Honors English 9
12 January 2016
Symbols, Symbols, and Even More Symbols!
In Charles Dickens’ French Revolution era novel, A Tale of Two Cities, symbolism is a prominent literary device used to enhance this already thought provoking piece of English literature. Using symbols adds layers of insight into the author’s mind about how he or she views everyday objects further in depth than the ordinary individual. Symbols such as the broken wine cask, Madame Defarge knitting, and the Marquis are exceptional examples of symbols foreshadowing the future events of the French Revolution found in this text.
The first scene depicting symbolism occurred in book one when there was a broken wine cask in the streets in front of the Defarges’ wine shop. Desperation and hunger are etched across the faces of the peasants in the streets who were lapping up the wine for themselves and their children. Peasants were described as, “ ...men and women, dipped in the puddles with little mugs of mutilated earthenware, or even with handkerchiefs from women’s heads, which were squeezed dry into infants’ mouths; others made small mud-embankments, to stem the wine as it ran; others, directed by lookers-on up at high windows, darted here and there, to cut off little streams of wine that started away in new directions. (32)” Also, the word “blood” was smeared across a wall with wine by a drunken man symbolizing the future blood shed during the revolution.
“Her knitting was before her, but she had laid it down to pick her teeth with a toothpick. (36)”, this is the introduction of Madame Defarge’s knitting “hobby.” At first, one would assume that Defarge’s knitting is a simple...