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,