A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

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The era surrounding the French Revolution was a horrifically bloody and violent period of history – the best of times and the worst of times. The violence enacted by the citizens of French on their fellow countrymen set a gruesome scene in the cities and country sides of France. Charles Dickens uses a palate of storm, wine, and blood imagery in A Tale of Two Cities to paint exactly how tremendously brutal this period of time was. Dickens use of storm imagery throughout his novel illustrates to the reader the tremulous, fierce, and explosive time period in which the course of events takes place. Dicken’s use of illustrating storms throughout the novel serves the important purpose of showing the reader how the events of the French…show more content…
The accident had happened in getting it out of a cart; the cask had tumbled out with a run, the hoops had burst, and it lay on the stones just outside the door of the wine-shop, shattered like a walnut shell. All the people within reach had suspended their business, or their idleness, to run to the spot and drink the wine… Some men kneeled down made scoops of their two hands joined, and sipped, or tried to help women, who bent over their shoulders, to sip, before the wine had all run out between their fingers. Others, men and women, dipped in the puddles with little mugs of mutilated earthenware, or even with handkerchiefs from women’s heads, which were squeezed dry into infants’ mouths… (31)
The use of wine imagery during the mass hysteria of the capsized cart illustrates the French Revolution on several levels. When the cart capsizes, Dickens describes the falling wine as having burst and tumbled out of the cart, which greatly illustrates the bumpy nature of the events leading up to the outbreak of the revolution. Dickens compares the wine bottles to a shattered walnut shell as a foreshadowing of the broken state of France subsequent to the revolution. As well as describing the French Revolution as a whole, the wine flooding the streets of Saint Antoine characterizes the guilt that hung over every man, woman, and child’s head
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