Journal Assignment For A Tale Of Two Cities

Presentation on theme: "A Tale of Two Cities Background. The French & American Revolution Journal Assignment: – What do you know about the French Revolution? – What do you think."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Tale of Two Cities Background

2 The French & American Revolution Journal Assignment: – What do you know about the French Revolution? – What do you think you know about the French Revolution? – What do you know about the American Revolution? – What do you think you know about the American Revolution? You have three minutes; write as much as you can.

3 The French Revolution Lasted from 1789 to 1799, and effected all of Europe Introduced democracy but did not make the nation a democracy. Ended supreme rule by French kings and strengthened the middle class

4 Before The French Revolution French society consisted of three groups called estates – Clergy = first estate – Nobles = second state – Everyone else = third state Included peasants making so little that they could barely feed their families Working people of the cities Middle class: merchants, lawyers, and government officials

5 Before The French Revolution Ruled by absolute monarchy, the king had almost unlimited authority. – He governed by divine right—thought to come from God. – Groups of aristocrats in the parlements (high courts) were checks on the king Just before the revolution, French writers called philosophes and other philosophers raised new ideas about freedom. – Jean Jacques Rousseau suggested that the right to govern came from the people.

6 Before The French Revolution Meanwhile, a financial crisis developed: – Finance fighting the the Seven Years’ War (1756- 1763) – The Revolutionary War in America (1775-1783) By 1788, the government was almost bankrupt. The States-General opened on May 5, 1789 July 14, 1789 Parisians captured the Bastille

7 The National Assembly August 1789 – Decrees of August 4 – The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen Abolished some feudal des that peasants owed their landlords Abolished tax advantages of the clergy and nobles Abolished regional privileges Guaranteed the same basic rights to all citizens

8 The National Assembly Later drafted a constitution that made France a limited monarchy with a one-house legislature Divided into 83 regions called departments, each with elected councils for local government Right to vote limited to citizens who paid a certain amount of taxes.

9 The National Assembly Seized property of the Roman Catholic Church – Sold to rich peasants and members of the middle class – Money used to pay some of the nation’s huge debt Reorganized the Catholic Church in France Complete religious tolerance Reformed court system by requiring election of judges 1791, National Assembly disbanded

10 The Legislative Assembly Opened October 1, 1791 Made up mainly of middle class representatives Faced several challenges: – Stability was dependent on the cooperation between the king and the legislature, Louis XVI remained opposed and he plotted with aristocrats and other rulers to overthrow the new government – Religious policies angered Catholics – April 1792, went to war against Austria and Prussia who wished to restore France’s monarchy – August 1792, Parisians took custody of Louis XVI and his family and imprisoned them

11 The National Convention Opened September 21, 1792, declared France a republic: “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” Louis XVI placed on trial for betraying the country, found guilty for treason – Beheaded on the guillotine on January 21, 1793 The Convention contained three groups: the Mountain, the Girondists, and the Plain (which sat between the two rival groups) Growing disputes between Mountain and Girondists led to a struggle for power, and the Mountain won.

12 The Jacobin Government Jacobin= Mountain Jacobin leaders created a new citizens’ army which posed threats to neighboring countries but also anyone who publicly disagreed with official policy – Hundred of thousands of suspects filled the nation’s jails – Courts handed down about 18,000 death sentences in what was called the Reign of Terror

13 The Revolution Ends In time, the radicals began to struggle for power among themselves With the execution of Robespierre, the leader of the Convention, the Reign of Terror ended (July 28, 1794). Conservatives gained control of the Convention and drove the Jacobins from power Napoleon seized control of the government on November 9 1799—ending the revolution

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities was the twelfth novel of Charles Dickens.  The first chapters of the book appeared in print in April of 1859.  The last chapter was printed in November of that same year.

The novel was illustrated by Phiz, better known as Hablot Knight Browne.

A Tale of Two Cities – Dickens’s Life At The Time

  • In January of 1857 the first performances of The Frozen Deep are given.  Dickens plays the role of Richard Wardour.  This play gives Dickens the idea for  A Tale of Two Cities.
  • In August of 1857 Dickens meets Ellen Ternan, an actress hired to act in benefit performances of The Frozen Deep.  Ellen later becomes his mistress.
  • Dickens separates from his wife Catherine in 1858.
  • In March of 1859 Dickens begins writing A Tale of Two Cities.

“Let them eat cake.” 

The novel takes place during the French Revolution.  The revolution began in 1789.  The French people were tired of the social and economic inequalities enforced by the ruling monarchy.  The aristocracy and clergy lived a life of luxury while people in the Third Estate (peasants, artisans, merchants and professional men) paid most of the taxes and didn’t have as many rights.

Legend has it that when the queen of France,  Marie Antoinette, was told that the poor people didn’t have any bread to eat she responded, “Let them eat cake.”

Marie Antoinette by Louis Marie Sicard

On September 22, 1792 France was declared a republic.  In an effort to preserve the newly-founded republic many people were put on trial for crimes against the state.  Thousands of people were sentenced to death in unfair trials and many more people were imprisoned.  The time from September 1793 to July 1794 is known as The Reign of Terror.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so. far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.  – A Tale of Two Cities

The Frozen Deep

The Frozen Deep was the inspiration for A Tale of Two Cities.  In 1857 Dickens acted in the play and portrayed the character of Richard Wardour.  In the play Wardour decides that he’s going to kill Frank Aldersley because Frank stole his true love, Clara Burnham.  Instead Wardour ends up saving Aldersley’s life at the cost of his own.  Wardour dies in Clara’s arms and earns her eternal gratitude for saving the life of the man that she loves.

In addition to giving him the idea for A Tale of Two Cites, the play brought about lasting changes to Dickens’s life.  In 1857 Dickens was not happy in his marriage.  The once-happy couple had grown apart.

Professional actresses were hired to act in a benefit production of The Frozen Deep.  One of them was Ellen Ternan.  She became Dickens’s mistress.  Their affair lasted until Dickens’s death in 1870.

Themes of A Tale of Two Cities

Dr. Manette in the Bastille Prison by Phiz

In the story Doctor Manette is imprisoned for many years.  He is kept in solitary confinement for years.  His only activity is making shoes and when asked his name he answers, “One Hundred and Five, North Tower.”  So harsh are his circumstances that it as if he were buried alive.

Sydney Carton is another character who is “buried alive” only in this case the burial is of his own choosing.

Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning him-self to let it eat him away.

Carton is skilled at his profession, but he dislikes himself and sees nothing of value in life.  However, when Carton meets Lucie Manette his view changes.

“I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul. In my degradation I have not been so degraded but that the sight of you with your father, and of this home made such a home by you, has stirred old shadows that I thought had died out of me. Since I knew you, I have been troubled by a remorse that I thought would never reproach me again, and have heard whispers from old voices impelling me upward, that I thought were silent for ever. I have had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off sloth and sensuality, and fighting out the abandoned fight. A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.”

A Tale of Two Cities Information


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *