A Tale of Two Cities By Charles Dickens Summary and Analysis Book 3: Chapter 2 - The Grindstone

Summary

Mr. Lorry is troubled by the violence in the city as he sits in his rooms at the Paris branch of Tellson's Bank. Suddenly, Lucie and Doctor Alexandre Manette rush into the room, and Lucie frantically tells him that the revolutionaries have taken Charles prisoner. A mob enters the courtyard outside and begins sharpening its weapons on a large grindstone there. Encouraging Lucie to be calm, Mr. Lorry sends her into another room and informs Doctor Manette that the mob is butchering the prisoners of La Force. As a former inmate of the Bastille, Doctor Manette has some influence with the revolutionaries, so he leaves to try to save Darnay's life.

Analysis

Dickens again dramatizes the horrors of mob violence, but this time with a twist: Doctor Manette is able influence the mob to do some good. Describing the scene at the grindstone as a vision of hell, Dickens depicts the mob members as savages and demons who work in a "wicked atmosphere"of "gore and fire."Their bloody, sweaty faces are "horrible and cruel,"and the red of blood and fire is reflected "in their frenzied eyes."The sight terrifies Mr. Lorry, but Doctor Manette, whom the reader has seen when lost and demented, simply smiles "a cool bold smile"and goes down to the crowd. With his white hair and calm demeanor, the Doctor is god-like in his ability to walk through the mob unharmed, "put[ting] the weapons aside like water."His years as a prisoner have become a source of strength rather than weakness. As a former prisoner, he is a hero, and as a hero, he can rescue his daughter's husband from a living death, just as she rescued him.

Glossary

the Gazette an English government publication that listed bankruptcy announcements.

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During the day Jerry Cruncher is a porter for Tellson’s Bank. What is his occupation at night?




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