By James Weigel
Dickens' A story of 2 towns (Cliffs Notes)
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Extra info for Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities (Cliffs Notes)
However, the wedding takes place, the doctor gives the bride away, and Lucie and Charles go off on a two-week honeymoon alone, after which Dr. Manette will join the newlyweds for a two-week trip through Wales. Mr. Lorry and Miss Pross see the doctor home. He is withdrawn, and a short time afterward they find him totally absorbed in his cobbling. Mr. Lorry decides to keep this a secret and takes a leave of absence from Tellson's to stay with Manette. For nine days the cobbling continues, but on the tenth the doctor awakes fully recovered and unaware of what has happened in the interim.
In a very basic way A Tale of Two Cities is a fable about resurrection. And the central figure of the fable is Sydney Carton, who re-enacts figuratively the expiatory death of Christ. However, Dickens puts the Christian doctrine of salvation on a secular basis, leading not to an other-worldly Heaven but to the survival of Carton's friends and to the regeneration of society. These matters will be taken up more fully later on. At this point it is sufficient to note that in this book Dickens drew on a hope that is perennial, that is in fact necessary to the life of the spirit.
A Pickwick rage started, which assured Dickens' success. On the surface this novel is a series of sketches that are loosely held together by the adventures of Samuel Pickwick and Page 8 his friends. Yet there are certain basic themes that unify the novel: the celebration of travel, benevolence, youthfulness, friendship, and plenty; the contrast between the freedom of the open road and the constriction of Fleet Prison; the comic view of marriage; and the gradual revelation of Mr. Pickwick's endearing humanity.