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A Tale of Two Cities
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HISTORICAL FICTION > 8. March 26 - April 1 ~~BOOK THE SECOND ~`XXIII, XXIV and BOOK THE THIRD ~I ~(225-255) No spoilers Please

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message 1: by Jill (last edited Mar 26, 2012 01:19PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) Hello Everyone,

For the week of March 26-April 1, we are reading Book the Second (XXIII, XXIV) and Book the Third (I) of A Tale of Two Cities.

The eighth week's reading assignment is:

Week Eight: March 26th - April 1 (2012): P. 225-255:


XXIII Fire Rises
XXIV Drawn to the Loadstone Rock
I ~Book the Third The Track of a Storm

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other books.

This book was kicked off on February 6th. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell's and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle. And to make things even easier; this book is available "free" on line as either an ebook download or an audiobook. This weekly thread will be opened up either during the weekend before or on Monday of the first day.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Becky will be leading this discussion. But since this is Becky's first time moderating a book in the History Book Club; Bentley will be co-moderating this selection.

Welcome,

~Bentley & Bryan

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickensby Charles DickensCharles Dickens



REMEMBER NO SPOILERS ON THE WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREADS

Notes:

It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.

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If you need help - here is a thread called the Mechanics of the Board which will show you how:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2......

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http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/7......

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message 2: by Jill (last edited Mar 26, 2012 01:13PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) Chapter Overviews and Summaries

Chapter 23. (Fire Rises)

The "mender of roads" is working when a "Jacques" comes. "It will happen tonight." That night four figures stride to the courtyard and later the chateau burns, The village lets it burn. They don't trust Gabelle, the tax collector.

Chapter 24. (Drawn to the Loadstone Rock)
In 1792 Mr. Lorry is going to Paris to take care of business there -he'll take Jerry Cruncher. A letter for a Marquis St. Evremonde arrives and after hearing how bad the man is Darnay confesses to Lorry that he knows him. Darnay takes the letter and reads it - from Gabelle, pleading for help from a Paris prison. Darnay decides to go to Paris. He sends a message to Gabelle via Lorry and goes the next morning leaving a letter to Lucie.

Book the Third—the Track of a Storm
Chapter 1. (In Secret)


Darnay makes his way to Paris where he is arrested. His conductor is Monsieur Defarge who will do nothing to help him. He is taken to his cell and told he is secret. "Now I am left as if I were dead."


message 3: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) Becky is currently out of town but please feel free to start discussion on the chapters in this week's reading assignment.


message 4: by Becky (last edited Mar 27, 2012 02:45AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Thank you, Jill! Becky just got home at 2AM. -


Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments In Chapter 23 we have Dickens doing his personification again:

Presently, the chateau began to make itself strangely visible by some light of its own, as though it were growing luminous. Then, a flickering streak played behind the architecture of the front, picking out transparent places, and showing where balustrades, arches, and windows were. Then it soared higher, and grew broader and brighter. Soon, from a score of the great windows, flames burst forth, and the stone faces awakened, stared out of fire.

This is very vivid to me - very gothic and almost poetic. What are some of your favorite passages?


message 6: by Cleo (last edited Mar 28, 2012 10:09PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 40 comments Becky wrote: "This is very vivid to me - very gothic and almost poetic. What are some of your favorite passages?
..."


I'm not sure I can pick one. His descriptions are so clever and very vivid!

I had to laugh at this passage:

"The result of that conference was, that Gabelle again withdrew himself to his house-top behind his stack of chimneys: this time resolved if his door were broken in (he was a small Southern man of retaliative temperament), to pitch himself head foremost over the parapet, and crush a man or two below."


Cleo (cleopatra18) | 40 comments Chapter 23: More dark and light references ...

"......The man slept on, indifferent to showers of hail and intervals of brightness, to sunshine on his face and shadow, ........"

" .... The night deepened ........ dark in the gloom. .......... But not for long. Presently, the chateau began to make itself strangely visible by some light of its own, as though it were growing luminous......"

"..... A trying suspense, to be passing a whole summer night on the brink of the black ocean, ready to take that plunge into it upon which Monsieur Gabelle had resolved! But, the friendly dawn appearing at last ....."



Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Cleo wrote: I had to laugh at this passage:
"The result of that conference was, that Gabelle again withdrew himself to his house-top behind his stack of chimneys: this time resolved if his door were broken in (he was a small Southern man of retaliative temperament), to pitch himself head foremost over the parapet, and crush a man or two below."
"


That was a great one - I had to chuckle.


Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Cleo wrote: "Chapter 23: More dark and light references ...

You're right! There are a whole lot of dark and light references in that chapter. I believe the character Gabelle is a really low-level government functionary - as a word "gabelle" means a salt tax from the 13th century or something like that. He really isn't an "enemy of the people," or an aristocrat in any sense. But the people don't differentiate and he probably did have a tiny bit more money than the peasants.


message 10: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 40 comments I'm trying to connect with appearance and the feelings of the peasants. Earlier in the book, they seem almost like automatons; expressionless, emotionless, etc. I imagine lack of food would contribute to this, as well as possibly a lack of sleep (does anyone know if it is harder to get to sleep when you are hungry?), and there is a complete hopelessness to their situation. In this part of the book, they are beginning to gradually "wake up" and there is resolve in their actions, that we hadn't seen before. We are beginning to see the first flickers of the hatred against their oppressors, slowly begin burn and come rising to the surface.


Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Good point - the first time we see the peasants they just seem downtrodden and lifeless. That's when the Monseigneur's coach rides into town and the Mender of Roads tells the little crowd all about the ghost (Gaspard) he saw following it. (He's already an instigator - heh.) That was in Book 2 Chapters 8 and 9. That poor woman pleads for a burial site for her husband.

But there was quite a period of time between that and the time the old mansion is finally burned in Chapter 23. Perhaps the Mender of Roads has been telling the peasant folks of what he sees around the countryside - and then there's the other Jacques who meets him and talks to him. It's like a little network of like-minded revolutionaries.

And now I just thought of fountains with water where the child is hit and then in the peasant village where the people gather. Water is like blood, it's liquid, it changes shape, like the peasants going from oppressed and downtrodden to alive and taking action. But blood is death and water is life.


message 12: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 40 comments Becky wrote: "And now I just thought of fountains with water where the child is hit and then in the peasant village where the people gather. Water is like blood, it's liquid, it changes shape, like the peasants going from oppressed and downtrodden to alive and taking action. But blood is death and water is life...."

I hadn't thought of it that way before, Becky. Nice contrast!


Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments The historical references are all over the place here.

From Chapter 23:
"As it advanced, the mender of roads would discern without surprise, that it was a shaggy-haired man, of almost barbarian aspect, tall, in wooden shoes that were clumsy even to the eyes of a mender of roads, grim, rough, swart, steeped in the mud and dust of many highways, dank with the marshy moisture of many low grounds, sprinkled with the thorns and leaves and moss of many byways through woods. "

And from:
http://dickens.stanford.edu/dickens/a...

"This 'shaggy-haired man, of almost barbarian aspect' is an agent of destruction in the 'Great Fear,' the period between July 20 and August 6, 1789, during which – after the fall of the Bastille – a number of châteaus were burned down (Maxwell 465). Dickens follows Carlyle’s account of this period, in which the destruction of aristocratic property is largely attributed to the accumulated rage of the oppressed common people.

More recent historians have claimed the destruction was not so much systematic as like an explosive fire."

The French Revolution A History by Thomas Carlyle by Thomas Carlyle Thomas Carlyle


Ruthbie | 18 comments Isn't it often the case that a situation and atmosphere can exist for some time until an event - in this case the storming of the Bastille - happens and acts like a spark, setting the whole conflagration alight.


Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments You bet - In the US we had the build-up for the Revolution for a long time and then there was that "shot heard round the world" as it exploded. But in France the aristocracy couldn't just quit the country like the British did so they ended up with a Reign of Terror.


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1126 comments Becky wrote: "You bet - In the US we had the build-up for the Revolution for a long time and then there was that "shot heard round the world" as it exploded. But in France the aristocracy couldn't just quit th..."

I think we should remember that were it not for the tea tax, the stamp act and the resulting presence of British troops - I think if the Brits had withdrawn quickly enough all the taxes - there would have been no revolution at this time -

Likely later - over expansion and maybe even over the rights initially of the South to keep slaves.


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Books mentioned in this topic

A Tale of Two Cities (other topics)
The French Revolution: A History (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Charles Dickens (other topics)
Thomas Carlyle (other topics)