Friday, March 9, 2012

A Year of Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities

I've done it. I finished my reread of A Tale of Two Cities, the bane of my high school existence. Twenty-some years ago, if I hadn't already read and loved David Copperfield, it might have been the end of my still short relationship with Charles Dickens. My sophomore English teacher, who I really liked despite the TOTC project, ruined this book for me by beating us over the head with themes, setting, characters, personification and all kinds of other evils. And so, even when picking up the book now, I couldn't help but notice some of the things that I was forced to evaluate many years ago. Yet, I was able to overcome and become absorbed in the plot and social commentary and I found myself actually enjoying my reread. I mean, how can anyone truly dislike a novel that contains both one of the best first lines of a book and also, arguably, the best last line as well. I also enjoyed Dickens' wit and I thought he was very fair in presenting both sides of the French Revolution. And, though not packed with wonderful characters, there were still a few gems in this one, like Mr. Jarvis Lorry, Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher.

I don't know if I will ever read this story again but at least I no longer associate it with intense misery. Success!

In a far, far better place,


  1. I always want to reread and never do it. You have inspired me! I will reread!


  2. That is sad when a teacher ruins a perfectly good book. I love the cover of this one!! So fitting as I totally remember Madame La Farge from my high school reading. (I hope that is her name.)

  3. I loved this book when I first read it in Junior High (and it was my first Dickens), but I think it was for a Great Books group and not a class, so there was no overanalyzation (sp?). Anyway, I think I need to reread it again, since that was many, many years ago. :)

  4. Laci -I used to reread a lot more but now it's less frequent. I'm glad I took the time to reread this book though!

    Jenners - Yes, Madame Defarge. You know, the funny thing about her is that I always tought of her as an old hag but then this time through I noticed that it said she was in her early thirties. Yikes!

    Jody - I got a lot different things out of this book now that I'm older and more aware of history and such.