Revolutionary Images in a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

1463 WordsJul 12, 20186 Pages
“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 were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” asserts Charles Dickens in reference to the French Revolution (Dickens 1). This infamous rebellion began as a respectable, even gallant, cause: an uprising against the inhumane way the aristocracy treated the peasants. However, as long as man has the ability to hate, he is going to want revenge. This added emotion often fuels the will of the oppressed, causing them to be even more unmerciful and barbarous towards the ones who tormented and harassed them. Soon, they became even more frenzied and blood thirsty, transforming into animals obsessed…show more content…
During the commotion of the peasants sharpening their weapons on the grindstone, the ghastly/grim imagery used to describe the scene introduces the idea that the oppressed are now becoming the oppressors and dehumanizing the gentility. A grindstone is a thick disk of stone that is mounted in a way that enables it to rotate, allowing for the sharpening of swords and other metal weapons. The image of the grindstone was necessary because Dickens based this scene off of the September Massacre, a nonfictional incident of the French Revolution in which the peasants killed 1,100 people, whether they were aristocracy or not. In order to depict the growing animosity of the peasants, Dickens continues to use the animal-like imagery: The grindstone had a double handle, and, turning at it madly were two men, whose faces, as their long hair flapped back when the whirlings of the grindstone brought their faces up, were more horrible and cruel than the visages of the wildest savages in their most barbarous disguise. … all awry with howling, and all staring and glaring with beastly excitement and want of sleep. As these ruffians turned and turned, their matted locks now flung forward over their eyes … . (203) However, the animal-like imagery is now even more
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