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

Summary

Despite his personal devotion to Lucie and her daughter, Mr. Lorry recognizes as a businessman that keeping the family of a La Force prisoner at Tellson's could endanger the bank. Consequently, he finds a nearby apartment for them and leaves Jerry Cruncher there to protect them. The day drags on with no word from Doctor Alexandre Manette. Finally, that evening, Monsieur Defarge delivers a message to Mr. Lorry from the Doctor, which states that Darnay is safe for the moment and that Defarge has a note from Darnay to Lucie. As Mr. Lorry takes Defarge to see Lucie, Madame Defarge and The Vengeance join them. Defarge explains that the women want to see Lucie and her child so that they can identify and protect her, should the need arise. After reading the message from her husband, Lucie thanks Madame Defarge and begs her to help Darnay. Madame Defarge responds coldly to Lucie's entreaties. When Miss Pross and young Lucie present themselves to Madame Defarge, she barely notices Miss Pross, focusing instead on young Lucie and casting a literal and figurative shadow on both Lucie and her daughter.

Analysis

Although the news from Doctor Manette is hopeful, the menacing presence of Madame Defarge offsets it. Defarge's discomfort with the interview is apparent in his reserved manner and especially when Madame Defarge catches him worriedly biting his fingernail. Madame Defarge, on the other hand, is as cold and pitiless as ever, and the reader gets the feeling that the names and descriptions of Lucie and her daughter will shortly appear knitted into the register.

Madame Defarge's cold confidence causes her to make an error in judgment, however. She underestimates Lucie. Throughout the book, Dickens has shown Lucie and Madame Defarge to be opposites: Lucie represents love and compassion, while Madame Defarge represents revenge and retribution. For Dickens, Lucie encompasses all that is ideal in a woman — her morality, her kind heart, her domesticity, and her success as a wife and mother. On the other hand, Madame Defarge exemplifies the ultimate "unnatural"woman, foregoing all of the ideal qualities Lucie exhibits in order to devote her life to hatred and vengeance. What Madame Defarge cannot predict or understand is the degree of loyalty and power that Lucie commands through her loving and generous heart.

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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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