Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012 discussion

A Tale of Two Cities
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Mount TBR Buddy-Reads > Book the Third - chapters 1 - 15 *SPOILERS allowed*

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message 1: by Dawn (& Ron) (last edited May 30, 2012 08:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dawn (& Ron) (furryreaders) | 456 comments This thread is for the third section of A Tale of Two Cities scheduled to start the weekend of June 1st. Book the Third - the Track of the Storm chapters 1 - 15. Please keep you posts within the contents of this section and please be considerate and aware of where other readers are within the section. Spoilers are allowed, again using the wonderful discretion and awareness of where people are.

Use Spoiler tags <spoiler> </spoiler> or something like ******Spoilers included for those who have not read past chapter ******

Please state which chapter you are in or have just finished.


message 2: by Dawn (& Ron) (last edited May 30, 2012 08:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dawn (& Ron) (furryreaders) | 456 comments Corrected in this one and in the second one. Thanks for catching that.

I'm surprised to hear from you tonight after your exciting day. I will go check PM but probably won't respond until tomorrow.


Dawn (& Ron) (furryreaders) | 456 comments I can't get rid of the topic and had no idea that made it public. I thought it just added the title and cover image. I've hit edit multiple times on each thread and then clear but it is still there on each of them, at least from my end. Is this something that takes a little while to go through and get straightened out by GR?


message 4: by Dawn (& Ron) (last edited Jun 13, 2012 09:04PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dawn (& Ron) (furryreaders) | 456 comments At first I thought maybe it was because there were comments associated with the thread but it also happened with the threads with no comments yet, so it makes no sense to me either. I've clicked save after clear and have even tried clearing that box, making sure it is empty, before hitting save. The only options I have after I click edit and clear are save, cancel or delete this topic. Clicking the latter would delete the entire thread, I believe, so I have stayed away from that. I will know for next time, that's for sure!

On to the book and great discussions!


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Sounds like a plan....


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Chapters 1-5 What dreadful images Dickens paints of the guillotine, the death, the blood like the wine of the beginning chapters flowing in the streets and the people lapping it up both literally in the first and figuratively in the second!

Madame Defarge's shadow falls across the path of Lucie and her daughter and foretells what she hopes will be their fate...that of death.One can't help but think that she has already secured that fate for Charles. Lucie is "the golden thread" that holds the family together. Her devotion to Charles is quite something as she awaits outside the prison daily for two hours so that he could catch a glimpse of her and his daughter. It is such a pathetic and tragic image.Dr Manette is back at the prison as a doctor to the people imprisoned there thus securing his ability to see and speak with Charles. I can't help but think how brave an act that was for the good doctor.


Laura | 102 comments I'm starting to read it now, hope to join you soon.


message 8: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Jun 11, 2012 04:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I finished Chapters 6-10 and there are lots of coincidences happening which I think is something Dickens did a lot believing that the world was a smaller place and that these things can and do happen. This way of writing things is called deus ex machina (a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.) from wiki
At any rate, poor Charles has been re arrested and surprisingly Dr Manette becomes one of his accusers. Sydney is present and one can read the writing on the wall, with his uncanny resemblance to Charles what will happen. I liked the way Dickens included the religious aspect in Sydney's thought processes. Sydney's choice and sacrifice will be the way he throws off his nothing of a life., his redemption.What a wonderfully intense character Sydney is! I think he is the novel's greatest hero.

Can't help but think the sins of the father are weighed on the sons.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Laura wrote: "I'm starting to read it now, hope to join you soon."

It is really good in this section....I am at that hard to put down stage.


Laura | 102 comments Marialyce wrote: "Laura wrote: "I'm starting to read it now, hope to join you soon."

It is really good in this section....I am at that hard to put down stage."


sounds great Marialyce, even I'm a little bit late with my readings today.


message 11: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (kimmr) I've just started this section, Marialyce, and I agree that it's very good. The action has picked up quite a bit.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I have finished and have to say that this last section made up for any foibles of the previous two sections. Quite the ending and the resolution! Miss Pross certainly showed her love for the family and of course Sydney himself redeemed and more beloved in death than he ever hoped to achieve in life, is the hero of all.

It is fitting I think that a novel that started with the most memorable words ends with words that are themselves ever so memorable. "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Quite the story teller, Mr Dickens was. Do you think he redeemed his lack of characterization by this emotional and loving ending?


message 13: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (kimmr) I still have a couple of hours of the audiobook to listen to, Marialyce, but I hope to finish tomorrow or the next day. The pace certainly picks up in Book III. Since the action switched to Paris and the revolution, I have been much more engaged in the narrative.

BTW - you are up pretty early!


Jemidar | 358 comments I'll starting Book 3 later tonight so this is indeed good news :-).


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I know, I am a 4am person......thank goodness I have an iPad, so I don't wake up my husband with what he calls my "midnight" ramblings. At least not working anymore, I can take a nap if I need to. Enjoy the ending, Kim!

I have to think out of all the Dickens novels I have read that although this one definitely had its faults, it will stick with me the longest.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Jemidar wrote: "I'll starting Book 3 later tonight so this is indeed good news :-)."

I do hope you enjoy the ending book, Jemidar.

Funny as I am thinking about the ending and thinking of how this book has a theme of redemption.....that it is kind of ironic that I feel Dickens has "redeemed himself" (from not a particularly strongly written book) by writing this ending.


message 17: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (kimmr) Goodness, Marialyce. I think I'm an early morning person. But that only means that I'm generally awake by about 5am when I'd much prefer to still be asleep! I work full-time, so I keep nanna hours and try to get to bed as early as I can. Which means that I'm heading off to bed shortly, so that I can read my other book and listen to the rain for a while before I go to sleep.


Laura | 102 comments Kim wrote: "I still have a couple of hours of the audiobook to listen to, Marialyce, but I hope to finish tomorrow or the next day. The pace certainly picks up in Book III. Since the action switched to Paris a..."

so do I!!! This last part of the book is even better than the previous ones, what a splendid book.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Laura wrote: "Kim wrote: "I still have a couple of hours of the audiobook to listen to, Marialyce, but I hope to finish tomorrow or the next day. The pace certainly picks up in Book III. Since the action switche..."

I so agree..I have been thinking about it since I finished it...
So glad you liked it too, Laura.


Laura | 102 comments I read many books on the French Revolution but none can be compared with this one, splendid!!


Dawn (& Ron) (furryreaders) | 456 comments It looks like Marialyce and Laura are done already, no surprise there, and have made it sound like the ending turns around the book for Dickens. What a way to tease those of us still reading! LOL

I'm in chapter 5 of this final section and have to admit things are much stronger. Those descriptive powers of Dickens are clicking on all cylinders, especially in describing Dr. Manette transformation/rebirth and how the roles reversed.
"And when Jarvis Lorry saw the resolute face and bearing of the man whose life always seemed to him to have been stopped, like a clock, for so many years, and then set going again with an energy which had lain dormant during the cessation of its usefulness, he believed."
"he became so far exalted by the change, that he took the lead and direction, and required them as the weak, to trust to him as the strong."



message 22: by Jemidar (last edited Jun 13, 2012 10:02PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jemidar | 358 comments Kim and I are finished too even though we were late to the party ;-).


Laura | 102 comments Dawn (& Ron) wrote: "It looks like Marialyce and Laura are done already, no surprise there, and have made it sound like the ending turns around the book for Dickens. What a way to tease those of us still reading! LOL

..."


"Too many books, so little time..."


Dawn (& Ron) (furryreaders) | 456 comments Jemidar and Kim are done too! Looks like I'm the only active reader in this section then.

I'm starting chapter 9 and wow, how Dickens pulled a lot of different things and characters together, and in some surprising ways, in chapter 9. I didn't expect a certain family member to show up, that's for sure, and the surprise of learning that we met them before under a different name.

"His hair could not have been more violently on end, if it had been that moment dressed by the Cow with the crumpled horn in the house that Jack built. Huh, what!


message 25: by Margaret (last edited Jun 15, 2012 12:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Margaret | 173 comments Nope you got me too. I just finished chapter 7. Recap:

Chapter 4: WHAT??! Prisoners being cleared of all charges and then killed by the mob anyway? Remember the Samaritans that helped Doctor Manette tend to the ex-prisoner's wounds and then turned around and finished him off? Um...if that wasn't the biggest WTF moment for me in this book so far. I mean, seriously, W...T...F??!

And now...France is WHACK! I swear I was having Rand's novel, We The Living flashbacks in that last chapter, like how they had to watch out how they spent their money or else someone would get jealous and denounce them. Yeah, that part especially had socialist Russia all over it. And how you had to address everyone as citizen? Or how you have to list every person living in your household. Sheesh! I was with Miss Pross when she asked why they couldn't go back to England yet. I was asking the same thing myself.

At the end of that chapter all I have to say is: Are you friggin' kidding me?? He's been exhonerated for crying out loud and now just because two people don't like him he has to go right back to prison and be tried on the same garbage?? HUH??!


message 26: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Jun 15, 2012 03:46AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I guess they never heard of double jeopardy then, Margaret. Since Dickens tried to stay historically true, perhaps it was true although I could not find any real evidence that this was the case.

Yes, that calling everyone citizen was smacking up against the "everyone is equal" political call of the socialists. I think when there is literally no one or nothing that is controlled except murder and mayhem, then Mayhem rules. It was not called the "reign of terror" for nothing.

More than 18,000 were guillotined.
http://www.theguillotine.info/facts/d...


message 27: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (kimmr) I think it's fair to conclude that there is no sense in which the Revolutionary Tribunals during the Reign of Terror were according due process to the accused. The point of the Tribunals was to quickly dispose of perceived enemies. I don't know that much about the political in-fighting which led to the Reign of Terror, although I gather that it was at least partly related to the conflict between the Gerondists and the Jacobins. The political background to this period is something which Dickens doesn't really deal with at all, which is fair enough, because that's not the story that he was telling. In any event, having Charles Darnay tried, released and then re-arrested adds considerably to the dramatic tension of the novel.

I'm very much interested in learning more about the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror after reading this book. I'm pretty familiar with the background and aftermath of another revolution - the Iranian Revolution of 1979 - and there seem to be lots of parallels between the two events.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I know nothing other than what was briefly taught in school about the French Revolution, Kim.

I do have to think though that the American Revolution was so very different....seemed like a cake walk (well, certainly not to the people who were fighting and dying) compared to the goings on in France. I believe, historically, the Americans allowed the Tories to return to England and there was little or no "political" murders. I do know that there were POW prisons and I am sure that things there were not pleasant at all.

We were "lucky" that things turned out as they did for us. Our founding fathers certainly would have swung from a rope if things had gone differently.


message 29: by Jemidar (last edited Jun 15, 2012 04:20AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jemidar | 358 comments I know the American Revolution is probably technically a revolution but it was very different from the others. Yes, it did overthrow it's monarchy but America was a colony so conditions were very different from say France, Russia or Iran. From my understanding, yours wasn't a populist movement starting from the bottom up by the masses but started amoung the the educated and political elite. When I did a history course at uni focused solely on revolutions the American one wasn't even mentioned so I've always thought that for some reason it wasn't classed as a 'real' revolution.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) That is interesting as it was not considered to be a revolution at all by your college coursework. It started over taxation claiming that while the colonies were paying, they had no voice or representation in Parliament. The ideologies of the time of Enlightenment and liberalism fed the fires and the total rejection of the monarchy added to the case of Republicanism. The fact that English monarchy governed but did not allow the colonies freedoms that were gradually taken away fueled the fires. Yes, too, the leaders were the elite, land owning, educated men of the time which was surely a part and parcel of the success we had in throwing off what was considered our oppressor.

But....ultimately it was the poor and untrained who fought and died so valiantly. They might have been led at the top by educated men, but throughout the ranks these were simple people following an ideal.

I often wonder how things would have been different if England had been a) closer in distance to America, and b) if they had had better generals in charge and quicker means of traveling. I guess in the end the "gods were with us."


message 31: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (kimmr) I think I made this comment on the thread for Book Ii, but I believe that a distinction can be drawn between revolutions and wars of independence. While the motivation for uprising may be similar - or even the same - the political aftermath is quite different. In modern terms, you only have to look at, say, East Timor and Egypt. Very different countries, each of them with a population which successfully rose up against an oppressive government, but with quite different results. The differing patterns of liberation war and revolution have been repeated over and over again during over the last 200 years. The French revolutionary leaders were inspired and influenced by what had happened in America, but theirs was a different type of conflict.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Thanks, Kim..and you did mention it before..but I guess it is so ingrained in me to think of our history as being revolutionary, that I kind of lump all else together with this experience.


Geevee Kim wrote: "I think I made this comment on the thread for Book Ii, but I believe that a distinction can be drawn between revolutions and wars of independence. While the motivation for uprising may be similar -..."

I think you're right Kim. America's was about taxation and representation whereas the French ostensibly was about casting aside the feudal order and freedom and liberty (although these last two must have been tricky to spot for the average French citizen worried about daily denouncement and imprisonment).

The American Revolution is interesting too in that many of those opposing Britain were British by birth or descent, and many fighting for Britain were American loyalists too. As Marialyce says I think it may have been different had Britain and America been closer in distance; easier to garrison and reinforce with better quality and equipped units (such as more cavalry and artillery) but perhaps with communications being speedier the lead up may have been different and certainly branding the Continental Congress traitors didn't help.

Either way it wasn't Britain's smartest decision in its history to lose its colony, although it would have been inevitable eventually.

It intrigues me to think that if Britain had listened and agreed with its American colony the formation of the USA, as it would become, would have been different and had independence occurred say 50 years later could the civil war have been avoided?


message 34: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Jun 15, 2012 01:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) It intrigues me to think that if Britain had listened and agreed with its American colony the formation of the USA, as it would become, would have been different and had independence occurred say 50 years later could the civil war have been avoided?

wow....I never thought of that! Imagine if that conflict had been avoided? The thousands of lives that could have been saved. Mind boggling for sure.


Geevee I'm sure the professional historians would say it was an impossibility but it makes you wonder.


Geevee Dawn (& Ron) wrote: "Jemidar and Kim are done too! Looks like I'm the only active reader in this section then.

I'm starting chapter 9 and wow, how Dickens pulled a lot of different things and characters together, and ..."


I'm still reading Dawn- I'm about to start chapter 11.


Margaret | 173 comments What a coincidence. I just finished chapter 10:

WTF?? Just because you can't avenge the dead rapists and murderers you go after family's sole survivor, who was only a boy when it happened?? Okay, really, HUH??

Madame Defarge was the sister, wasn't she? Dickens' little comment about the Defarges' hatred kinda woke up my inner mystery buff! The connections...astounding!


Dawn (& Ron) (furryreaders) | 456 comments I'm in chapter 10, only a few pages in to Dr. Manette's letter. Now we know what they were looking for when they searched his cell during the storming of the Bastille. Wow, what a twist and what a way Dickens continues to weave these character's connections together.


message 39: by Margaret (last edited Jun 15, 2012 06:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Margaret | 173 comments I'm taking a little break from reading because it's bugging me now. I am trying my darnest to find a video of the Carmagnole dance. Dickens described it so well with the grabbing heads and/or hands and spinning around. Then ending it with their heads down and hands up, I just want to see it now for myself. It must have been one hideous dance because I'm having no luck with youtube or with Bing.

Wiki described it (copy/paste): There are varied accounts of this song and where it was sung. It was mainly sung as a rallying cry or as entertainment among a group of pro-revolutionaries. It was also used as an insult to those who did not support the French Revolution. Popular punishment was to make them "sing and dance the Carmagnole", which could be done to marquises, dames, princes, monks, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals, to name a few.

So that Lucie was standing at the prison when she first saw it was the pro-revolutionists insulting their prisoners? Since they were all mostly, if not entirely aristocrats?

Am I the only one with a morbid curiosity? Wouldn't anyone else like to see this dance yourself?


Dawn (& Ron) (furryreaders) | 456 comments My family coming from Boston it has always been referred to as a revolution. No it's not the same as France, Russia, Iran, Egypt but none are exactly the same, each has different issues and reasons but essentially want some sort of reformation and balancing of inequalities.

That's interesting, it is not normally called the War of Independence over here, maybe that's more common elsewhere. It commonly called the American Revolutionary War or the Revolutionary War, yet July 4th is Independence day. Go figure!

I found this interesting, from historyofwar.org, especially the later part. "The conflict between Britain and her American colonists was triggered by the financial costs of the Anglo-French wars of the previous thirty years, in particular the Seven Years War (1756-63). A principal theatre of conflict had been in North America, where it was felt that the colonials had failed to play their part either financially or in the fighting. In the years immediately after the war, the army in North America consumed 4% of British government spending. This cost, combined with the victories over the French had increased British interest in their colonies. Ironically, those victories had also removed one element tying the Americans to Britain - fear of French strangulation. In 1756, the French held Canada, the Ohio Valley and the Mississippi, isolating the British colonies on the eastern seaboard. By 1763 that threat had been removed."

Gevee, what a conundrum of a question if things had been different. I'm no sure what was in the agreement offered my the American colonies so not sure what type of government was proposed to be in place. Wasn't slavery abolished in England well before our civil war and did that law extend to all its subjects? Would Britain have done anything to change the imbalances, mainly the manufacturing and the agricultural, between the north and south? And how would it have handled the main problem of state's rights? As you can see I certainly don't have an answer but the problem would still have been a difficult one to solve, no matter what. Hey, does that mean President Lincoln would have been Prime Minister Lincoln or something like that?


Dawn (& Ron) (furryreaders) | 456 comments Margaret wrote: "I'm taking a little break from reading because it's bugging me now. I am trying my darnest to find a video of the Carmagnole dance. Dickens described it so well with the grabbing heads and/or hands..."

I was quite curious about the Carmagnole and looked it up too. I admit I never thought of checking for a video of the dance. I wonder if they do it for Bastille Day on July 14th, maybe checking that way some images of the dance could be found.


message 42: by Geevee (last edited Jun 16, 2012 06:42AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geevee Dawn (& Ron) wrote: "Gevee, what a conundrum of a question if things had been different. I'm no sure what was in the agreement offered my the American colonies so not sure what type of government was proposed to be in place. Wasn't slavery abolished in England well before our civil war and did that law extend to all its subjects? Would Britain have done anything to change the imbalances, mainly the manufacturing and the agricultural, between the north and south? And how would it have handled the main problem of state's rights? As you can see I certainly don't have an answer but the problem would still have been a difficult one to solve, no matter what. Hey, does that mean President Lincoln would have been Prime Minister Lincoln or something like that?
..."


Slavery was abolished in an act in 1833 and became law in 1834; for the previous 30 or so years the Royal Navy had patrolled off West Africa to stop the slave trade.

I wonder if it would have changed the economic differences between north and south because of the continuing Napoleonic wars which may have had a bearing on political decisions and how defence would be undertaken I suppose; certainly you can't see the French selling the Louisiana Territory (Louisiana Purchase) to Britain in 1803, so what would Britain have done? And then what of the the war of 1812 and the burning of the White House and so on?

Also if America had been a British colony still in 1834 I wonder to the reaction of slave owners would have been(although if you look at the law they would have been paid compensation), especially as many slaves were within the Louisiana Territory.

On Lincoln would he have been a player - I think William H Seward could have been the man as was well known for his anti-slavery views and may have been London's favoured candidate but of course both were republicans :)

I do like What If ? history as the possibilities are endless and can be intriguing to think of.


Margaret | 173 comments What If? II and also the first What If? book by historians as well. If you do a search under Robert Cowley you should find the first What If? I don't own them (yet). I just remember having the first What If? book on my wish list way back in the day before Goodreads.com was invented. I've only now remembered that book again, thanks to your post, Geevee. You may be interested in those and all the rest of you who have been debating these what ifs in history.


Margaret | 173 comments Dawn that's a good idea but still no luck for me. I'm finding plenty of videos for the song but no dancing! Oh well, I guess I'm giving up. Time to read the book's conclusion.


Geevee Margaret thanks - and this one looks just perfect for what we've mentioned here and added to my TBR :)

What Ifs? Of American History Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been by Robert Cowley by Robert Cowley


Geevee I've finished the book and overall enjoyed it with frustrations in places as Dickens describes so well and also over writes for me. All in all though I kept turning the pages and have finally finished a complete Dickens; being part of this group helped and I've enjoyed reading the threads.

Sydney Carton was a man I rather disliked early on in the book, and so his conduct in France, his place with the Darnays and his memory living on through a family line was a highlight of the story.


Jemidar | 358 comments Yay Gee Vee, we did it!!


Geevee I am rather pleased :)
Do you think you'll read another Jemidar? I think I'll try Collins as you and others suggested.


Jemidar | 358 comments Yes, it feels good doesn't it?!

I might read another Dickens, but definitely not for a while. I'll be much more likely to read more Wilkie Collins :-).


Dawn (& Ron) (furryreaders) | 456 comments I've got 30 pages to go. Am I the only one still reading?

Geevee, I thought it was early in the 19th c., I certainly knew it was before we finally abolished it here. The one thing is, and what made it such a problem is that the U.S. never handled the issue correctly, not allowing it in 1/2 the country but allowing it in the other half, and then let the new states decide for itself. This is where it would have been interesting how Britain would have handled it. Would they simply outlaw it across the board?

If no changes were made to strengthen the South economically, and they had lost the slave labor in the 1830's, add to this the colonies manufacturing being used to help in the earlier Napoleonic wars, then the North would have grown even more profitable and powerful. Granted the South would have had to harvest more cotton and tobacco during the Napoleonic times, but after 1834 not as easily as it did before, profit margins would be greatly hurt.

But the biggest what if of all, would we still have such startling difference in our accents? LOL


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