A Tale of Two Cities By Charles Dickens Summary and Analysis Book 3: Chapter 5 - The Wood-Sawyer

Summary

Throughout Darnay's imprisonment, Lucie goes to the prison for two hours each day hoping that her husband will be able to see her. The spot where he might view her, however, is next to a woodcutter's house. The woodcutter, formerly the road-mender, torments Lucie by pretending to saw off her and her daughter's heads; Lucie gives him money to leave her alone. One day, a wild mob comes dancing down the street and surrounds a frightened Lucie. As it moves on, Doctor Manette tells Lucie to blow Darnay a kiss because Darnay is watching. As she does so, Madame Defarge walks by and greets them. The Doctor tells Lucie that Darnay's trial is scheduled for the next day.

Analysis

Lucie's love and compassion distinguish her from the other characters, but she also exhibits remarkable courage in the face of frightening circumstances. Her love for Darnay prompts her to stand on an isolated street every day, regardless of weather and despite the anxiety the woodcutter must cause her. She deals with his crude nature intelligently; rather than avoiding him, she speaks to him and gives him money. Similarly, her response to the crowd whirling around her is not to shriek or swoon, but to shade her eyes and explain that such displays of madness make her fear for her husband's safety. By giving Lucie exceptional courage and selflessness, Dickens creates a character who is admirable enough to justify the devotion she inspires in others. The reader's belief that Lucie is worthy of deep attachment and sacrifice is vital to the plausibility of the plot.

Glossary

the Carmagnole a dance popular during the French Revolution.

the Conciergerie a prison in the Palais de Justice where many prisoners sentenced to die by the guillotine spent their last days.

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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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