3 de abril de 2009

"A TALE OF TWO CITIES", Charles Dickens

As most of you know by now, you have chosen to read this novel during the Summer Term. Please buy it before Easter (I have already spoken with Tana from Pasajes Bookshop, in Genove St. to order copies for you) and start reading it, so that during the first week of the term we can do the two first chapters. I hope that you can arrange it between yourselves and distribute the four first chapters, use your lists to contact each other.

311 comentarios:

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Roberto dijo...

At last we have a comment of yours, Carmen. You certainly has a point when analyzing Mrs Defarge though I consider her to act properly according to circumstances. We are not referring to forgiveness of mere wrongs, love affairs or injustices but innocent people doomed to DIE because others’ tyranny. They must pay for such mistreatment no matter whether they have redeemed themselves.

As to friendship, I believe you do not know if your “friends” really are till you need them to do a sacrifice for you, however, we often tend to categorize people as our friends just when everything is ok.

Carmen, I think María has a list with the people supposed to join the dinner. Nevertheless, I confirm my attendance and Natalia Barcenilla’s.

GO TO THE FILM CLUB!! Thank you.

Paloma dijo...

Very interesting what you have said about Mme. Defarge and the revolutionaries.
I Agree with Carmen but, sadly, I must disagree with Maria and Roberto. Maria, in my view Mme. Defarge is a monster, she is not seeking justice, but revenge. She wants a better life for all those surrounding her, of course, but by means of assassination. For me she is a terrorist, the same as people belonging to ETA.
Roberto, I was born and brought up in an old city. We have a huge cathedral with lots of treasures from the Middle Ages up to now. Notre Dame, and, of course, Paris were as rich as Toledo and its cathedral, however there is no treasure to be found there, I mean, something belonging to the times before the revolution. You have written:“They did so but I consider it as an act of pure vengeance and revenge against every single thing which had been making their life wretched until then” They probably melted everything to have gold and silver and precious stones, but they were destroying works of art more precious and valuables as simples craftworks than as gold and silver. Where they to have been craftsmen or merchants, they would have known this, but they were not. They even destroyed the statues in the King gallery of the cathedral thinking it belonged to French kings.

María dijo...

Yes, you are right Paloma as far as Madame Defarge is concerned, though I keep my thought that her revenge is connected with what she thinks is fair. What could be questionable is her way of getting "justice". Let´s she what she does, how she does, and with what purpose, as wrong ways and manners can break people´s integrity and first good intentions.
Vengeance usually causes the worst deeds, because as if one wins or loses, there is always pain and sorrow, desperation and worry. Vengeance makes poeple´s life goes around that vengeance itself, nothing else is worth thinking of. For sure, it is better to live peacefully and to forget. But sometimes it is not possible, and people think they need to do something to solve any trouble.
What I tried to explain was that I admire people who act for what they believe, as Madame Defarge does. But I agree that if you go beyond the respect of human rights, you fail, no matter how your first intentions were. The fight itself may be necessary, but the way of fighting marks the difference.

Paloma dijo...

This morning I’ve written a long comment and I thought I had posted it, but now I’ve entered the blog again to give you some information and I realise my post is not here!!!!! Where is it? I’ve been looking for it in the theatre blog, which I’ve also visited, and it isn’t there either.
Anyway, go to this page: http://www.itests.com/web/main/Home.html it gives you your level in English. Mine has been C1 CAE. What about you?
There are also exercises for the exam in: http://www.pearsonlongman.com/exams/fce/students-activities.html

The Bandit dijo...

A piece of advice:
Go to Museo del Prado in order to see Sorolla´s exhibition. Just one word: MARVELLOUS.
Pay attention to me.
Bye.

Paloma dijo...

¿Por qué yo escribo cosas las pongo en el blog y al rato desaparecen?

Luis Martínez Salinas 5c dijo...

As I have already said, any time fits me perfectly so you can count on me.
See you Tuesday.

Luis Martínez Salinas 5c dijo...

Another mistake. I sould have said any day instead of any time. Sorry

Roberto dijo...
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Roberto dijo...

Paloma, I do not want to sound rude but I believe ETA and French Revolution have nothing in common and I dare say we must be careful when doing such statements because that is the reason why people unfamiliar with the issue usually misjudge the real situation. Anyway, I guess I would probably behave as Mrs Defarge does had I passed through the same wretched condition.

What about Chapter 22 and Foulon hunting? I could feel the agony and torment of this villain as if I were suffering it myself, another evidence that Dickens is a genius describing scenes.

Thank you for the recommendation Alberto. I really wish to see the exhibition.

Paloma dijo...

Roberto you have misunderstood what I meant. I wasn’t comparing the French Revolution with ETA. Only the behavior of those who kill others to get what they want, without judging them, following their own personal criterion. That’s what ETA does and what Mme. Defarge does.
On the other hand, there is no forgetting the cruelest period in the Revolution is called “The Terror”. In addition, ETA is a “terrorist” group, I wonder whether there is no association between both ways of acting.
I told you there had been one scene in Fuente Ovejuna that had remembered me some others which took place in France, we can see this in chapter 22 when people places Foulon and his son in law’s heads in pikes and carried tem, the same as people in the play we watched did with commander’s head. (I’m comparing neither both situation not both people, only this two images).
Roberto I agree with you about this chapter. I think there mustn’t be anything as terrible as a an enraged mob. In fact, Dickens describes very accurately so savagely women behave.

Roberto dijo...

Currently reading Chapter 24, I am obliged to pause and reflect about two facts that, at least for me, are quite interesting indeed. The first refers to Mr Darney’s character and how his real identity was deliberately granted to us many chapters ago. Thus, it is just Dr Manette and the reader who know the truth about this man’s real identity and I wonder why Dickens wanted us to discover the fact so soon in the story. The question might sound absurd but I do not understand it. Is it because Dickens wants us to have suspicion about this character from the beginning or because by doing so, he confers just to the reader a sense of danger and connexion between what is happening in both Countries and thus, increasing the thrill around our protagonists’ life?

As to the second fact, I would like to point out that, rather often, it is taking me much time to comprehend properly the subtly information Dickens reveals with his metaphors and irony. However, I love spending time trying to find out what it is covered under the surface and, the times I think I succeed in such labour, my spirits rise. I mean, it is a challenge that makes one keeps going, is it not?

I really enjoyed “Fire Rises” as well.

Roberto dijo...

Nevertheless, Dickens might also have wanted us to know that despite being involved in the misery of population by beloning to "royalty", Mr Darney showed himself opposed to his uncle and family’s tyranny. So, perhaps that is, actually, what Dickens wanted to remark.

María dijo...

Roberto, your reflections cannot be more accurate. Mr. Darnay and Dr. Manette represent the close conection between two cities. Readers know there is something strange with Darnay, which makes us be waiting to see what will happen, how the mystery will be settled. Despite the fact of knowing Darnay´s records, we are still ignorant of the precise events carried out. Particularly, I don´t trust him yet. Why Dr Manette was in prison? Has Mr. Darnay really cut off from his royal relatives? Dickens focuses on them to build the plot; two gentlemen who are surrounded by many other attractive characters that illustrate the environment of that epoch in each country. Thus, Dickens uses subtleness as the main ingredient wrapping an actual thrilling story worth analyzing.
He describes every character in different ways, offering sometimes too much information, so that we can make a proper image of some people and can be able to understand them, to feel empathy, affection, total rejection...; meanwhile he creates parallel scenes, with unknown new characters, where few information is given. Dickens provides all that is necessary for catching our attention, makes us know without really knowing, till an end I guess tremendous.

Carmen dijo...

Well, I see that you are doing very nicely with your comments, but there is something that we cannot agree with. Let us NOT COMPARE anything with the ETA!!! Paloma what you say is simply untue. Madame Defarge is a horrible character in her blindness and her inability to forgive. Her life revolves around her knitting, she uses as a kind of psychological method to remember her aggressors and her sufferings, and sufferings she had had. The memebers of the ETA have had NO WRONGS ever, at the hands of the Spanish, let alone Franco who enriched them!!! They have NEVER been hungry or poor and all the different governements have SHOWERED them with MONEY. So I will not accept this or your insistance, better drop the subject...but don´t insist.
foulon´s scene is quite terrible, indeed, this is why it is a lot better not to let things out of hand because an angry mob can be very destructive.
Evremonde..what of him? What do you think of his visit to France? Have you seen anything more stupid?? what good could he do, now that things have got out of hand? Present himself in Paris and say that he is very good and he did not share his uncle´s villanous disposition? If he is so good, why did he leave France in the first place and not stay to help his serfs???? Do you remember I disliked the haughty way in which he treated Carton? And what about his conversation with Lucy about Carton??

Paloma dijo...

I’m studying for this exam like a wild animal, and then I go to the blog and read your comments and, I assure you, I get absolutely discouraged. I feel I’d never ever be capable of writing like that. I’m not young any more, you know, and it is very difficult for me to learn new words. I’m always having trouble with vocabulary, the phrasal verbs being the main target I have to face. I do envy you, Roberto and Maria, you have the skills I lack, and there isn’t anything in this world I most envy that people who knows how to do accurately those things I have to do myself. Congratulations, I’m sure you’ll get a good mark, a very good one, indeed. It’s been really a pleasure to share this blog with you, and to have to strive every day to reach your level
After having written the last paragraph, and when I’ve gone to post it, I’ve read Carmen’s comment. I couldn’t agree more with her. I prefer Carton to Darnay a thousand times. As Carmen says, “Monsieur” is proud; he thinks he’s much better than his family members. He flies to France like a powerful saint, without pondering the possible consequences, underestimating what was happening there, even though he knows what they are doing with the nobility. He thinks he is above all the French noblemen, better than all of them (and even better than ordinary people) only because, being rich, he works for a living. But, in my view, he’s as proud as them and considers French people a group of fools who are going to do what he wants only because of his word (he hasn’t anything more), because he is who he is. How stupid! Actually he has abandoned his duties as a Landlord, he hasn’t fulfilled his target and he ought to have known that eventually he’d have to pay his debts. He’s not reflective, let alone intelligent: provided he goes to France everything will be resolved. In the end, it’s him that must be helped for those who are really noble and good.

Roberto dijo...

Paloma, do not make yourself unhappy. This is not a competition and to be honest, it is not the first time YOU blame YOURSELF for your mistakes and weaknesses when learning the language is concerned. If you are so frustrated, do not be panic. Keep going, always doing your best and you will probably overcome those “wants” you think you have.

Anyway, as to Mr Darney’s absurd decision of returning to France, I completely agree with Carmen. How can he be so short sighted? Let us analyze his behaviour: Firstly, we can see that he seems not to support both his uncle and family’s cruelty towards everyone beneath their social status and, sensible as he is about the devastating consequences which are irremediable to come, he just leaves the floor and does nothing to prevent such events from happening. Thus, he behaves like those people who complain about everything though when time for action comes, they either run away or do nothing at all. On the other hand, after achieving a much better condition in England, let us say a new life, close to happiness, he cannot avoid looking behind and see how his obscure past keeps following him wherever he goes. And when there is no escaping from such a destiny, he just thinks himself “acquitted” of any crime because of his” good intentions”. What a fool! What would have happened had there been no letter from Gabelle or whoever asking for his help? Mr Darney only sees what he wants to see.

Paloma dijo...

Why all I write it’s always misunderstood? I wasn’t speaking of competition, I was speaking of admiration!!!! I was flattering you, for heaven shake!!!! If I try to reach your level it’s because I admire you!!!!! My envy is a healthful one, it’s the one born from the contemplation of a job very well done, Haven’t you ever tried to do something as well as someone you admires?
On the other hand I wasn’t blaming myself, I was only showing where my difficulties lie. I was being honest, anything more.

Paloma dijo...

Forgive me, one more thing, I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t understand why you shout at me. Have I offended you in any way with my comment? If so, I apologise, it wasn’t my intention, but, please, don’t shout at me anymore, it makes me feel bewildered.

Roberto dijo...
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Roberto dijo...

Paloma, I was not telling you off at all; so you do not have to apologize. Nobody is perfect and we all have a long path before us to, some day, master the language. I understood you think us better than you are. Even if it BE true, I do not like to be compared with anybody.

Please, do not feel bad. We are not children any more.

Carmen dijo...

Paloma, since I think that you must know that you are not bad at all at expressing your ideas, in English, something that i´ve told you and i know, sorry to be so plain, quite a bit more than you on this, and let me add, some other subjects, do not write things like these on the blog. It is untrue...unless you are fishing for compliments!!! Anther thing who has shouted at you on the bolg?? I think that is very difficult indeed!!! Ah! and relax for your exam you and the rest, you are THE BEST, that is my fourths, so tomorrow go and show the teachers how good you are and how much you know!!!
KING HENRY V:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge..
Let the words Harry of Engalnd addessed his troops before the battle of Agincourt inspire you and ...Charge, that is get writing.
Good Luck!

Paloma dijo...

I wasn’t fishing for compliments at all!! What happen is that I’ve been studying some tips about how to write an informal letter properly and they say you have to use informal and idiomatic language and phrasal verbs. I’m aware I’m not particularly good at those things, I mean, I’ve read the examples given (Things have been getting on top of me at work lately. | It's been ages since we last managed to meet up. | What have you been up to lately? | Let me know what you think. | I'll fill you in when we next meet, etc) and these have frightened me. And then I’ve read the blog, realised how Maria and Roberto use English and thought they are pretty accomplished.
Sometimes those things happen, the more you study, the more you are aware of how many things you don’t know, and then you may get nervous.
Anyway, I really appreciate what you have told me, it encourages me. Thanks a lot. However I know I’m not the only one who has had some kind of bad path, but the only one making it public!!.

Carmen dijo...

What the hell do you mean with a bad path????? The only really worrying mistake that you have in English, and I conclude that in Sapnish as well, is a sttuborn disposition that prevents you from listening to what your "betters" tell you and a strange perseverance in trying to prove you right and the others wrong. As to English, don´t listen to many..You do not use this informal vocabulary in Sapnish either! be confident

Paloma dijo...

Perhaps I’ve looked it up wrongly in the dictionary. I didn’t know how to say in English I had had one of those moments in which you are in low spirits and I’ve found: bache = 3 (mal momento) bad time o (inglés británico) patch
I’m glad you said those constructions are odd. I found them horrible. I’ve only tried to learn them because they are in the Longman Exam dictionary, in the section in which the explain how to write informal letters and e-mails.

Carmen dijo...

I HAVE NOT SAID THAT THOSE CONTRUCTIONS ARE ODD those are YOUR WORDS. Those constructions are very common, indeed and I use them frequently. What I mean is that students who will never live in the country and will hardly ever speak with native speakers,as is your case, because you don´t mix with foreigners, should not bother to learn lots of idioms and phrasal verbs, which they will hardly ever use!!! you have enough with mastering the language for the time being, once you know your way about and feel confident then you can do the idioms

María dijo...

So beautiful an extract!! It is very encouraging indeed! Thanks for putting it on the blog.
As to the coming exam, we have to do our best, we know what we know, and what we have to do tomorrow is to show it. So don´t feel nervous (I myself take it into account). I wish you all good luck!

Paloma dijo...

I'm deeply sorry, I misunderstood you. I apologise.

Paloma dijo...

“Alea jacta est” Good luck everybody. We are bound to pass with flying colours!!!!! We are Carmen pupils and consequently we are the best as she usually tells us. The students in our year didn’t know as half as we know. We are daffodils!!!!!!!!!!!!

paloma dijo...

Teatro Infanta Isabel: El mercader de Venecia, texto original.

carmen dijo...

This is it. Courage and Charge!

YOU WILL DO WELL, show them who you really are, and...correct EVERYTHING you write. Bottle of water and a snack, it is a long afternoon!!

GOOD LUCK!

Carmen dijo...

Congratulations, you have done really well!!! Two papers two passes!!! I mean those who have attended lessons regularly, so my students, those who sat the exam only are not included in the group.

Paloma dijo...

How do you found the exam? I found it not as easy as I was expecting. Too much American English for my taste. I was really surprised when I read the first task, I found the text unfamiliar, so to say, then I relised it wasn’t British English. I don’t like American English I’m not used to reading or listening to it. Even some of the listening was in American English too!!!
I would have preferred it if there would have been more British English. Are you thought to be proficient when speaking or understanding American English? If so, then it must be more difficult than the British one, mustn’t it?
Anyway, all of us did our best and Carmen says we have done it well. Congratulations for you, mates. Maria and Roberto, you are going to go to Britain, I wish I were you!!!! However I’ll have to be satisfied with reading books, watching films and carrying on making rich Amazon.
I wish you the best there, you future will be brilliant, congratulations.
Congratulations also for Maria Luisa, she is on the point to be a mother! I wish you a good and easy labour. Have all the rest you can get, you’ll feel very tired the next two years, but, I assure you, you’ll be the happiest woman in the world too. And you can teach English to your daughter from her birth!!!!
And congratulations for Natalia as well…….!!!!!!!!!!

ELENA MARTÍNEZ 5º B dijo...

I found the exam not very easy. For me the worst part was the listening, the first one was very easy but the other two listenings were a little bit complicated. The compositions quite easy, to write a letter applying for a job and a composition talking about friendship, We have talk in class many times about friendship. The readings more or less, I think!!!. I Hope that the oral one would we easy, but I´m sure that my class mates will pass all of the.. GOOD LUCK FOR TOMORROW ;-)!!!

María dijo...

Exams are usually unjust as they don´t show our real knowledge, I think. In four hours I tried to do my best, but then I always feel I have not done as well as I should. Does this happen to you?? This feeling has made me more conciuous of the great effort I must make from now on so that to overcome not only my difficulties, but also my nerves.
I also wish you good luck for tomorrow!

María Luisa dijo...

Thanks Paloma. I’ll send you photos when the baby be here. I know that my next years will be hard and sometimes difficult but I am very happy. Thanks again.

Carmen dijo...

Three papers everyone has passed
5B and 5C. Caongratulations!!!
Good luck tomorrow!!!!

Roberto dijo...

Thank you Carmen for informing us!

Good luck today!

maria luisa dijo...

Thank you Carmen.

Good luck for today!!!

ELENA MARTÍNEZ 5º B dijo...

THANK YOU CARMEN. WELL DONE EVERYBODY!!!!

GOOD LUCK TODAY!!!

Carmen dijo...

Those of you who go to see the marks on the 23rd, when we publish them, and bought a ticket for The Merchant of Venice, can collect them in the Department. I will take the tickets there on Monday.
Next week we will continue discussing the novel and I´m going to post something in English from the maerchant. Does anyone want to read the play before we see it?
It´s very worthwhile!

REMEMBER NOT TO ASK FOR A REVISION OF YOUR EXAM IF YOU HAVE PASSED!!

María dijo...

I have a lot of catching up to do! I have just finished chapter 22. This chapter showing the vengeance itself (embodied by a woman, I wonder why...) which in turn brought happiness to the people, the previous chapter has amazed me. I loved Dickens´ way of mixing two scenes by the echoing footsteps. Reading it you can feel the roar, the murmur of which reached Lucie´s ears.
I wanted to remark three paragraphs at the middle of chapter 22 (page 224) in which the first starts like that: "Deep ditches, double drawbridge, massive stone walls, eight great towers, cannon, muskets, fire and smoke...". The next one: "Deep ditch, single drawbridge, massive stone walls, eight great towers, cannon, muskets, fire and smoke. One drawbridge down!". And the third: "Cannon, muskets, fire and smoke; but, still the deep ditch, the single drawbridge, the massive stone walls, and the eight great towers".
These three paragraphs are fantastic! You can plainly see how the mob as the raging sea, advances towards the Bastille, slowly but heavily, as a wave which seems harmless but actually swallows up, being lethal.

María dijo...

By the way, reading The merchant would be wonderful!

Roberto dijo...
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Roberto dijo...

María, it is very metaphoric indeed and, as you say, you can feel the blow of such an uncontrollable and devastating sea.

“In Secret”, FIRST CHAPTER BOOK THE 3rd, makes us witnesses of Mr Darney’s perils of his journey to Paris, risking everything in so absurd a mission. How can he be so ignorant concerning to what is going on in France? He is obviously blinded by believing himself untouchable because of his “good will and deeds” of the past. On the other hand, there is something which made me amazed when reading the chapter. When Darney “is introduced” to the other monsieurs imprisoned in La Force, he sees them as ghosts and just as the shadow of their former grandeur which is not to come back any more. What an impressive description! With that scene, Dickens portraits the fall of the nobility magnificently

Roberto dijo...

“The Grindstone”, an interesting chapter indeed. I did not know the word and was eager to find out how Dickens managed to introduced us so ominous an object. After reading several times the passage in which the grindstone appears, I got amazed. It seemed as if I were standing by Mr Lorry and Dr Manette’s side and could see the scene.

I have also noticed that Dickens masters the skill of linking places, characters and situations gradually, with no sudden turns or leaps, like a river flow crossing different places in its way down. In just few pages, he shortens time and gathers the main characters, Mr Lorry, Dr Manette, Lucie and Mr Darney into the same path. Impressive!!

Roberto dijo...
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Roberto dijo...
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Roberto dijo...

There being no common agreement regarding how to split the novel, you can see that I keep posting comments as I read new chapters. So, those of you who are loyal to this thread but are behind chapter 3 of Book the third, please overlook these posts.

“The shadow”, threatening to stir Lucie’s placid world, grants us two perspectives equally reasonable about what is considered right, what seems to be right and what is not. Mrs Defarge portraits the picture of a woman cruel, unfair and sufficient. On the other hand, Mrs Darney shows herself as the eternal “victim” before whom everybody seems to be obliged to kneel down, pitying and yielding to her. Thus, I wonder why it must be so. Many times those who act according to justice, truth and mere facts are believe as "the bad" whilst it is "the others" who deserve receiving a dose of reality!

Elena dijo...

Well, I just finished the novel last night. I liked it very much, I think this is one of those books you never forget... I will try to keep posting some comments about it in the blog.

Still, I have to say that sometimes I was overwhelmed by not understanding the vocabulary, which made it harder for me to follow the descriptions.

By the way, I'm watching a series called "Joan of Arcadia" and in the last chapters I've seen, there have been references to The Wasteland, Hamlet, and A Tale of Two Cities... Very impressive!

A poem by Emily Dickinson was also quoted. You might know it. I liked it very much.

Faith — is the Pierless Bridge
Supporting what We see
Unto the Scene that We do not —
Too slender for the eye

It bears the Soul as bold
As it were rocked in Steel
With Arms of Steel at either side —
It joins — behind the Veil

To what, could We presume
The Bridge would cease to be
To Our far, vacillating Feet
A first Necessity.

Carmen dijo...

well, first of all hello! I´m sorry I´ve disappeared for quite a while but the end of term has been hectic and I had to do more work than the rest of the teachers as I had to transcribe all the marks to do the minits, I hope I got the spelling right!!and then I had a studetn from the British Council School doing a workshadowing and I´ve had to be with her permanently!!! Then, my daughter was leaving for a camp (you cannot imagine who is there...)and I had a party at home, well quite a big one indeed, and there were the flowers, and the catering, and the "beautifying" business, and...now I can try to catch up a bit. We´ve been through the marriage and the relapse...why? there must be some conection with Dr. Manette and the aristocracy of France, don´t you think?? Could it be the Evremonde´s themselves?
Roberto has mentioned the departure of Charles to France as something far from wise. Let me tell you it is STUPID. he is an aristocrat!!!! And what is the good of trying to prove anything to a mass of brutes who have been starved by the said aristocrats? this is just another instance of how silly Charles was, fit to be...a teacher!!! and nothing else. He knows nothing of the human soul or heart, I told you a very uninteresting man. Or would he think that because he left his possessions he woild be exhoerated?? he would have been had he stayed, not ran away to safe old England!!!
Secondly I would like you to think about whether Lucie is included in the pack? Remember the conversation in the inn between the Defarges, when they received the news of their marriage??
María you ahve picked on those very descriptions that Dickens is famous for the way he uses the sea and the footsteps to describe, metaphorically, the revolution that would engulf Lucie´s life.
The description, Roberto, of the prisoners is superb, they are so well represented the young, the old, it´s one of my favourites.
Elena I am of the same opinion, it is an unforgetable ending, don´t you think ? those last chapters..

María dijo...

Hello, well, it seems that here we are, the same people as last summer... just a few... Elena, you are still with us, and you have finished the novel!
The novel is getting more and more interesting. I have just finished first chapter of the third book in which Charles Darnay comes back to Paris and I agree with you that he is quite stupid. The same as he left his position without thinking too much, he now has gone full of good intentions but finding the worst consequences. That what happens when doing things without reflecting or planning. What did he think it was going to happen, he belonging to the sentenced "in secret"??

maría dijo...

That IS what happens, I meant

María dijo...

Had I been Mr Lorry I would have suffered a heart attack for sure in so tremendous a situation. He is in Paris for business and does not expect any visit nor anyone known were where he was, among atrocity, hatred and revolution. Despite his feeling in safe in that place, well protected, he was frightened, no wonder, by seeing the bloody scene at the grindstone. Mr. Lorry´s age must be noticed, he is old and so many overexcitements could mean the worst. The scene where beasts are sharpening weapons is, as Roberto says, ominous. A fact that makes Mr Lorry feel the deepest relief by knowing for certain his loved ones are not with him, seeing the grindstone... But suddenly, there they are, Manette and Lucie, and little Lucie and Miss Pross. The lot together for saving Charles, the idiot of the family. Is this not enough to suffer a heart attack?
It is very good the connection between different reds: wine, blood and dawn´s light. Dickens is a poet, a master of metaphors.

María dijo...

Ms Defarge´s shadow has wrapped Lucie in an uneasy desperation. Both the unsuccessful or the fortunate depend on Ms Defarge´s pointing at with her knitting-needle, like the rule of a teacher when punishing a bad child, as if it were a sceptre, the symbol of command. It is she that has the power and Lucie has noticed it and knows she is the one who has to be afraid of.
Here we have, again, a clash between justice and mercy. Will Ms Defarge have the capacity of being merciful or believe herself to have the right of applying justice?

María dijo...

"Calm in Storm" is the exaltation of the contrast. Magnificently, DIckens gains to praise the figure of Doctor Manette as something good in the middle of the revolution. Despite the circumstances, Doctor Manette has found in coming back to Paris the ending of a cycle. He has recovered his identity, his self-esteem, by finding an occupation, by being praised by mobs, by feeling himself useful, doing something which none could do better, as Mr Lorry points out. I know people who live without really living, who don´t know where to go, what to do nor how to do it, how to be happy on their own, people without a complete personality which prevents them from feeling fulfilled, doomed to be wretched for ever. Doctor Manette, at Paris, feels fulfilled. He is the Calm in the Storm, that´s how I see it.
On the other hand, I did like the way Dickens shows the change in the revolutionaries´ minds and beliefs. The Cross being replaced by the Guillotine, they exchanged their faith in redemption for the faith in death. A great chapter indeed.

Carmen dijo...

MARÍA you have picked out the really good descriptions of these chapters. I think that Dickens grasps the atmosphere of a revolution really well and we feel, as we read, the irationality of it all.
Madame Defarge´s shadow covering Lucie, includes her as part of those to take revenge on. I also think that it is going to be very interesting to see whether Madame is capable of mercy...somehow it is too high a feeling for such a basic personality.
As to Charles, he does appear to be a fool, now dependaent only on what the Doctor can do for him, i wonder if there is anything one can do against such negative ardour. We´ll see...

Roberto dijo...

Your perspective, both Carmen and María’s, are quite interesting indeed and they have made me reflect about some points in this magnificent tale I had overlooked so far. I do not know why but I cannot and do not sympathize either with Charles Darney nor Lucie Manette. To be honest, they are rather unsubstantial to me. The imprisoned following such foolish behaviour and Mrs Darney just made to love and nothing else give you a sense of apathy towards their condition.

You are right María, at length Dr Manette “strikes back” and, restored to life, there is no defeating his determination and power. However, PLEASE DO NOT READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVE NOT REACH CHAPTER 6, Dickens, on purpose I dare say, moves us forward into the story, quickly; thus everything appears to turn out well. I wonder why. Besides, Dr Manette’s past and his unjust concealment keeps being a mystery yet to disclose. What about Mrs Defarge? Her shadow threatening to spoil Lucie’s world, up to now, seems not to have reached the latter. Having reached Chapter 7, “A knock at the door”, I feel Master Dickens wants us to experience thrill and anxiety once more.

By the way, scarcely does Miss Pross appear in the story though in the chapter mentioned above, in just a few lines, she is perfectly portrayed. I like so peculiar a woman as Mr Lorry noticed some time ago. The only one who says what everyone is thinking about but nobody dares to say aloud.

One more thing. Dickens is really a master describing scenes as you have wisely said. There is not any single element set apart and metaphors and irony join the former to frame a perfect portrait of such cruel a period.

María dijo...

No sooner was Darnay saved than I thought something more had to happen with it. It could not be so easy to get a happy ending in such twisted time. However, I cannot understand why they didn´t run away after the acquittal. They have remained there and Darnay has been arrested again. Well, Defarges would not have let them leave Paris...
From now on everything will be step by step discovered. "A hand of cards" has brought us two old characters: one of them, the well-known Sydney Carton, willing to play the losing game to let Doctor Manette play the winning one (Is he sacrificing himself for the others´ good once more time?); the second character is Basard, the damn spy who is not other than Miss Pross´ brother!!! Who had imagined it??? I am amazed with such relation! And what about Cly?? Mr Lorry and Mr Carton were amazed by Mr Cruncher´s precious information! Oh I am going to continue reading.
By the way, Roberto, what do you mean when saying that Miss Pross says what nobody dares? Are you referring to last chapters?? Nice to see you here again!

Carmen dijo...

A very good analysis, Roberto i perceive that you really understand and appreciate Dickens. yes A knock on the door is thrilling, after the very enthusiastic "I have saved him" Evremonde is seized again!!What can it all mean? He has been denounced once again!!! Miss Pross is wonderful, as I have said before the uninteresting her and heroine are in deep contrast with the fantastic second characters, Pross being one of them, Jerry, Master Cruncher, and Lorry and Madame Defarge..is she susceptible to mercy? Something that assimilates us to God? and what about Sydney Carton? Do you think that such a one is good in the middle of the revolution?

María dijo...

Well, I have finished the novel and I am completely amazed. So much information I have now that I don´t know what to say. I have read the last six or seven chapters in a row and I have every piece of information mixed in my mind. As you, Roberto, are the only one who remains loyal to the blog, say where you are reading and then we comment it; I don´t want to be a spoiler.

Roberto dijo...
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Roberto dijo...

You are right María; just the two of us and Carmen (thank you) keep enjoying this marvellous blog. I am reading “Hand at cards” and must say that I need to reread such an amazing chapter. Sidney Carton appearing again on the stage, I cannot but considering him as another very interesting character. What fascinating support Darney’s family has found on this man. We may ascertain once more that those thought as lacking of virtues and seen just as mere “farderls” become much more useful and deserving of respect and admiration than the others who seem to play “the leading role” in life. On the other hand, I love those situations in which a group, formed by quite different people both in character and skills, must work as a team to overcome difficulties, all of them making good use of their talents in the right time. Finally, the way Dickens presents us how the supporting characters are going to face a new challenge, as if it were a play of cards, is impressive. Tension, adventure, anxiety and thrill mix up to make us feel part of the team. Bravo!

María dijo...

You are very right Roberto as far as Carton is concerned. From the part he reappears in scene on senses come to the surface, as he is the most interesting character whom, despite his not being mentioned very times on the whole plot, readers know perfectly well and feel secure when he is there, as if because of his being wherever, nothing wrong could happen. I adore his impressive character.
The other day, at the meeting, we agreed that we may comment the novel, step by step, chapter by chapter, from the first one of the third book. But Raquel, Cristina, and Luis, you must write!!! Luis, do you see that it is not over???? We are still a team!!

María dijo...

"many times", I meant

María dijo...

I have been thinking about the team you mentioned, Roberto, and I have resolved that whereas many different characters are introduced, all of them moves by strong feelings which drive them toward the objective they want to gain. The strongest feeling showed in the novel is love. Good deeds come from love. Love makes them carry on, sometimes in a crazy way, showing mere thoughtlessness though good intentions -in Darnay´s case when coming back to Paris-, other times catching the reason as the main weapon and the certainty that to play with love provides the strength enough to solve any trouble, to crush any opponent -Miss Pross, Mr. Lorry and Mr. Carton´s actions-. They, together with Dr. Manette, conform the team which fights. While Darnay and Lucie are just mere spectators of the game, as if they were the bidders that look at the game, and whose lives depend on the result, but they are inactive, don´t take part, don´t help towards the victory, but simply receive either the reward or the failure. They should be incredibily thankful for having such a team fighting for them around, they win or not... Their sacrifice is worth praising.

Luis Martínez Salinas dijo...

THE TRACK OF A STORM

Charles Darnay is in his way from London to Paris. I wonder what makes him go to Paris. Is it the appeal from Monsieur Gabelle that is in prison in Paris? Has Mr Stryver had anything to do with his decision? It is the previous chapter that says about it. Anyway, the way to Paris is full of obstacles. Every town-gate and village taxing-house has its band of citizen-patriots. He perceives that he will not return unless he is declared a good citizen at Paris. He will, as an aristocrat, be escorted to Paris, and he will have to pay for it. After several incidents, at last, he gets to the wall of Paris. At the barrier, being asked his papers, the escort is ordered to return, and it is Defarge that conducts him to the guard-room. In it, after checking the prisoner is the emigrant Evrémonde, the officer consigns him to the prison of La force with the words “in secret” on the papers. Mr Charles Darnay argues that he has come there voluntarily. When he is about to leave, Defarge tells the prisoner that he keeps a wine-shop, so Mr Darnay says that it was his house to which his wife came to reclaim her father. Defarge says why Mr Darnay has come to Paris. However, he refuses to help Mr Darnay. Being in La Force, and in his way to his cell, Mr Darnay passes trough a chamber crowded of prisoners both sexes. They all seemed to be waiting for their dismissal from the desolate shore. He is now alone in his cell. Sick feelings toss and roll upward from the depths of his mind, and he will walk faster and faster, and counting and counting.

Maria, to be a team is necessary some people. As long as some of you write, I’ll keep writing

María dijo...

Well Luis, I cannot promise that the others are going to write, but I promise I´ll do it. So just with two people we have already a team! Don´t you think so??
As to your question, it was the fact that Monsieur Gabelle was in troubles that made Darnay come back to Paris. Gabelle was at Monseignor´s service, thus Defarges have not forgotten nor forgiven him, and Darnay goes to solve the situation, to take him out of the prison, thinking that as he refused his provileged position, he would not be among the condemned.
As to Mr. Stryver, I don´t know what you mean. He only commiserated with French aristocrats, doesn´t he?
Monsieur Defarge said previously that he wished Darnay didn´t come back to Paris, for his sake. By saying that, he expressed some pity and mercy, so to say. However, it was the only condition Darnay should have fulfilled, but he didn´t do so. Now he has to bear the fatal consequences...

María dijo...
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María dijo...

After watching the film, made in 1936, based on the novel, I can´t but feel a great disappointment. Thank God I have read the book before! I have been always told that films which are adaptations are not worth seing before reading the novel lest we are not disappointed. However, I couldn´t imagine that it was possible to make so outrageous a film.
Every piece of information is given when it must not be known. The novel showing relevant revelations at the accurate moment, making us vibrate, be moved and feel the tension, the film provides all the information about the characters since the very beginning, which I don´t understand at all. The adaptation loses what grants the novel its greatness. Furthermore, Carton at the film appears as the idiot, which is actually the best character, the most interesting, in my opinion, whereas Darnay and Lucie appear praised, the handsomest main characters, as if they were the embodiment of goodness which suffers the injustice on their own flesh. As to madame Defarge, I have not felt the dread seing the film, and since the first scene where she appears, you know what her knitting means! Quite a bad film for those who like Dicken´s tale.

María dijo...

Dickens´ tale

Roberto dijo...

Precisely María, Darney and Lucie are just the means to let the rest of characters move on within this thrilling game. I believe Darney tried to do which was right when deciding to come back to France, however, he just does not see that some times in life you have to think twice before risking so much because there is always a world behind you that may break down. I mean, our decisions and their consequences tend to affect those sharing our life and I wonder what is better: to sacrifice yourself for those you love or to do what you think right.

Have you noticed that “Hand at Cards” gathers the most interesting characters in the novel? In spite of the fact that Mr Lorry, Mr Carton, Mr Cruncher and Miss Pross seem to portrait the role of anti-hero, they give support, confidence and loyalty to the protagonists, doing whatever necessary to shelter those uninteresting lives.

Dickens using “the game” to invite us to get involved more deeply in this amazing story, I could not but become astonished when I was witness of such a prodigious situation. Few films have ever been able to present so masterfully a scene even though they have the sight and sound to create a masterpiece for the senses. You might thing, this paragraph is nonsense but I assure you that I felt impressed when reading this chapter.

María dijo...
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María dijo...

I share your opinion about the chapter you mention, this novel is full of grandiose chapters indeed.
It is very interesting what you say about the eternal dilemma: wheter to do what you think must be done or to maintain yourself static to prevent your current situation from getting worse. Both choices have their consequences. I think that you must have autonomy in acts and thoughts and the ability of taking your own decisions, but, irreparablily, our decisions affect directly some around us. But sometimes our conscience prevails over what keeps us comfortable. For Darnay, it would have been more comfortable to stay at home, in London, and to forget Gabelle´s letter. Nevertheless, he believed there was a better way: to go to save him. Never did he think about the consequences of going to a country where a revolution was being carried out. There is a sentence that fits him perfectly: “So good was he that was close to idiocy”, if you accept the translation. You have the key: to think twice.
Darnay´s family and friends had to put up with him and to come up with any plan which helped to return to the quiet, peaceful, previous normality. What they didn´t know was the price they would have to pay.

marta dijo...

I just want to congratulate Roberto. It is fantastic that you are going to finish your degree in Britain, you´ve done a great job. I´m sure that it´ll be a success and I think that you have taken a great step that will lead you to a different and very profitable future.
I also want to congratulate Carmen who has greatly helped to reach this goal, you make a good team.
Love

Roberto dijo...

You are very kind Marta and I sincerely appreciate such a flattering comment. You have been very nice to me during the time I spent in EOI and I cannot overlook your encouragement both within the blog and the school. I had not ever fancied I could make this dream come true but Carmen came across my path and showed me the way to success. I just had to follow her “map” with effort and perseverance. And I must say that the latter, hard work and endurance, do not involve any special skill or talent. However, finding the former, so to say the guider, few times occurs in lifetime.

THE OTHERS dijo...

MARIA SAID:"It is remarkable his capacity of transmiting peace and unity with his words, he persuades any audience with his statements, and I think it is relevant that he pronounces his speech by heart, which gives more credibility". HAVE YOU INFORMED YOURSELF PROPERLY ON THE NEW WORLD ORDER?, MARIA PLEASE! http://www.documentalizate.com/the-obama-deception/

Roberto dijo...

It is always very easy to criticize those who “take the floor” to express their point of view openly while “the others” just hide themselves behind a shelter and do not dare to say theirs only willing to ridicule the former. How pathetic!

Anónimo dijo...

THE OTHERS = P.L.MA?

María dijo...

I am really shocked. Whoever the others are, if you have decided to come back to the blog, don´t worry, people change their mind, so do it openly and if you want we can talk about the issue "face to face". I strongly agree with Roberto. Please, we are adults so don´t sign with nicknames any more.

Carmen dijo...

Hi, I´m back from home, where I´ve spent a week and the North where I spent a long weeek-end, so I´m a little disconnected. You are discussing Darnay and I agree with Roberto, when he says that a person has to think twice before doing something. Darnay goes back to France to find his way into prison and death, and he shows no resistance at all in what remids me a bit of the Jews´ inability to react before the Germans in World War II. What could he do? He could refuse to do as he was ordered!risking death, undoubtedly but he just follows the tide and finds himself in prison! Darnay left France before instead of remaining and helping his serfs, which would have perhaps changed his destiny. That, would, of course have been another novel!!
Thanks to Roberto and Marta for your praise, but let´s understand once and for all that you, Roberto, did it. There were other people in the same situation as Roberto, that is a very limited level in English, coming from That´s English, even, who have studied but have not reached such proficiency! Without the effort and dedication you have shown, me or another teacher would have made no difference at all.
As to that funny post signed "The others", hello, Paloma! After a long absence you are back, always yourself, this is why I have recognized you!! Why didn´t you use your name? You were quite strange the last times we´ve seen you, I wonder why? Are you cross with us? You are very welcome to use this blog, as you have always been, but use your name so that we can talk and exchange ideas!!! By the way how are your friends and dog? As I said before, very difficult to go back...It seems to me that you have got yourself out of something you really enjoyed, your English and us..why? It´s easier to admit this to yourself and go back to join the fun!! but use your name so that we can exchange comments and ideas, that´s is the objective of this blog!

carmen dijo...

María, You´ve seen a film and do not like it!! No wonder there is very little chance that a film can surpass Dickens´descriptions and analysis of character. I may have seen the same because I recognize the annoying discovery of the main mystery at the beginning as well, however, Carton, unfortunately played by a homosexual, can´t remember his name but he was in "Il portieri di notte", is a very difficult role as he has many shades to it and although we tend to sympathize with him as readers, we cannot like him as women or, let´s admit it as men. Remember Mr. Lorry was quite annoyed by his ways as well as the haughty Darnay in the conversation that takes place after his first acquital, in London. Carton cannnot be a favourite until we see him in France, then he becomes heroic.
A tale of two cities is certainly about love but it is also about rebirth and resurrection, don´t you think? Where can we see this?

Cristina dijo...

Hello!
Yesterday I finished the book, and María you were right, the last chapters are amazing, you can’t put it down. The more you read the more you want to know the end (although when Carton appears you can imagine what’s going to happen.)
This book is about love, revenge, sacrifice and, of course, about resurrection. What is the only thing which will remain after my death? Only the memories of people who loved me. Dickens points out the importance of being remembered and you can feel the sadness and melancholy of Carton. Have the readers of the blog finished the book? because I don’t want to write about the end.

(Congratulations Roberto!)

María dijo...

Yes Cristina, we must comment everything as soon as everybody reads the book. The end is impressive indeed.
Carmen, the name of the actor who performed the role of Carton in the film I watched is Ronald Colman, and I did not know he was a "boy".
I liked Carton since his addressing Lucie assuring that he would keep beside her for ever. Do not you agree that it is a good reason why to start liking someone?

Carmen dijo...

The actor I was thinking about is not Mr. Colman. I cannot recollect his name but I told you the film he was in, which is very famous.
I also think that the turning point in the reader´s attitude to Carton is that very honest conversation he has with Lucie. My feeling for Carton started in the dinner he shares with Darnay, no, I think I liked him since the trial, I´ve always liked intelligent men, that´s why I married Pedro! I have always liked men to confess their feelings and not regret having done it; the typical "cock" I´ve always disliked, you often find them to have an inferiority complex.
Cristina, I´m so glad that you´ve liked the novel, what can we discuss without spoiling the end to those who are still reading? What about the acquital of Evremonde, the second time he is freed from death, remember his experience in London, and his sudden seizure again. Those words I have saved him which become exactly the opposite as it is Dr. Manette the very person to condemn them to the last of their race. What does that imply? What is the consequence of not forgiving? Have you thought about this?

RAquel dijo...

I have just finished the novel as well. It was thrilling and awesome, although I am agree wtih Cristina, it was a litte predictible when Carlton appears in the prison of Conciergerie. What about Mrs Defarge? Ruthless and incapable of feeling pity or forgiveness.
In conclusion, a magnificient, splendid novel .

Raquel dijo...

I forgot to congratulate Roberto. You have done a big work and have studied very hard. You deserve it. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Luis Martínez Salinas dijo...

I have not finished the novel yet. I am reading chapter XI, “Dusk”, and I have almost forgotten that I am reading a book as it is catching my imagination. Lucie, cheering her husband up; Doctor Manette, kneeling in front of his daughter and his son-in-law; then, at home, little Lucie, “Oh Carton, you will do something to save papa.” Try and read it aloud. It is impressive.
As far as Mr Charles Darnay is concerned, I think “Drawn to the loadstone rock” is the key chapter to understand what Mr Charles Darnay is like. In “The game made”, what Mr Cruncher tells Mr Lorry regarding his extra activity that makes the later change his mind about the former is remarkable. “Jerry,” said Mr Lorry. “Come here”
I only have four chapters left before finishing; the denouement is there. I presume it will be most moving.

Roberto dijo...

“The reading done”

What a novel! I am not an expert at all when analyzing books as I have not studied literature, nor even posses a proper knowledge of the huge range of novels written so far so as to categorize this one as a masterpiece, nor the reasons why a novel might be considered so; BUT I do believe this is a perfect novel which satisfy even the most exquisite and demanding tastes.

The first thing which made me amazed is the fact that Dickens has a talent to narrate. How easily the reader see so many characters, places and situations perfectly joined like the machinery of a luxuriant Swiss watch. The plot, always wisely split so that we get surprised and keep the anxiety to know what is to happen next, is managed by Dickens skilfully. He leads us to the path he pleases. However, I cannot overlook the most enchanting feature of this thrilling novel of his: scenes described so accurately and masterfully that you feel not only within the situation itself but also the feelings, tension, pressure, joy, sadness, anxiety and everything conveyed by just reading some lines.

Let me now comment the last chapters (THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT FINISHED THE NOVEL YET, PLEASE AVOID READING THE NEXT PARAGRAPHS!!!)

1 Mr Cruncher’s speech:
It took me five or six times to foresee what this odd character wanted to explain to Mr Lorry regarding his “secret business”. May I have your opinion about the issue? I am able to pick up the essence of such a discourse but not the information behind the surface.

2 Mr Carton’s mission:
Despite the fact that you may guess what “his last hand” to save his beloved’s husband is (remember the first trial in London), I cannot but admiring this sort of people who risk their wretched lives for others more fortunate.

3 Mrs Defarge:
Is she right by being determined to exterminate those connected with her family’s tragedy and suffering? It might be so, but his husband has a point when he says that we must put a stop somewhere. The question is, Who has the right to doing so?

4 The end:
of the book is really peaceful and full of beauty, as I have been told. Few times in my experience as a reader have I finished a novel with so plain an end though great in its simplicity.

5 Miss Pross vs. Mrs Degarge:
Now that I have read the chapters all and considering most of them as masterpieces, I want to choose “The knitting done” as my favourite one. The duel between Mrs Defarge and Miss Pross is exactly what I was wishing to happen and in spite of the sympathy I have always felt for the former, it is Miss Pross who always interested me as a vital character providing a shelter for our protagonists. The REAL shelter, a woman even stronger physically and mentally than Mrs Defarge.

NOTE: I beg your pardon for I have not read your last comments yet. In my next post, I will answer you all.

Raquel dijo...

I am rereading the novel because I felt I read it in a rush and I missed too many descriptions. What a pleasure, I'm delighting in the description of the situation of people in Paris before the French REvolution. What an extraordinary use of adjetives! and What an splendid portrait of this epoch!

Luis Martínez Salinas dijo...

Darkness.

Sydney Carton is to be at Tellson’s banking-house that afternoon at nine. His father-in-law is supposed to be there at that time. In the meantime, he thinks he must be known by the people there, and of course, looking better than he is used to. He goes to the whine-shop. There are no customers. The Defarges, the Vengeance, and Jacques Three, they are all in conversation. Asking for a glass of wine, Sidney Carton pretends to know very little French. Madam Defarge notices that that customer looks like Evrémonde and she says that there must not be a stop. Defarge says that it is enough, but she adds that her husband found the paper of today in the Bastille when it fell. At that point I am puzzled. Was there anything relevant for our story in One hundred and five, North Tower, when the Bastille fell? It is said, “…, and in a crevice in the chimney into which his weapon had slipped or wrought itself, he groped with a cautious touch.” Can we infer from this, that the paper of today was there? If not, from what other sentence? The night the Bastille falls, the Defarges reading the paper, Madam Defarge reveals that she was the young sister whom her brother had taken away beyond the reach of the Marquis’s brother, and that the dead people there was her family. Has Sidney Carton heard what the four people have been talking about? Sidney Carton getting to Mr Lorry house, Doctor Manette has not arrived yet. In the end, well past twelve o’clock, Dr Manette enters the room. Looking at him, without a word, the two men understand that all is lost. Once again, the doctor says, “Where is my bench? I must finish those shoes.”
Having taken his coat off, the Doctor lets it drop on the floor. The two men try to sooth and make him sit before the fire, and when Mr Carton bends down to pick the coat up a folded paper falls on the floor. He reads it, but before saying what it says, he takes another paper from his coat. It is a certificate which enables him to pass out of Paris. He
asks Mr Lorry to keep it for him until the following day. Then, he gives Mr Lorry the paper from the Doctor’s coat, a similar paper enabling the Doctor, his daughter and her child to pass the barrier and the frontier. Mr Carton strongly recommends Mr Lorry tell Lucie that very night that their lives are in danger, that there is going to be a denunciation involving the whole family. So, early next morning, Mr Lorry must have the horses ready and they must live Paris at two o’clock. Agreeing with everything Sidney Carton has just said, Mr Lorry asks: “I understand that I wait for you under all circumstances?” Sidney Carton says, “Wait for nothing but to have my place occupied, and then for England!”
The afflicted heart is in the other house. Looking up at the light in the window of her room, Sidney Carton remembers when he revealed his desolate hearth to her, and before going away, he bids a farewell to her.

Luis Martínez Salinas dijo...

Sorry, I wrote very badly when Madam Defarge is speaking in the whine shop, so I've rewritten the comment again. Please, accept my apologies.

Darkness.

Sydney Carton was to be at Tellson’s banking-house that afternoon at nine. His father-in-law was supposed to be there at that time. In the meantime, he thought he should be known by the people there, and of course, looking better than he was used to. He went to the whine-shop. There were no customers. The Defarges, the Vengeance, and Jacques Three, they were all in conversation. Asking for a glass of wine, Sidney Carton pretended to know very little French. Madam Defarge noticed that that customer looked like Evrémonde and she said that there should not be a stop. Defarge said that it was enough, but she added that her husband had found the paper of today in the Bastille when it fell,that that very night they both read the paper, that she revealed that she was the young sister whom her brother had taken away beyond the reach of the Marquis’s brother, and that the dead people there was her family.
At that point I am puzzled. Was there anything relevant for our story in One hundred and five, North Tower, when the Bastille fell? It is said, “…, and in a crevice in the chimney into which his weapon had slipped or wrought itself, he groped with a cautious touch.” Can we infer from this, that the paper of today was there? If not, from what other sentence? Anyway, Did Sidney Carton hear what the four people had been talking about? Sidney Carton getting to Mr Lorry house, Doctor Manette had not arrived yet. In the end, well past twelve o’clock, Dr Manette entered the room. Looking at him, without a word, the two men understood that all was lost. Once again, the doctor said, “Where is my bench? I must finish those shoes.”
Having taken his coat off, the Doctor let it drop on the floor. The two men tried to sooth and make him sit before the fire, and when Mr Carton bent down to pick the coat up a folded paper fell on the floor. He read it, but before saying what it said, he took another paper from his coat. It was a certificate which enabled him to pass out of Paris. He
asked Mr Lorry to keep it for him until the following day. Then, he gave Mr Lorry the paper from the Doctor’s coat, a similar paper enabling the Doctor, his daughter and her child to pass the barrier and the frontier. Mr Carton strongly recommended Mr Lorry tell Lucie that very night that their lives were in danger, that there was going to be a denunciation involving the whole family. So, early next morning, Mr Lorry should have the horses ready and they should live Paris at two o’clock. Agreeing with everything Sidney Carton had just said, Mr Lorry asked: “I understand that I wait for you under all circumstances?” Sidney Carton says, “Wait for nothing but to have my place occupied, and then for England!”
The afflicted heart was in the other house. Looking up at the light in the window of her room, Sidney Carton remembered when he revealed his desolate hearth to her, and before going away, he bade a farewell to her.
Sorry again

Roberto dijo...

Thank you both Cristina and Raquel. You are very kind!

You are right Cristina, Dickens points out that we all must die sooner or later and it is what we have done for other that will remain in time.

María, sometimes words are not enough and time only may prove them to be facts and not mere promises.

Carmen, I believe we all should forgive but I am afraid that under so wretched condition as Mrs Defarge had to pass through, she might have the right to act as she does because it is she and nobody else who has suffered so. Nevertheless, I daresay the consequences of endless vengeance leads to nothing else but more vengeance. His husband has a point when saying there must be a stop somewhere though I think we should also ask ourselves who is the person with the right/power to establish the limit?

Luis, I had not picked up the reason why Mr Carton made up his mind to show himself before “the enemy” until I had listened to the audio book and checked how both Defarges notice his resemblance between him and the imprisoned. Not any loose end. Bravo!

By the way, it surprised me that the narration, always done by means of a third person outside the story, is suddenly done by Mr Lorry himself and that Mrs Defarge uses the present form to relate why there is no stooping her.

Luis Martínez Salinas dijo...

Regarding Mr Lorry‘s threats to Mr Cruncher, and Mr Cruncher’s explanation, no matter how difficult these paragraphs could be, and, of course, for me they are, I take for granted that they must be extraordinary. Think about how different both men are, and about the unexpected result of a telling-off.

“Jerry,” says Mr Lorry. “Come here”
Mr Cruncher has taken an active part in “A hand at cards” but, because of this, Mr Lorry finds out what job Mr Cruncher has been doing besides being a messenger: an unlawful occupation of an infamous description. So, Mr Cruncher must expect neither Mr Lorry to be his friend nor Mr Lorry to keep his secret.
At this point, Mr Cruncher gives his considerations about the subject in such a way that Mr Lorry will cry, rather relenting, nevertheless, “I am shocked at the sight of you”
Then Mr Cruncher asks Mr Lorry to let his son do his job. He will do the other job.
Finally, Mr Cruncher’s further considerations must have been so convincing that Mr Lorry says: “That at least is true. Say no more now. It may be that I shall yet stand your friend, if you deserve it, and repent in actions-not in words”
What a change!

In book the third, chapter IX, Mr Defarge informs the Tribunal that when the Bastille fell, he went to the cell known as One Hundred and Five, North Tower. He resolved to examine it. In a hole in the chimney, where a stone had been worked out and replaced, he found the written paper. Is that true? Could the reader say so after reading, book the second, chapter XXI?

María dijo...
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María dijo...

Luis, that day when Defarge and Jacques groped for something hidden at the well-known cell and said there was nothing, they must be lying. They found the death warrant for all Evrèmondes. By the way, which was the reason why Dr. Manette was taken prisoner?
How much must a person have suffered that could not conceive his/her life without looking for vengeance? Hardly can I understand that vegeance extrapolated to the lineage of the one who caused first the hurt. Those who are capable of taking revenge are also capable of hating, a justified but excessive hatred. Hatred leads to hating; that is true Roberto. So, what is the reward? At the end of your life, you realize that for not having been capable of forgiving, you have wasted your time, and all your acts have turned around the desire of seeing those who hurt you suffering, at least as you did. How much relief is provided by this feeling? Certainly, it is difficult to forgive, even more to forget. But, to what extent is it worth avoiding? If your aim does not have any limit and you originate a revolution, when is the thirst quenched?
Madame Defarge wasted her life with the only wish to see those who made her family suffer dead. Her husband wanted to stop, but did not dare contradict his cold-blooded wife. There is no scaring Madame Defarge. She and The Vengeance, together, till Death do them part.
Did everybody who took part in the revolution suffer themselves what Madame Defarge suffered herself? I mean, was every revolutionary vengeful behaviour justified? However, I liked the way Dickens keeps himself at “ambiguity”, as far as the revolution is concerned, since he describes both the tyranny of aristocrats and the merciless quest of vengeance of French people.
On the other hand, however, Sydney Carton lives for the others. He has not his own life, does not possess it, as he –when is not helping others- just roams, recalls better times and looks for relief by getting drunk. Nevertheless, his acts are worthy of a martyr, with his unlimited ability to sacrifice.
I agree with you, Carmen, Cristina, Raquel..., that A tale of two cities is about rebirth and resurrection. In this novel, many characters have been Recalled to Life. First of all, Dr. Manette raises from the dead thanks to his beloved child and his loyal friend Mr. Lorry. Secondly, Charles Darnay does so twice. And finally, Sydney Carton finds the life in the death, he himself is the resurrection –“I am the resurrection and the life”- and believes that: “It is 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”.
So impressive an end!

María dijo...

Other matters which I want to share with you:
I have just seen Dead end ("Muerte de un viajante"), at Teatro Español, which I strongly recommend you!! After having seen many "tolerable" plays this year, both very good and very "outrageous" ones, this play is really worth seeing it. Masterly performed and directed, as usual, by Mario Gas. Arthur Miller is a very good teller who gains to reach a very emotional way of describing a life of a man who dreamt all his life long but failed. The story combines magnificently a depressing present time and a happy past time full of wishes.
Just in case some of you see this play, I will not tell anything else. Do not put it off and go to the theatre!

Roberto dijo...

María you are right provided you speak “from the fence" as none of us might ever know what is to be involved in such a misfortune. I believe she had to act so and not otherwise because she lost everything unjustly. Should not those who committed too despicable a crime pay for it? I do not consider it right but I believe that it is the person suffering the injustice and nobody else who must realize that endless pursuit of vengeance does lead to nothing.

On the other hand, you have discussed about rebirth and resurrection. That is very good indeed, however, what about those who seem not to have any special quality or are thought to play a secondary role in life but who, at the same time, give sense to our lives? Mr Carton, Mr Lorry and Miss Pross...

Elena Gil - 5B dijo...

Hello!

Maria, finally I followed your recommendation and got a ticket to see "Dead end" yesterday (last performance). I also believe it was a good play. Very touching... Though I was tired and quite far from the scenario, the actors and the script retained my attention during the 3 hours of the play. The story is sad, oppresive and though "very american", the emotions represented there are universal. The way the mother tries to keep the family united and how she protects her husband, the tension between the elder son and his father... very realistic. I also liked the adaptation to Spanish by Eduardo Mendoza. I think he is the one who adapted "Regreso al hogar" (that time, I didn't like it at all).

Roberto dijo...

I am reading Sense and Sensibility alongside other two books and I cannot help missing Dickens’ style and talent to narrate. In spite of Jane Austen’s skill to show the reader, always with humour and even satire, an epoch in which women had to face life playing a supporting role, in continuous search of the perfect man to fall in love with; you do notice that such novels lack of that eye of Dickens’ made to portrait with detail many different characters, feelings, thoughts and most of all, scenes where not any single element is set apart though everything has its subtle meaning as well. No matter whether he is describing a wretched peasant or a haughty “marquis” because you are given a perfect resemblance of both conditions. Moreover, Dickens knows how to split the plot so that we can not only experience different lives but also feel anxious to find out more about those characters all and what is to happen next.

María dijo...

Hello!
I completely agree with you, Roberto, as far as Dickens´ way of telling stories and describing scenes is concerned. What other two books are you reading?? I am reading The age of innocence and A Christmas Carol. We might comment on them here, despite the fact that we are not reading the same books. We can speak about the style, the themes... without spoiling the plot. What do you think?
Elena, I am glad you liked Dead end. Did you go to see Tito Andronico?

Roberto dijo...

Ok María!

Yesterday I bought “Bleak House” and read the first chapter. It was difficult indeed though exciting at the same time because I know I will get involved in a amazing world full of thrill, where the unequal talent to narrate of Dickens’ makes you anxious to keep going.

Anyway, yesterday’s evening when reading Sense and Sensibility, I found out a very interesting paragraph with which I identified though I had not ever dwelt on until now: “…Like half the rest of the world, if more than half there be that are clever and good, Marianne, with excellent abilities and an excellent disposition, was neither reasonable nor candid. She expected from other people the same opinions and feelings as her own, and she judged of their motives by the immediate effect of their actions on herself”.

It made me realize that I often judge others just because of the consequences of their acts upon myself without considering that they may behave with true affection and good will.

What about Christmas Carol?

María dijo...

Yes, I suppose we are unfair by nature. We do not believe people act with right intentions if its consequences affect us not in a desirable way. Once first intentions are known, we can forgive or not.
A Christmas Carol is really amusing. It seems firstly to be a childish tale, with ghosts and spectres; but great Dickens describes magnificiently the season of goodwill in which people are able to express love and concern for others. Just for his description any Dickens´work is worth reading. This spirit of Christmas is represented by poor but happy Mr Scrooge´s nephew. On the contrary, Mr Scrooge is a grumpy old richman who hates Christmas and thus he receives an odd visit...
The first detail which caught my attention was that Dickens called his five chapters "staves". Looking for its meaning, I found that it can mean a verse or stanza of a poem or song or it can refer to the five lines on which music is written -which I like more-; for instance, a Christmas carol. Is it not fantastic??

Roberto dijo...

How interesting! Regarding Bleak House, I have just read two chapters and despite having to reread them, I always get impressed with so many information as you are given within no more than two pages.

I have found another quote in Sense and Sensibility quite true indeed:

"...when people are determined on a mode of conduct which they know to be wrong, they feel injured by the expectation of any thing better from them"

Roberto dijo...

Amazing! Now that I have finished Chapter 3, I really feel anxious to read, read and read. So far, we have been introduced three different scenes every of which describing different situations, characters, places and even periods. However, you get impressed by noticing that two of them are already linked to each other and that an exciting story is to begin. Let me disclose before you why I feel so: Three young characters, who do not know one another, are assembled for no apparent reason to live in “Bleak House”. The atmosphere suggests mystery, adventure and thrill. It is also as though we, the reader, were another character gathered as well to live such an experience; for we are following the story throughout the eye of one of these characters and know only what “she” knows about the issue, so to say, nothing at all.

Great!!

María dijo...

It sounds very nice! As soon as I finish A Christmas Carol I will try with Bleak House. I am liking very much the former, because despite just seeming sentimentalist, it tells not only the conflict between the main character and the three visitors, but also the conflict which takes places within himself, through a slow process of recognition of his failings. Very mature... I am going to read the last stave, in which A Christmas Carol was written.

elena gil 5ºB dijo...

Hello everyone!

First of all, can anyone confirm the time and date of the September exam for the fifths? I'm not sure whether I got it right... 2nd September at 15h?

Maria, I did not go to Tito Andronico, it seems it is very bloody and I guess I wouldn't like it... But I would like to see Medea with Blanca Portillo... They are performing in Extremadura so far... Do you know if they will come to Madrid?

Greetings for everyone, and enjoy the end of summer ;)

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