Study Help Essay Questions


1. Explain the first paragraph of the novel. What does Dickens mean by "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"?

2. Discuss the resurrection theme in A Tale of Two Cities. Which characters are "recalled to life"? How?

3. Describe how Dickens depicts crowds and mobs throughout the novel. What does Dickens seem to be saying about large groups of people?

4. A major criticism of A Tale of Two Cities is that Dickens does not fully develop his characters. Do you agree with this assessment? Explain why or why not.

5. Discuss the use of light and shadow imagery throughout the novel.

6. Dickens represents women as being "natural"or "unnatural"in A Tale of Two Cities. What characteristics does he idealize in women? What characteristics does he view as abnormal? Do you agree or disagree with his perspective? Why?

7. Dickens is known for his humor, but A Tale of Two Cities is noticeably somber. Do any comic passages and characters exist in the novel? If so, what are they? Why are they humorous?

8. Discuss Dickens' views of the French Revolution. Does he believe it was inevitable or preventable? What are his attitudes toward the French royalty and aristocrats? Toward the peasants and revolutionaries?