The Theme of Resurrection in 'A Tale of Two Cities'

An Essay By Clare Marie // 4/24/2009

In A Tale of Two Cities, deep symbolism and complex themes are an integral part played by the book to capture the reader's attention and fill one with a sense of intrigue. One of the most recognizable is the theme of resurrection. Throughout the novel, characters and situations again and again allude to rising to a new life. Most prominently so are Alexandre Manette, Charles Darnay, and Sydney Carton.


Book I of A Tale of Two Cities is centered mostly on the rescue of Alexandre Manette from the horrid French prison, the Bastille; thus, it is titled “Recalled to Life”. Alexandre Manette once had a full life; one of peace and contentment. Imprisoned unjustly, his intellect—and all that was sane in his brilliant mind—dies. Enter Lucie Manette, his daughter, glowing with life and youth. Her love and patience, and simply the realization that she is his daughter, brings Manette back to sanity and health; in a sense, back to life.


Alexandre Manette is not, however, the only person whose life Lucie touches. Charles Darnay also is influenced, to the point of asking Lucie to marry him—and bring new life into the world. Lucie accepts, and thus forms a family tie that will prove essential when Darnay becomes imprisoned in later years. Also essential for Darnay's rescue is the wit of Sydney Carton; who, through saving him from imprisonment, has once before brought Darnay a resurrection. Carton's growing heroism—and love for Lucie—spurs him on to again rescue Darnay from inevitable death, to bring him back to a beautiful new life of safety in England.


Carton himself believes he will never rise to a new life. Yet, through his willingness to face death, he raises himself to something greater. And by giving Darnay back to the loving arms of Manette and Lucie, he opens the door to a long, beautiful life for them all, and the generation to come. Despite the life of waste he once lived, he gains something eternal by his sacrifice. He realizes this, speaking his last beautiful thoughts: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”


As the immortal words run through Carton's head while he nears the guillotine—“I am the Resurrection and the Life”—we are assured that Carton, by his death, was also raised to a new life; where perhaps one day he will again see those whom he gave all for.

Comments

Clare: I greatly enjoyed

Clare: I greatly enjoyed your paper! I wrote one on A Tale of Two Cities about a month ago, but my dad has asked that all of my papers this year and next be literary analysis, so it makes what I can do with them a good deal harder. I really wanted to do something with the resurrection theme like you did, and although I couldn't do that, I did incorporate the theme of self-sacrifice in my conclusion.

Did you enjoy A Tale of Two Cities?

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“The venerable dead are waiting in my library to entertain me and relieve me from the nonsense of surviving mortals.”
- Samuel Davies

Kyleigh | Sat, 04/25/2009

Clare: I greatly enjoyed

Clare: I greatly enjoyed your paper! I wrote one on A Tale of Two Cities about a month ago, but my dad has asked that all of my papers this year and next be literary analysis, so it makes what I can do with them a good deal harder. I really wanted to do something with the resurrection theme like you did, and although I couldn't do that, I did incorporate the theme of self-sacrifice in my conclusion.

Did you enjoy A Tale of Two Cities?

-----
“The venerable dead are waiting in my library to entertain me and relieve me from the nonsense of surviving mortals.”
- Samuel Davies

Kyleigh | Sat, 04/25/2009

Thank you!!

Thank you!! Ooo, that sounds hard. Our reading guide (Cliff's Notes) on A Tale of Two Cities gave a list of topics for critical essays, and I picked the resurrection theme almost immediately. :D

I absolutely LOVED A Tale of Two Cities. It is now on my list of favorite books. :) Who is(are) your favorite character(s)? Mine's Sydney Carton. I just love him.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Sat, 04/25/2009

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"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Yes, it's hard... but it's

Yes, it's hard... but it's getting a good deal easier as time goes on. And I only have 2 more papers to write this year, one of which is poetry which won't be nearly as hard.

So did I. :) I think I like Charles best. I really should read it again, but completely for fun this time and not for school... I usually don't pick up much when I read a book for school.

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“The venerable dead are waiting in my library to entertain me and relieve me from the nonsense of surviving mortals.”
- Samuel Davies

Kyleigh | Sun, 04/26/2009

...

Clare, this was really great to read! As a complete fan of A Tale of Two Cities, I really appreciated hearing your analysis of the story. I think you did a great job, especially with the 'resurrection' theme. :)

Brianna | Mon, 04/27/2009

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"We have been created for greater things. Why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts?" ~Mother Theresa

Fabulous essay. I thought

Fabulous essay. I thought the same thoughts when I read it for book club. The is now one of my favorite books too.
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"There's a differnce between food and a meal."
-My bro and I have no idea what it means either

Keri | Mon, 04/27/2009

Thanks so much!!

Thanks so much!! :)
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Tue, 04/28/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Amazing

I am reading Tale of Two Cities for school, and this is an excellent piece on the story.

Julie | Mon, 11/02/2009

Formerly Kestrel