two Cities

1048 words - 4 pages

Frightening horror movies often illustrate disturbing scenes of removing corpses from the ground; and some religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, strongly believe in reincarnation. Imagining digging up bodies or getting recreated may seem unusual, but the act of resurrection happens frequently in Charles Dickens’ famous novel, A Tale of Two Cities. The novel revolves around the settings of both England and France during the unorganized, chaotic years leading up to the French Revolution. It also follows a story of the lives of several characters and families as they struggle to continue living with the harmful effects of government corruption. The prevalence of resurrection throughout the novel undeniably adds to the story’s elements of foreshadowing and symbolism. Resurrection is reflected during various incidents in several different characters, including Jerry Cruncher, Dr. Manette, and both Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. The first occurrence happens when the book introduces Jerry Cruncher.
Cruncher’s grave-robbing incidents directly exemplify the theme of resurrection. He literally raises corpses from the dead; thus, he holds the name of a “resurrection-man.” He executes this activity nightly, in order to make money by selling the dead bodies to scientists that use them to perform research on the body parts and anatomy of humans. These events get foreshadowed earlier in the book. In the initial stages of the story, Cruncher delivers a message to Jarvis Lorry. Lorry tells Jerry to send this message back: “recalled to life” (14). As Cruncher mounts his horse and rides away, he ponders Lorry’s response. He utters to himself, “‘Recalled to life.’ That’s a Blazing strange message. Much of that wouldn’t do for you, Jerry! I say, Jerry! You’d be in a Blazing bad way, if recalling to life was to come into fashion, Jerry!” (15). His comments state that he thinks coming back from the dead only represents strange ideas, and it would be very peculiar if people start rising from the dead. Also, these remarks are subject to foreshadowing because Dickens’ emphasizes them by them occurring at the end of the chapter. Readers remember parts of the story more easily at the end of a chapter, because it happens last in a section of a book. Later in the story, Cruncher actually begins to commit his grave-robbing incidents. While Jerry Cruncher portrays a more literal, physical form of resurrection, Dr. Manette experiences mental resurrection.
Dr. Manette, Lucie’s long lost father, undergoes a few psychological rebirths throughout the story. In Manette’s younger years, he gets placed in the Bastille, a large French prison, for eighteen long years. As his dark days in prison go on, his physical condition weakens, but more importantly, his mind deteriorates from the effects of prison. To pass the time, the mentally numb man designs and makes shoes at his beloved workbench. After his eighteen years end, the French government releases Manette from Bastille...

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