16 de octubre de 2010

A TALE OF TWO CITIES

Dickens is probably the best narrator in English, we hope you enjoy the privilege of reading this great novel during the year 2010-2011.

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A former student of Carmen's dijo...

Hello everyone,

It was the best of times those two years spent with Carmen. It was the worst of times when it was over...

Having found out that you are to read A Tale of two cities, I made my mind to be the first one posting a comment (sorry). C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S! You are lucky indeed because it is such an amazing novel and you will enjoy it so much that when finished, you won’t ever forget about it. Don’t be concerned about its difficulty, sometimes it is (every so often though); just keep going and you will see it is worth reading. I should also say that guided by Carmen, you will really end up loving it.

Eager to learn English properly? Come along and write here, please, as much as you can. Just a couple of sentences are enough. Do it often and at the end of the day you will see yourself writing with fluency and even better than you do in Spanish. Yes, you can. After all, I made it; someone whose background before meeting Carmen was "That's English".

P.S. My two favourite characters in the novel are two women and they are the protagonists in the chapter which I like most...

P.S.2 Thank you Carmen for teaching me so well and most of all, thank you for being you.

:-)

Isidro dijo...

5º B .
In the first chapter, Ch. Dickens describes us the epoch where the history is going to take place. There was a time in which anything was possible: the better and the worst. Nevertheless, after having read this first chapter we have only found the worst side.
In France as in England, the most horrifying crimes were taking place every day. In the case of France, these atrocities were carried out under the blessing of her Christian pastors. In the case of England, prejudices and superstitions seemed to be the guide of the population, and the administration of justice had lost all sense, because a pilferer of “sixpence” paid his fault with his life, like the most atrocious murderer.
After reading this chapter we have the impression that the story is going to take place in a society in which prejudices, misery, hypocrisy, corruption, brutality, wickedness and all the most horrifying crimes were the common way. And it is very difficult to imagine that we’ll be able to find some goodfeeling in it. But be optimistic! Never do we lose the hope, because it is ever possible that good -hearted people be arise in spite of everything.

Ana Criado dijo...

Hello to everyone at this blog!

I have been really looking forward to this new course to begin! Until now I have just read the two first chapters of our novel and I can predict that we will have nice discussions about its content! Although this year I won't be Carmen's student, I hope to learn a little bit more of this exciting language :) At least, I pretend to do my best and I will try to write as much as possible at this "useful" blog.
My best regards for all my past and present classmates and for the teachers, too!

Isidro dijo...

In my previous comment I said that I had only seen the worst side, but not the better one. I think that Ch. Dickens put the stress in the worst side, because he had taken party in favor of the unfortunate people. For them, their time was the worst of times.
But there is another point of view that gives a great importance to the development of reason and science. From this point of view we can speak of the century of Enlightenment, minimizing the fact that the majority of the population was ignorant, superstitious and suffered all kind of cruelty. So, the 18th century was a contradictory time, as Dickens reflects very well in the first paragraph.
Ch. Dickens says that the epoch in which the story took place was similar that the one in which he writes. Effectively, the 19th century was the time of the industrial revolution that produced a great development of the capital, that is, the enrichment of the bourgeoisie, without producing an improvement of the life of the working class.
In the 18th century, the kings of the large jaw and all the lords of both countries were in the better side, and they thought that “things in general were settled for ever”.
But Fate “unceasingly, works silently, ….with muffled tread”. And the guillotine will begin very soon to do her revolutionary work.

Isidro dijo...

In my previous comment I said that I had only seen the worst side, but not the better one. I think that Ch. Dickens put the stress in the worst side, because he had taken party in favor of the unfortunate people. For them, their time was the worst of times.
But there is another point of view that gives a great importance to the development of reason and science. From this point of view we can speak of the century of Enlightenment, minimizing the fact that the majority of the population was ignorant, superstitious and suffered all kind of cruelty. So, the 18th century was a contradictory time, as Dickens reflects very well in the first paragraph.
Ch. Dickens says that the epoch in which the story took place was similar that the one in which he writes. Effectively, the 19th century was the time of the industrial revolution that produced a great development of the capital, that is, the enrichment of the bourgeoisie, without producing an improvement of the life of the working class.
In the 18th century, the kings of the large jaw and all the lords of both countries were in the better side, and they thought that “things in general were settled for ever”.
But Fate “unceasingly, works silently, ….with muffled tread”. And the guillotine will begin very soon to do her revolutionary work.

Carmen dijo...

Hi, all of you out there. This is the first time that I post second, or third to you, but I´ve had a problem with internet (Orange, just in case you want to know...), so I find myself behind you when I should be in front!!!! I hope this doesn´t prove to be prophetic...thank God that the Cock Lane Ghost has been quiet for a few...centuries.
First of all my thanks to Roberto, for your kind words towards me and for the encouragement you give to those who are now hoping to acquaire your proficiency...I´m curious about that chapter and about those two women....you´ll have to let us know in due course...and join us in the reading, you´ll discover new things in the novel this time, after all you are changed, even if it is a very little!!!

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, a very good comment and very well-written, I´m glad that i have such a good student in my class, but as to your opinion i cannot be opposed!!!! you have mentioned "prejudices, misery, hypocrisy, corruption, brutality, wickedness and all" and I was wondering if all these nouns could not be used to represent our society???

Carmen dijo...

Ana, can you just show the group you belong to? Welcome and I can assure you that this novel will be the best....
Isidro, i find your second comment very down to the point and you absolutely hit the nail on the head. It was an epoch of light and shadows...but which isn´t? Even our own personal lives have lights and shadows, good and bad in them, don´t they? Dickens begins on a negative note because there was a suffering of the people in both countries and there was injustice in both countries. The main difference is that in England there was no work towards building the guillotine, they did have means of punishment of course, but the people are not "working ceaselessly with muffled tread", that is nobody seems to be aware that there is something happening and that that something is going to be devastating for those who are sure that things would stay as they were forever...

Reyes (5º B) dijo...

My first impression about the novel????? Well, after reading the first two chapters , I think it is difficult enough...but I´ll try to do my best to understand everything what C.D. wants to say in it.

But it is a very, very interesting novel not only because the characters and the issue but also because it will give rise to much debate and controversy between us in the class.

It is a novel which describes the era and the history of two countries and their people but also the feelings and behaviours... Definitely, it is a novel about human beings and their relationsship with society and everything what it implies.

Isidro dijo...

Carmen, I thank you very much for your kind words. I want you to know I think that participating in this blog is the most interesting thing I can do in order to improving, not only my writing, but other aspects of English in which I am poorly endowed.
I think that you are right: the human condition is contradictory in any time. Nevertheless, the degradation of the rule of law, and the social disruption that this caused, reached such a degree in that time, that there was no choice but to make the revolution in order to getting out of that unbearable situation.
And, although the revolution took place in France, its effects were like a breath of fresh air that spread and affected, in a greater or lesser degree, other countries. As well, the independence of her colonies was a great shock to England.
Dickens alludes ironically to this fact, showing the people interested in the ridiculous prophecies, as the swallowing up of London and Westminster, while the real problem was “the swallowing of the colonies”, that is, her independence.

Carmen dijo...

Reyes, I´m glad you´ve liked the beginning of the novel and that you think it´s going to be interesting...it will be. I want you to focus on the word "what" in your sentence, you need "that"("everything what C.D. wants to say in it."), as you are doing a relative clause, remember that reltive clauses always have an antecedent, in this case "everything".

Isidro, though again a very sound comment I unfortunately think that we are still in this desperate situation in many parts of the World, if not in this country....what, in my opinion caused the Frnech Revolution was not really the injustice existing in the admininstration of the country, which was quite common, this injustice to most nations then, but the famine that hit France then. I do think that injustice is something that in the end sets people against others on a large scale or on a smaller one, but humanity can put up with a good deal of injustice for a while, don´t you think?
Chapter 2 is very good. The description, the atmosphere, the dialogues, read it carefully again and you will discover that all sentences, words are relevant...

Carmen Segura dijo...

Carmen Segura
Hello everyone, I am astonish by your large comments. They are wonderful and very accurate.
In my opinion the beginning is unforgettable as is usual in master pieces of literature.
The situation depicted is universal and can serve for every epoch, because every year could be considerate the best or the worst, with wisdom or foolishness, with hope or despair.


Carmen Segura. (5ºC)
Chapter 3.

The beginning is fantastic. It is a universal reflection about human being.
The author tells us that human being is a mystery. He writes about this with reflections full of beauty.

Clara 5º B dijo...

Hi everyone,
I’ve been reading your posts and I find them great, they’re a good way to get some ideas about what the author wants to tell us.
We talked about the second chapter yesterday and I found it amazing, it’s a very good description, not only the physical one, but also the atmosphere, you can feel the wet and cold, and the fear they feel in your own body. Dickens is a genius of the literature.

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

Human beings are a mystery...Yes!!!! I love how C. D. describes it and writes it. All of us have secrets and mysteries to every other.

In general people keep in secret a part of their lifes. It is amazing the way in which C.D mixes the "lights" and the "shadows".... the "reality" with "the "imagination".

In chapter three, the dialogue between the "character" and the "ghost" keeps you in suspense while you´re reading it and , really, you don´t realize that it is a "ghost" who is speaking.

What is real and what is a dream???? Sometimes also we doubt in ours own lives

C.D. , with his way of writting, achieves that we see it as something natural.

SOSIAS dijo...

Hello everybody,

Unfortunately I can't attend the classes for some time, but I'll try to keep in touch with the blog.

After reading the first two chapters, I have to say the novel is difficult but very interesting. Very few things have happened for the moment, but there is something mysterious in everything that I really like.

We can see with the first chapter
how important the period of time where the novel is set is going to be. It is 1775 and we all now what happened in France years after.

Chapter 2, as you all have said is very impressive, specially the atmosphere that the author creates. It's a bit creepy, the fog, the mud, the suspicions between the characters... I think the identity of the two mysterious passengers of the coach could be important. We will see.

Antonio 5ºB

Isidro dijo...

Really, the description of the mail and the passengers lumbering up the hill has all the elements to keep us in suspense. The scene has been pushed to the limit: the mail lumbering up the hill at night, the passenger plodding on the mire behind the coach, the fear is palpable in the environment, because nobody trusts everyone. And, if that be not enough, the heavy fog creates ghostly shapes and the death seems to be lurking.
At the end, the sound of a horse at a gallop approaching in the mist triggers the general alarm. And we nearly can hear all hearts pounding strongly.
I meet this passage hallucinatory. Don’t you?

Isidro dijo...

In my opinion, it is a trait of humour that, in a moment of so much dramatic tension, Dickens should reveal that the coachman “was sure of nothing but the horses”, in spite of thinking they were not fit for doing their hard work properly.
Perhaps we could consider this fact as an example of that famous phrase that says that, in the state of nature, man is a wolf to man.

Another trait of humour could be the attitude of the two passengers hiding their watches and purses and pretending to be asleep.
In that time, recognizing someone or being recognized by anyone could be reason enough to die. So, I consider reasonable the attitude of the others passengers of pretending to be asleep in order to go unnoticed, after having known the personality of their travel companion. A glance could be misinterpreted and provoke aggressiveness in the other. Don’t you think so?

Anna dijo...

I’m glad to write for my first time in the blog.
I have enjoyed these three firsts chapters.

In my opinion, the contrast written by Dickens between night and day is amazing. Darkness, shadows, mist and rain are not only temporal spaces but also frames of mind. This dialogue between night and day has fascinated me.

At the same time, I love the variety of figures of speech that he expresses. It has been a surprise the plasticity shown by Dickens. “Cadaverous colour”, “burning red”, “golden yellow” are examples of what I mean.

Anna R. (5º B)

SOSIAS dijo...

I agree with you Isidro about the sense of humour in the second chapter.

I found particularly fun when the two mysterious passengers get into coach quickly and pretend to be asleep, hiding their valuable things.

Another example of hiding identity is Jerry's behaviour at ale-houses in the third chapter.

Antonio (5ºB)

Isidro dijo...

In chapter three, the messenger has been riding back stopping to drink frequently, because he is an embittered man. Life has lost all sense to him because all the people he loved have dead.
In my opinion, he has a bad conscience and drinks to forget, but her mind is confused, because of his message, and the shadows of the night frighten him.
Poor fellow!

María dijo...

It is the first time that Carmen´s is not the first comment. True! It´s funny that a former student´s was... This is only to say hello to the new bloggers and encourage them to read this marvellous novel which I dearly adore. Specially, some specific characters, the beginning..., the ending... The story is amazing and impressive, incredibly well told and described. Dickens is like that... I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Isidro dijo...

While the messenger was haunted by his own ghosts in the shadows of the night, Mr Lorry was dozing with half-shut eyes, letting his imagination fly. The mail became the bank and he began to do profitable business. He entered in the strong rooms underground at Tellson bank and found that all bank deposits were safe. So, in my opinion, he was a good professional with a clean conscience.
Nevertheless, there was something that worried him. We read that “he was on his way to dig some one out of a grave.”
The spectre of a buried man wanders in his mind and saying that he was buried eighteen years ago.
It seems that he is going to dig someone out, but it is not a dead person but a man “buried alive for eighteen years”, that is, a prisoner.

Isidro dijo...

In my opinion, the messenger is an example of people who was an honest tradesman in the light and a criminal in the dark. He covered his head with a muffled, that he only removed while he was drinking. But, though he should manage to hide from the others, he couldn´t deceive himself.
If he could remove the black part of his life and eliminate all the dreadful shadows!!
We read in chapter three:
“No Jerry, no!....(….)…..”it wouldn’t do for you, Jerry. Jerry, you honest tradesman, it wouldn’t suit your line of business!
But he took the fateful step and now there is no turning back. After this moment he couldn’t “turn the leaves of this dear book” that he loved. And he became a wretched man.

M Carmen 5ºB dijo...

M Carmen 5ºB
Hi everyone,
I agree with all of you that Dickens is a Master, and we are going to enjoy very much with this novel. Reyes said that “it is amazing the way that he mixes the lights and the shadows ..… the reality with the imagination” . That is life, good and bad, white and black, day and night, up and down, beginning and end, all is mixed although sometime we are focus in only one side, but he has the ability to show both parts in a poetic way.

Carmen dijo...

Hi, folks I´m having problems with posting as I posted something yesterday and it is not there today!!!
Hi, maría, and thanks for posting something for us. You are right it is the first time that i´m not the first and someone else was...it could be prophetic...for both of us...
Isidro, very sound comments about Jerry, yes there must be a mystery with him and with his "honest" trade. We´ll ahve to read on.
It is true that Dickens paints the atmoshere in such a way that it imbebes the characters too so there is a mixture a blending of what is, and outside and what the person feels inside his own self.
We have met 4 characters so far, one being the funny or the remarkable spectre...who is he? what is his relation to mam´selle? and to Mr. Lorry? And what about the messanger in conection with these three if there be a connection?
The journey is a masterpiece of description. Everyone is so suspicious of the others that the coachman can only trust his horses!!! But haven´t we ever felt like this? Not in this country currently but abroad? Any stories?

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

After reading chapter 4 I´m begining to understand C.D´s writting. Dickens describes perfectly Mr. Lorry physical details, so while you are reading that description you can imagine his face, body and his movements at that moment.

So through that physical description C.D. is showing us Mr. Lorry´s behaviour.

He , apparently, seems a man without scruples and feelings....but everything is a mask to denfend to himself. Just a man of bussiness????? No..... He is actually a kind man who is worried about Lucie´s situation and at the end of the chapter he´ll try to help her to find his father, because in this chapter we discover that "the ghost" is Lucy´s father who has been in prision for eigtheen years.

"Recalled to Life"....is a symbolical sentence to describe someone that is bringing back to light and recovering his life.

In short, his liberty!!! And what´s is happening in that era according to the novel??? the revolution.

Everything is related.

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

Sorry.... to find HER father...and someone WHO is bringing back.........

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

I do not know the relation between the spectrum with Mr.Lorry or with mam’selle but I suppose that it is a great problem to Mr. Lorry because when you have a problem usually it comes on and off from dreams to real life, day and night.

In chapter 4 I have discovered who the spectrum is, he is Lucy’s father and I understand Mr.Lorry‘s obsession because it is very painful to tell the truth, a traumatic truth, to a young and innocent girl.

Isidro dijo...

I find very interesting the way of describing the transformation of Mr Lorris at Royal George Hotel.
He had got out the coach like a large dog of a damp, dirty and stinking dog-kennel, but after washing, shaving and changing his clothes, he left the room like a new man.
He got out the room as an elegant respectable gentleman, and all the staff of the hotel, porters, drawers, maids,… were at his service. And he sat so still, waiting for the meal that it looked as if he be sitting for his portrait.

Isidro dijo...

I like very much the description of Mr Lorry’s stroll on the beach. I do see the little village hiding itself from the beach and ran its head into the cliffs. Don’t you?
The sea was enraged and “it thundered at the town, and thundered at the cliffs…” The effect of the reiteration of the word is clear: I nearly can hear the sound of the sea hitting the cliffs. Can’t you?
As well, it is very interesting the way of showing the unaccountable enrichment of some small tradesmen, relating this with the remarkable fact “that nobody in the neighbourhood could endure a lamplighter.”

Anónimo dijo...

The first chapter describes the epoch and the places where the story takes place.

The countries are England and France and the year 1775, 14 years before the beginning of the French Revolution.

In these times there were enormous contrasts, it was possible to find happiness and sadness, wealth and poverty, beauty and ugliness…

Life could be very unfair by the mere fact of being born on a particular site.

In spite of passing almost 400 years and a lot of wars and revolutions it can be said that we haven´t changed too much in this sense, the poor stay poor and the rich get rich, every knows that the dice keep on loaded.

JAIME LARUMBE

Laura de Arriba 5-B dijo...

I want you to know that after three chapters of descriptions and almost any kind of action, I have really enjoyed reading chapter four. Despite the fact that exhaustive information seems to be an invariable along the book (in this case the narrator thoroughly details the coach of the mail, Mr. Lorry’s appearance after such a journey and his subsequent transformation after installing himself in his room at the Royal Georges Hotel, among other things), shocking revelations appeared in this chapter. Not only do we finally find out the identity of the young lady that Mr. Lorry has to wait for at Dover, but we also discover the meaning of the bizarre message ‘recalled to life’.

Anónimo dijo...

The second chapter introduces some of the characters of the novel.

If I am not wrong just one of them is going to be one of the main protagonists.

This is Mr Lorry and this chapter doesn´t say too much about him apart that he works for a bank in London.

The apparition of a messenger at some point during the trip creates great expectation with his message and even more with the answer given by Lorry.

The messenger says that a miss will be waiting for him in Douvres.

Just one word about the description about the way the horses of the cart pull it: brilliant.

After reading it I had a break I was exhausted, for a little while I was pulling the cart with the horses

JAIME LARUMBE

Carmen dijo...

Well, Reyes and Laura two positive comments!!! Yes, eventually you can understand Dickens, and yes the story get exciting!!! Notice that we at the very beginning...imagine what is to come.
There are two very important descriptions in this chapter, or I should say three..but this hereafter.
Mr. Lorry, you are right, Reyes, doesn´t appear to be a man of business as would be expected, cold-blooded and non-caring about feeling. No, he is worried about the consequences of his revelation.
Miss Manette, a typical Dickensian heroine, blonde, helpless, and pretty. I wonder if our men like her?
Isidro points out the funny description of the difference between the travellers who arrive at the Inn and those that issue forth from their rooms...All teh servants hang around waiting to have a ppep at them. Why, of course newcomers would be exciting news in samll villages then, don´t you think?
What do you think of miss Manette´s character? What do we imagine her to be like from what is reported of her?

Anónimo dijo...

Is it working?

Isidro dijo...

By what we Know until now, Mr Lorry looks like an honest and good person. We have different hints of his concern about his next meeting with his friend that has been buried alive for eighteen years.
For example, in his dream of chapter three, several faces appeared to him with sunken cheeks and cadaverous colour, but he couldn’t imagine the countenance of his friend, after eighteen years in prison. The dream reflects also his uncertainty about the way of developing the encounter between father and daughter.
Even after having awaked, he couldn’t help to exclaim: Eighteen years!! ….To be buried alive for eighteen years!!
In chapter 4, Mr Lorry shows a great interest, without success, in finding the best way of telling Miss Manette his secret in order to achieving that she be affected as little as possible.

Carmen, I have enjoyed very much your great sense of humour in the class today, when you have talked about the vanity of Mr Lorry.
I think that Mr Lorry’s personality is totally opposite of Jerry’s. Do you imagine both characters in the same coffee-room facing each other: one showing his good leg with his sleek stockings, while the other, be hiding himself under his old cocked-hat and his muffler, only removed in the moment he was drinking????

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, you anlyse well, yes Mr.Lorry´s worry comes forth because he is concerned about his friend´s daughter and how she would take the news. He is worried about delivering them in the best possible manner together with the obvious worry of what sort of "person" they will find; person in the sense that the man would necessarily be affected by such a long seclusion. I´d like to consider how long a person can be imprisoned for currently, i think it is 15 years and no more. Also think of that film, can´t remember the title, when one of the prisoners is freed after spending most of his life in there, he commits suicide.
Thanks for your nice words about my sense of humour...not many people have it and life is so much more fun!!!
I´ll be back on Monday evening so I don´t think I can visit the blog until then.
Have a nice bank holiday, all of you and...read...read...

SOSIAS dijo...

I agree with you Laura it is very nice to find some action and dialogues after the three first chapters. The four chapter is longer but it reads faster.

Talking about Miss Mannette,we can see after her pretty and helpless looking a clever young woman and I think she is not so fragil than she looks.

I agree with you Reyes about Mr. Lorry, he worries about Miss Mannette, I'd only add that he maybe worries too much. That could explain why he can only ask for help when she starts to feel bad.

Antonio 5ºB

Isidro dijo...

In my view, Mr Lorry put good will in his explanation to Miss Manette. He told her that her mother didn´t have slackened her search of his father, and that she had wanted to spare her the worry and the pain of thinking about her father.
Mr Lorry tried to reduce Miss Manette’s emotion suggesting her repeatedly not be worry because it was a matter of business. And, taking into account that he was not a psychologist but a banker, he acted the better he could. I think that Mr Lorry did properly asking Miss Manette that she be very cautious, while his father be in France. Nevertheless I think that he shouldn’t have used the expression “recalled to Life”. Nowadays, the Bank would have entrusted to a psychologist the work of advising the banker the way of managing this difficult situation.
As for Miss Mannette, I think that, by what we have read at chapter 4, it is not possible that we should know how she is. But, in principle, it seems that she is less vain than Mr Lorry. We have seen that Mr. Lorry was very surprised that she should want see him only a few minutes after her arrival. And when he saw her, she was in her riding-cloak and she has still holding her straw travelling hat.

Isidro dijo...

I’m sorry.
I want correct a mistake. In my previous comment I should have written:
“……………………, while HER father be in France………………….”

SOSIAS dijo...

Sorry:

... she is not so fragilE AS she looks

Antonio 5ºB

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

I think that Mr Lorry is found to Miss Manette but the news he has to give her is terrible and he is not an expert in psychology.
He is a banker and usually his worries are how to turn money over so he is not sensitive enough as to notice that Miss M. is going to faint.

I understand Miss Manette’ s reaction. She is young and it is terrible to know that your father is alive in bad conditions. She is frightened.
The situation is getting worse because her father is a bit mad and it could be very dangerous the mission of rescuing him.

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

In the four chapters which we have already read, the scenes and the characters are described in a very dark, hard and frightened way, full of mystery and secrets.

So, Mr.Lorry , the passengers, the coachman etc...represent all of that....and according to the events which are happening at that moment in London and the circumstances around the city ( violence, poverty, crimes...etc...)Miss Mannet , I think, could represent all the opposite to that.

She appears as a sweet, kind, innocent......young woman ready to be loved and cared; a woman who needs to be helped and protected and which character induces to being wanted by all.

In short, in this chapter we can observe the two big topics that move the world, the good and evil, very well represented by the characters who appear in them.

But...Is Mr.Lorry so bad???? No. And , Is Miss Mannet so innocent??? We´ll see it.

Isidro dijo...

Reyes, I agree with you.
Good and evil are the two great topics that move the world. But in this case, I think that the evil seems to win the battle by the moment. Other important characteristic of the novel is the sense of humour of which we have seen some examples. One of them was the intervention of the wild-looking woman, at the end of chapter four, when Miss Manette fainted, that Carmen already commented the last class.
The first thing that attracted Mr Lorry’s attention was her physical appearance, for she seemed more a man than a woman. And immediately, he was astonished by her comments.
“Do you call that being a banker?” said she.
And Mr Lorry couldn’t say anything after so illogical comment.

I also find very comic that when Mr Lorry said: “I hope she will do well now”, she should answer:
“No thanks to you in brown, if she does.”

And finally, when she said: “if it was ever intended that I should go across salt water, do you suppose Providence would have cast my lot in an island?”
I do think these comments are very fanny, as Carmen said. Don’t you?

Laura de Arriba 5_B dijo...

I have found chapter five too much descriptive. It consists of almost six pages of descriptions in which the only action is the going up to the garret! However, I have to admit that, thank to all this thorough information, one is able to feel the grinding poverty the people suffered, the unwholesome atmosphere the people breathed and the hopeless lives they had to live. In addition, Dickens mentions the proximity of some kind of revolution (undoubtedly, the French Revolution) for second time in five chapters. It will break out when these people finally decide to stand up to their wretched fate. Meanwhile, Mr. Lorry and Miss Manette are going up the stairs of this miserable house in order to meet the man that has been locked in for so long.

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

Yes Isidro........you´re right. By the moment , Evil is winning the battle and leading all the events.

I agree with you , how C.D. uses such a sense of humor to describe really drastic situations and how after a weak and innocent aspect there is a really hard and strong character, something very common in the human being, always using a mask not to show how we actually are .

"Life is a theatre and we are the actors" Don´t you think?????

Isidro dijo...

In chapter five, the description of the bustle originated in the people by the tumble of the cask of wine on the street shows us the extreme poverty, the misery and the bad conditions of people’s lives.
All people within reach (men, women and children) were got out of the sad routine, and they ran to drink the wine of the street. This was a moment of playfulness and companionship, with a shrill sound of laughter and amused voices and with shaking of hands and dancing.
What a good moment for everybody!
But the feast of the wine didn’t last long, and the rough reality came back immediately, with the misery, the sadness, the naked feet, the cadaverous faces, the cold, the dirtiness, the sickness, the ignorance, and above all, the hunger everywhere.

Isidro dijo...

All the ills of the earth seemed to be joined in the suburb of Saint Antoine of Paris. Dickens shows us the sad conditions of life of the people, who undergo the continuous grinding of the mill of the time in an endless work that becomes prematurely children in old people.
Never did I have seen a better description of the human miseries!
Dickens sees the hint of the hunger everywhere; in the wretched clothes hanging of the tall houses, in the rags the straw and paper that people use to cover themselves, in the scares fire-wood and the smokeless chimneys, in the want of anything to eat among its refuse… And he repeats the word hunger many time in order to highlight the most distressing problem of this time.
And, as Laura says, Dickens also shows several hint of the approaching revolution.
For example, when a joker wrote the word BLOOD in the wall with his finger dipped in muddy wine-lees, Dickens says that “the time was to come, when that wine”…. (that is, the blood)…… “too would be spilled on the streets-stones”.
In other moment he says that “nothing is represented in a flourishing condition, save tools and weapons; but, the cutler’s knives and axes were sharp and bright, the smith’s hammers were heavy, and the gunmaker’s stock was murderous.” So, all this tools and weapons are ready for the great battle.
And other one: “The time was to come, when the gaunt scarecrows of that region should have watched the lamplighter, in their idleness and hunger, so long as to conceive the idea of improving in this method, and hauling up men by those ropes and pulleys”.
So, very much blood is going to be spelled on the streets and many people will be hanged and will burn in order to purify a rotten society, as a condition for the birth of a new era.
Reyes, as you says, the life is a theatre. And, in this case, the play is a great tragedy that has only just begun.

SOSIAS dijo...

Talking about Chapter 4, I find also comic when the author talks about Concord room "that although but one kind of man was seen to go into it, all kinds and varieties of men came out of it".

And I find particularly interesting how the author uses this interesting quality of the room to describe Mr. Lorry. In the previous chapters we don't have physical information about him but I never thought he is sixty and so odd like he is, so when Dickens starts to describe his outing of Concord room we discover, as the Royal George Hotel employees, another variety of men.

Reyes, do you really think Mr. Lorry represents evil? And when you and Isidro say the evil is leading the events, what do you mean? Because I think that going to rescue Miss Manette's father seems a good action.

Antonio 5ºB

Carmen dijo...

I agree with you on the sentences that make the action funny, but I cannot totally agree with you that evil wins. As always in life evil and goodness coexist and depending on your character, education, circumstances, one is uppermost.
What I find interesting is the contrast of the two women we´ve met. Miss Pross is strong and decided, she has learnt to be so, probably her life was more difficult than Miss Manette´s, even though she is an orphan.
Any comments?
Please do not mention chapters until we have spoken of them in class. It is very IMPORTANT not to tell the others the plot.

Carmen dijo...

I totally agree with Sosias in that Mr. Lorry seems to me to be a good sort of person, not used to dealing with women, but good. How do we know this? He is worried about the journey and the person who is going to be recalled to life. If he were feelingless he would act in a more detached way, don´t you think?

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

I like the contrast between the two feminine characters in chapter 4.
The heroine is Miss Mannete.
She is kind, polite and beautiful. Her long hair and her glances show us how beauty she is.
She is an orphan but probably she had had a good life, not rich but without necessities due to the money received in heritance and managed by the Tellson’s.
On the contrary the other woman seems aggressive, with red hair and red clothes.
She is tall and strong with brawny hand. Probably her life has been full of problems but she is a very determined woman and she has sense of humour – she said that she lives in an island so she is not destined to pass the sea.
She has resolution and is capable to care a person in a necessity.
It seems that she loves and protects Miss Manette.

Isidro dijo...

Carmen, I agree with you in that evil and goodness coexist in live, if we talk in general. But, if we speak about the novel, I think that Dickens has painted a bleak picture by the moment (chapter five).
Although I recognize that there are some good characters, like Mr Lorry or Miss Manette, I must say that Dickens describes a society that seems doomed to live without hope.
But, though the lords should think that things in general have been settled for ever, Dickens has announced the arrival of a new time repeatedly. The gaunt scarecrows of that region is watchful and very soon many men are going to be hauled. And the street-stones are going to be stained of red with the blood of many people.
The tools and the weapons are bright and sharp!!! They are ready!!!
And the people’s hearts have already full of hate. They only need that someone should give the signal.

Carmen dijo...

Of course the picture that Dickens paints is bleak, he speaks human beings and the species, falls short of what was expected when we were created, don´t you think? The situation in France then was quite terrible, indeed but i would like to point out and recommend the new novel of the recent Nobel-prized Mario Vargas-Llosa, it doesn´t seem to me that the picture, though it is painted at a nearer period is any better! I have not read the novel but I certainly will and perhaps you all could do it, too. I certainly agree with you that the "rats", drunk or sober are getting ready to attack and I may add that the said attack is going to take the French unawares, since they are doing it in a secretive way. Notice the mystery surrounding the tavern. Don´t you think that it is a kind of methaphor for what is happening on a larger scale?
The two first pages of description are brilliant, the way Dickens moves from the cask to the drunkedness of the people to the colour of the wine and connects it with blood then he goes on to explain that they people were hungry and from then on he takes us to the situation of what the people were enduring and what became their interest, which was weapons "nothing was represented in a flourishing condition, save tools and weapons.." and then to the gradual realization that they could kill "as to conceive the idea of improving on method and hauling up men by those ropes and pulleys, to flare upon the darkness of their condition" AMAZING. Defarge´s description is quite frightening, he seems reasonable, the quiet way in which he remontrates with the drunkard who wrote BLOOD, doesn´t agree with his description of being "a man not desirable to be met with..." and what about Madame Defarge? Do you like this sort of woman who is forever obsreving everyone..and knitting? She makes me shiver!!!
Carmen very interesting what you wrote about the contrast of both females. I agree that they seem to be two totally different types of women, and where do you place madame Defarge against these two? Certainly not with Miss manette, yet miss Pross seems to be capable of love, but madame Defarge??

Isidro dijo...

Carmen, you ask if Miss Pross’s life is more difficult that Miss Manette’s?
But, who is Miss Pross? Is she the wild-looking woman who took good care of Miss Manette when she fainted?
If so, we would have to imagine the answer, because we don’t have any date by the moment. We don’t know, for example, if she is a relative or a maid of Miss Manette. Miss Pross could be an aunt or a cousin who took charge of Miss Manette when her mother died. In this case, her life could be less difficult than Miss Manette’s.
But if Miss Pross be a maid, I think she would have more probability of having a more difficult life than Miss Manette; but you never know.
In any case, it seems that Miss Pross feels a great affection for Miss Manette what is perceived in the way she talks to her. And she seems to be very skillful in his work. As well, she is willing to pass the salt water with her!!!!
All my proposals are mere speculations, but the most important thing is to look for a pretext to write in English. For this reason I have swallowed the bait of Carmen.

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, miss Pross is a very peculiar woman, don´t you think? You do not know many things about her, i know, but what do you infer from the text? There is enough evidence that she is not Miss Manette´s Aunt, otherwise why would she say previously that she was alone in the world? Therefore Pross must be a sort of companion or maid, for sure. Why should she burst into the room so suddenly when Miss Manette was faint? Do you think that she could have been hanging around or even listening at the key-hole? This is not to be expected of an Aunt, don´t you think? Apart from the fact that had she been a reation she would have been in the room lostening to the news, for sure.
I conclude that she is servant or pseudo servant and thus compare her with Madame Defarge, given that we place Miss Manette in a higher social position to the other two.
What do you think of these two against one another?

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

The next feminine character we know is Madame Defarge.
We know her at the first moment like a passive person, who is sitting and knitting quietly in the wine shop.
But we immediately know she is an active woman because she is watching everyone in the shop and she is managing her husband making signals to them.
Perhaps she is a cold person and she could have difficulty in loving people.
We will know later….

Isidro dijo...

In my opinion, all we can say about Miss Pross, after reading chapter four, is that she feels a tender affect to Miss Manette, because she call her “my precious” and “my little bird”. And this tender affect of Miss Pross to Miss Mannette suggests us that she could begin possibly to take care of her in Miss Manette’s early chilhood.
We can also be sure of her being a strong and very resolute woman, taking into account her effective action in the sickness of Miss Manette.
Other thing we can say of her is that she is an ironic or sarcastic woman. We perceive this by the way of talking to Mr Lorry. For example, when she wanted to highlight the fact that Mr Lorry was a banker but he didn’t know how to affront a practical difficulty, or when she told Mr Lorry that if Miss Manette had recovered was not because of him “in brown”; and we can see also her sarcasm when she told Mr Lorry her disposition to “go across salt water”, though she makes badly the sentence, what left Mr Lorry without word.
The only hint we can find of Miss Pross being a maid instead a relative is the fact that she is not accompanying Miss Manette in her meeting with Mr Lorry. Nevertheless, I think that we can’t say that she should have been listening behind the door, because Miss Pross only entered in the room after Mr Lorry calling out loudly. I think that Miss Pross knew very well Miss Mannette and she was very worry about her reaction, and this was the reason of her fast arrival.

Isidro dijo...

I'm sorry
..................because she callS she.....

Isidro dijo...

Oh my dear!!!
.......................because she callS her ..................
I'm very sorry

Isidro dijo...

Don’t you think that Mrs Defargue is a coarse and vulgar but comic character? I think so.

I find her very suited to her role of landlady, controlling all from his place behind the counter. When we met her, she had left her knitting aside and was very attentive to the customers while she picked her teeth with a toothpick. I’m sure that only a stout woman, like her, heavily ringed and “with strong features and great composure of manner”, should dominate “a bull-necked and martial-looking man of strong resolution”, as Mr Defargue.

I like very much Mrs Defargue’s description, trying to manage her husband with a light tough, and lifting repeatedly her eyebrows over her toothpick in her mouth, while her husband remained impassive.
In my opinion, Mr Defargue is not very diligent in his work because he distracts frequently chatting with the customers, therefore the landlady was very attentive to the business and made frequent indications surreptitiously to her husband, who tried to delay his action for anyone notice that he was not the real boss.

Have you noticed the contrast between Mrs Defarge’s situation and the people’s cadaverous faces, naked feet and tatters? While the people of the street were so hungry that licked the staves of the cask with eager relish, this landlady should have more food between her teeth than the people should find in the refuse!!!

And what a contrast between the skeletal look of the people’s street and Mrs Defargue’s that have to support her right elbow with her left hand in order to bring the toothpick to her mouth. !!!


In my last comment I wanted to express my annoyance for having made a mistake when I tried to correct other one, and I wrote:
“oh my dear”

When I went to post this comment, I read these words and I realised that I should have written:
Oh dear!!!!!!!!!

M Carmen dijo...

M Carmen. 5ª B
I agree with all of you that Dickens descriptions are the best, not only with all his personages but with the social situation and I see that all of your observations are very good, but I would like to bring that situation and theses personages to this time and to compare if what was happening at that time is happening now a days.
In that sense Carmen spoke about Mario Vargas Llosa last novel, I have not read it yet, but I watched on the TV what has been happening in Aaiún in these last days. In my opinion I think that after two centuries and two big wars world that has not been enough for changing many social conditions in some countries. In the same way if we take Mr. Lafarge and we observe what he did for fan or for money with Mr. Manette probably we can find many men doing similar things today, I am afraid that our moral has not changed so much after so many years.

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

Isidro , I agrre with you about Mrs. Defarge´s character. When I read about her I remember those "old ladies" in movies ... and I can imagine her fisical appearence.

An "old lady", strong and robust , a woman of firm character accustomed to controlling and directing her husband in the same way as she controls her business;

Sitting in a corner with penetrating look without speaking, just a gesture is sufficient to know her desires.

It is very descriptive with her kitty, the toothpick ......(no words but many actions); the perfect "landlady".Silent but very effective.

And accordig to M.C. says.... yes it is right..... after two wars and all the events which have happened in last centurys.....Humanity hasn´t learnt anything. History is there to be remembered, but in spite of learning and not doing it again, we keep making the same mistakes........but that´s the essence of human beings: living in a perpetual change.... or at least, trying to change though sometimes we do not get it.

Carmen dijo...

MariCarmen, I totaly agree with you where Madame Defarge is concerned. I´m afraid of her, quiet as she is, poor as she stands knitting...I dislike her.

Carmen dijo...

MariCarmen, I totaly agree with you where Madame Defarge is concerned. I´m afraid of her, quiet as she is, poor as she stands knitting...I dislike her.

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, you have picked up some very good instances to back up your words.

Carmen dijo...

Isidro a very-well aritten comment about Madame Defarge, don´t use Mrs. she is French. She had more money than the rest, after all, she owns a bar and bars have always given money, currently, too we have Pacha, etc.

Carmen dijo...

MariCarmen has raised a very interesting idea with her comment, how much have changed in these two centuries? I agre with you, mariCarmen when you say little, we fly from one end to another of the world but we are...the same.
I don´t know if Madame Defarge rules her husband...why do you say that, reyes?

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

Well Carmen , I think that because it is the way that she looks at him and she acts. I mean, she is always sat in a corner , silently but with just one look, a gesture she seems control everything, including her husband.

M.D speaks to the three men and when he answers or makes any questions he always looks back at her And then he continues with his task as if he look for his assent or approval.

He is the owner but I believe that , actually , it is she who governs, as many women, quiet and silent but very powerful.

Perhaps , this is another idea about Mdam. Defarge... Though it is possible that I be mistaken ??????

Isidro dijo...

I think like all of you about the human condition. We have advanced a lot in technology and science but from the moral point of view we haven’t advanced anything.
Although we have made great scientific and technological progress, we often take advantage these advances to hurt more people and to do evil of a more refined way, instead of trying to benefit everyone. In my opinion, the only change produced in human moral the last two centuries, is a spacial change in the distribution of evil and a better refinement, so that the guilty sometimes go unnoticed.

We can see today the same people of the streets of the suburb of Saint Antoine, with their cadaverous faces and the tattered clothes, under some bridges and shacks of the suburbs of Paris and in other cities around the world. You can find Monsieur and Madame Defarge,with her toothpick included, everywhere. And today, Monsieur Manette is in Guantanamo and in many other prisons in the world.

Nowadays we see husbands that kill his wife and children; white collar criminals who seem honorable people; pederast priest; corrupt politicians. There are bankers who ask the States for aid, paid for workers with poverty wages, to overcome the economic crisis that themselves have created, while their benefits are constantly increasing. And worst of all, still start wars for political or economic interests that cause innumerable innocent victims.

And there are still today people who think that things are been settled for ever.

Isidro dijo...

I’m sorry
...................take advantage of.........

Carmen dijo...

Reyes very interesting about Madame Defarge. I do think she is a powerful woman, but it doesn´t follow that monsieur Defarge is weak. However we are not so much in awe of him as we are of her. I think that, in a general way we are suspicious of those who daren´t look openly at another person. I certainly think that Madame Defarge is strong and decided...and doesn´t forget...

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, a very good post. We are, as a species HORRIBLE, but we needn´t go that far to be aware that we most of us behave badly to those surrounding us, we little try to help, Or share, being concerned most of the time with our own SELVES.
Be careful with your VERBS "ARE BEING" OR "HAVE BEEN"

Carmen dijo...

What is your opinion of Dickens presentation of dr. Manette? The contrast between the dreary place, the fear of the daughter, the uncomfortable Mr. Lorry, trying to collect his feelings, and which provides the funny side in the drama of the situation, the basic, show the Defarges make of this Human Being is placed next to the quiet attitude, the complaisancy even of the poor prisoner, quietly at his work.

Opinions, comments

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

Chapter 6

Monsieur Manette is like a dead man because he only remembers to be a number. It was the same in the concentration camps where human beings were transformed in a number, it means without life, without name, without intelligence.
Miss Manette changes her mind, toward compassion, when she sees in her father signs of intelligence in his forehead. She notices then he is not a number, he is a person.
Monsieur Manette cries and his daughter is very warm and affectionate.
The scene takes place with darkness and light. Light symbolises resurrection and life. Darkness is a symbol of death.
He compares the hair in the cloth with Miss Manette’s hair.
The hair is like a bridge between the past and the present.
He was alive in the past and now he is returning to life.
Remaining his loved wife, the golden hair had been his support in his imprisonment.

Then, the melodramatic and sentimental Lucie’s speech to her father is fantastic. I was not capable to stop to read till the tears were near to drop from my eyes.
Miss Manette is emotive, kind and loving daughter.
She is like a mother and Mr Manette like her child. It is like a metaphor of the new life.
She promises him that his agony is ended and she gives thank to God. It is a fantastic and unforgettable monologue.

Susana 5º 2009-2010 dijo...

Hi all of you, Carmen and new fifths and new readers. I’m a former student and it has been a joy to find out that Carmen is again there supporting the Reading Club, and making her students appreciate English literature. I want to join Roberto and Maria in encouraging you to use this blog. Hardly ever will you find a better way to improve your English. If you persevere, suddenly, you’ll find yourself thinking about the novel in English. My experience is that writing is the best way of fixing knowledge. I want to thank Carmen for allowing us, the former students, to take part in this great Club.
As you probably know, we did “Great Expectations” last year. Now, I’m trying to read with you “A tale of two cities”. So far, both histories and their characters are quite different, but some Dickensian characteristics can be found in the two novels: disapproval of the deep social differences, strong criticism of the legal system , wonderful descriptions of the atmospheres, masterly use of language including repetitions, inversions, succession of adjectives, etc.
I think Dickens uses one of these resources, the inversion, in his presentation of Dr Manette. He writes “So entirely had it lost the life...”, to emphasize his faintness. I agree Carmen Segura that Mr Manette is like a dead man, someone who has been so much hurt, who has suffered so sharp pain, that he is not himself anymore but a number (“one hundred and five) to avoid having any feeling or any idea.

Isidro dijo...

When Lucy met his father in the garret, it looked as if he were lost his head. But, taking into account that Mr Manette had passed eighteen years isolated and perhaps ill-fed, it is very likely that he were very depressed, and therefore he was so disconcerted, with the ravings of a disturbing mind.

We can imagine the distress and sorrow of Lucy when she saw the deplorable state of her father. What a sad encounter!!! In that moment Lucy had real reason to be shocked because she had found an unhealthy and helpless person rather than the strong personality that could give her the security that she has likely missed in his childhood.

The passage in which Lucy talks with her father in the garret, when they were left alone, is very emotional and romantic. But, in my opinion, the intensity of Lucy’s feeling in this scene is out of proportion, because she had never felt affection to his father previously, given that she even didn’t know that he lived. Perhaps I be a very cold person, but I think that if I had been in the place of Lucy I wouldn’t have been able to feel so much affection as she showed to her father.
Nevertheless, in my opinion, the father’s intense emotion is perfectly justified, because it is likely that the encounter with his daughter have awakened in his mind old tender feeling already forgotten.

As to Mr Lorry, I think he was very worried when they climbed the stairs, not only for Lucy but for his own reaction. Because his “spirit grew heavier and heavier” and he had to stop twice to rest. So, it is possible that when he said to Lucy: courage, dear miss!!, he should also seek to give courage to himself. Therefore he said: “Let our good friend here assist you on that side”. But Mr Defargue didn’t catch this allusion, and Mr Lorry had to lift Lucy and help her to get into the garret, and held her clinging to him. In my opinion, both of them needed each other!!!!

brianda dijo...

Isidro, I think I would have reacted as Lucy (why do you know her name is Lucy?) regarding to her father, because even I as a reader feel sorrow, pity and tenderness for that man, imagine if I knew he is my father!! having passed through all that we know!

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

At the end of chapter 6 Dickens describes in a wonderful way the movement from Mr.Lorry’s thoughts, observing the lights in the street, to the stars and from the beauty and mystery of the stars to our live in earth.
Many times our thoughts go from the daily routine to high questions about life.
It is so beautiful thinking about the universe and to feel, like Mr.Lorry feels, we are the most important space in it as we are human beings in our sufferings and joys.

Isidro dijo...

Brianda, It is possible that I be colder than you and Carmen Segura, but I’m not so insensitive as to not feel sorrow, pity and tenderness for Mr Manette.

I’m sorry to have revealed the name of Miss Manette. Besides, I wrote Lucy but her name is Lucie. It has happened because I'm reading the novel several chapters ahead of where we are in class, and though I always try to avoid making comments about chapters not given in class, sometimes I don’t remember specific details, like when we know that Miss Manette’s name is Lucie.

MANOLO (NAV2ºB) dijo...

I want to comment that in Chapter 6 what impressed me more was the Dickens´ brilliant way in working with the suspense. It makes you feel utterly connected with the chapter and the same time, unwillingly, trying to imagine new facts and answers in advance. An significant example of that is the scene in which Mr. Defarge is asking different questions to the shoemaker, and then Mr. Lorry.

Another passage I enjoyed a lot was the interaction between Mr. Manette and Miss Manette. When you are reading you can picture yourself at the same room they are. Besides, it is a very intriguing and detailed manner of dealing with a veiled familiar relationship.

Finally, I would like to recall the paragragh in which the carriage was stopped by the soldiers. The Mr. Defarge´s behaviour was a little bit misterious, so he went down from the carriage, he spoke with the soldier in a low voice, and then the uniformed soldier allowed them to continue...

I think in those sentences Dickens consciously hides a tricky information. If he had reveiled it in that moment Mr. Defarge´s intentions would have been uncovered too early in the book.

Laura de Arriba 5_B dijo...

I have been flicking through your comments and I am quite surprised because, in spite of having read the book until chapter seven, I realized that I have not yet known some of the characters: Lucy and Miss Pross. I could imagine who is Lucy (Miss Manette, I guess) but scarcely could I imagine that woman in chapter four as Miss Manette’s governess without further reading, in fact, I thought she was a servant of the Royal Georges Hotel…

Carmen dijo...

Carmen, i have liked what you point out of Dr. Manette´s hair very much. I do think that it is the fact that Lucie has her mother´s hair and that he had kept some of it as a tresure that breaches the distance existing between him, in his dreary situation, and the present time, it is what lifts him out of his imprisonment, what sets him free.
hi Susan, to which group did you belong?

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, I think that Lucie, indeed, is very emotional on her father´s account, but consider that she thinks he is dead, and to suddenly recover him, must have been something really impressive, I think she gets a bit carried away by the circumstance of his situation. Dickens is trying to show her as a very nice girl, the embodiment of all the virtues a woman should have, and this includes compassion.
Brianda, of course we are impressed by poor Dr. Manette, I only wonder what could have put him in such a situation...

Carmen dijo...

Manolo, you are perfectly right in drawing our attention to the conversation, of which we know nothing about, between a solsier and Monsieur Defarge..yes, we get the impression that there is something going on...in the background of which we know nothing..
Laura, well, you have to read on ahead, i´m afraid that we use names as we know them. Miss Pross is a servant of Lucie´s, i hardly think she is her governess, she holds a lower position than that of a governess, know that these were like teachers, tutors, so educated. miss Pross in her cheecky treatment of mr. Lorry shows little breeding, no servant.

Isidro dijo...

I think that Dickens achieves a high emotional state in the passage that describes the encounter of Miss Manette with her father. I have liked very much the description of monsieur Manette and his progressive recovery of consciousness, and also Miss Manette’s affection and tenderness with her father.
But, in my opinion, it was unnecessary that Miss Manette were at the garret in the moment of monsieur Manette’s liberation. I believe that the encounter between father and daughter should have been arranged in a way less painful for both two. But Dickens made her climb the stinking and gloomy stairs full of heaps of refuse in order to achieve the highest possible emotional stress, what he got when monsieur Manette sunk in his daughter’s arms, “and his face dropped on her breast.”
It was “a sight so touching …(......)...that the two beholders covered their faces”.!!!!!!!!

This moment so emotional only could be achieved by Miss Manette, after overcoming her initial weakness and fright when she saw the white hair and beard raggedly cut, her hollow and thinness face and his tattered clothes. And this was possible when “it looked as though it had passed like a moving light, from him to her”. After this moment she was transformed and became physically and psychologically a new person, like when Saint Paul fall off his horse.

I think that it was not reasonable that Mr Lorry met monsieur Manette accompanied by Miss Manette, taking into account that he knew she was very impressionable. We must remember that some days ago she got very impressed only because Mr Lorry told her about recalling her father to life. So, Mr Lorry should have thought that the encounter between father and daughter in the garret had the risk of provoking a great shock to Miss Manette.
And we have seen how Mr Lorry and monsieur Defarge had to lift her to enter into the garret. And, only after receiving the “moving light”, could she stand the shock and even stay alone with her father in that stinking and darkness place, lied down on the cold and dirty ground of the garret.
Had been arranged the encounter in less painful way, this resort to the illumination of Miss Manette, that I find little plausible, would have been unnecessary.

Reading this passage I have recalled the expectation of the staff of the Royal George Hotel waiting to know what kind of person Mr Lorry was. When he entered into the room he was an undefined man but when he came out he was itself ready “to his portrait”. I think that the encounter of Miss Manette with his father should have realized in a hotel after monsieur Manette having a bath and changing his tattered clothes, because the meeting would have been so emotional as in the garret but less painful for both.

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

Chapter 1,2nd book
In the beginning of this chapter, the narrator describes Tellson’s Banck so ironically, depicting it as the perfection of inconveniences, telling us how much dark, cramped and old-fashioned it is.
The bank is a symbol of England because both of them are encrusted in old, unjust traditions. They have problems with inherit institutions and they have problems in changing them.

At that time executions were excessively frequent and unjust.
It is so ironic the way that Dickens speaks about the solution of the problems, putting people to death. It was the best way to eliminate the problem at all.
The content is so dramatic and it is a great criticism about the Law.

In this chapter we know better how Jerry is. He yells at his wife. But I think he has not clear conscience because he is paranoiac when his wife prays for him.
The stains with mud and rust tell us that the work he makes at night is a dirty job but it is a mystery.

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, you are not considering that miss manette could have insisted on going with Mr. Lorry!! Those sort of women, frail in our opinion, are, deep down very strong. Moreover, miss Manette, having recovered her lost father, would probably be in a hurry to reunite with him.
The exact circumstances of Dr. Manette are unknown to both Mr L. and Miss M.remember he is surprised at the Doctor´s being (Gerund) made a show ...

Carmen dijo...

Very well understood carmen, you have mentioned the bank being a parallel of England, which it is, and you have mentioned the way the Law use to act, to solve the problem you killed the offender. We have the saying "muerto el perro se acabo la rabia", which shows that at one point we were acting in the same way in this country!!!!
Mr. Cruncher is an unforgetable character. Dickens flourishes much more woth secondary characters, in this he is unique. Poor mrs. Cruncher...what a life she has led so far...how many women in this world, currently are Mrs. Cruncher? good, clean orderly, loving, and their solace..praying, whose reward is being battered and humiliated by their men?

Isidro dijo...

I have intended to post a comment but it does not appear on the blog. Do you know if it does not work?

Isidro dijo...

Carmen, you are right in what you say. The characters are like Dickens wanted to do them. For example, he decided that Miss Menette were an adorable woman and Madame Defarge a contemptible one, and we have to accept it. If we enter in the world of the novel and we follow his own logic, the events are unquestionable and every character has the right of having his own contradictions and hidden reasons. And we can imagine, like you does, which are this hidden reasons.

Isidro dijo...

But we can also analyse the creative process and take a personal position and desagree with the author; and this was what I did in my comment. So I was showing my disgust and my desagreement with Dickens’s decision of putting the weak, adorable and sensitive Miss Manette in the situation of climbing a dirty and stinking stairs to lie on the floor hugging her father wrapped in dirty and tattered clothes.
I am sure that if Miss Manette climbed the stairs was because Dickens obliged her, not because she should choose this option. In fact, she didn’t know that she was to receive the illumination that would allow her endure the difficult moment, therefore she was nearly swoon when she arrived at the garret. Miss Manette didn’t rebel, but I remember the case of the main character of Unamuno’s novel Niebla that becomes alive and starts a discussion with the author. And in “L'imposture des mots” of Yasmine Khadra we see how different characters of his novels criticize him.

Isidro dijo...

Moreover, as you know, a novel has a proper life independently of the author and different readers many times see different things in it. And I think that all the different points of view are acceptable if they have a logic. Therefore, all masterpieces are a source of rivers of ink that would astonish their author if they lived.
I know that my opinion is of limited value because it is the expression of a very particular point of view, and my only hope is that my modest contribution have a place alongside the views of others. And, above all, my main interest is to write very much in English because, as you know, my level is very low and I think that writing I can improve it a little; therefore I try to find reasons to write, though it be at the cost of taking exaggerated positions.

Isidro dijo...

I have divided in three parts the comment that I didn’t achieve to post, because it is possible that it were not posted because of his length.

Laura de Arriba 5_B dijo...

I have found the transition from book one to book two very interesting. Dickens has used a well-known resource in cinema: the spectators know an essential event that took place in a specific time through a brief scene in the beginning. Then the action moves to a different time in which the main story develops. In the second book we were finding little by little the characters we found in the first: Jerry (the messenger from Tellson`s Bank), Mr. Lorry and Mr. and Miss Manette). From my point of view, this strategy has the power of attracting and holding our attention.

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, first of all your level is NOT very low, so drop that excuse, you write well in English and express your ideas clearly, so let´s be clear about this. Secondly you do make some mistakes, which could be corrected if you did not get carried away with your reasoning. Thirdly, of course you can take whichever position you like, so long as you prove your thesis, and moreover even if you couldn´t prove it it could be interesting, so rest assured that you can say whatever you wish.
however I also have a right to disagree, and let me point out that from the point of view of the discussion disagreeing is VERY HEALTHY....and FUN.
how many times have you forced yourself to do something you disliked? I can remeber many instances in point when I have done it. I still think that Miss Manette, good as she is, the saint that Dickens wants her to appear, the compassionate daughter, has to do that visit, it is a kind or rite of passage that brings her back to her origin and to her father, to the status of having a family, which i believe is important, very, to orphans. We tend to take for granted what we have, and only appreciate what we have not, thus when we get what we missed we go no lengths to obtaining it.
I have your reasoning and your parallels very interesting, perhaps you could tell us a bit about this in class.

Carmen dijo...

Laura, you have hit the nail on the head as Dickens has been a writer with a particular gift to draw the picture as though you were watching a film!!
The end of Book 1 with their return to England, remember that the beginning was when they left England to fetch Dr. Manette, which feat is accomplished deposits the reader in the beginning of the plot, as we discover new characters and enlarge on ones already presented.
What do you think of Darnay? Do you like him? is he a rogue?

MANOLO NAV2º B dijo...

In the Chapter 1, book the second, Dickens shows us an illustrative and meaning description of Tellson´s Bank. He constantly uses no very positive adjetives to discribe it. Doing that I think Dickens is portraying the insecure and unstable situation of England.
For achieving it he skillfuly uses an accurate technique, which consist in comparing the bank and the country.
So, he ends up that picture expressing mataphorically the wrongness of the different measures were being taken. Indeed, he explains how awful and contradictory the results were.

I also find highly descriptive and intriguing the scene in which Mr. Cruncher is on the bed, and his wife is arriving at. There are a willing and suspicious hint between the clean boots at night and the muddy ones, early in the morning.

Obviously, Dickens could have unveiled the secret in that moment but he consciously wants to maintain the reader´s attention concerned about the next paragraphs. If he had uncovered it too early it would have been impossible to connect it with the end of the chapter. In this way, we can imagine young Jerry questioning himself about his father´s rusty fingers. And then, it does not make sense for him with the dairy job his father is supposed to do...

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

I agree with you Carmen about Cruncher’s wife.
I think she is a kind woman who takes care of her family without any reward.
She is suffering from her husband’s behaviour, thinking he is making bad or illegal works.
Her solace is to pray and she is badly treated.

Laura I agree with you. I am interested in the book as if I were watching a intrigue film and it is so annoying how much time takes me to understand every chapter.

Speaking about Darnay I do think he is a bit rogue. He likes to earn money even if he has to do dishonest tings, teaching his son in the same way.

In this chapter 2, we can see how the crowd is, coming to the trial with sadistic appetites for fun, hoping for violence and spectacle.
On the other hand we can appreciate that the same crowd is able to feel compassion when they notice Manette’s concern and pity for the prisoner.

It is fantastic the paragraph depicting the Old Baley. It is so ironic when writer uses good adjectives to criticise the pillory and whipping-post as saying they are wise, dear institution and very humanising and softening.

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

I agree with you Carmen about Cruncher’s wife.
I think she is a kind woman who takes care of her family without any reward.
She is suffering from her husband’s behaviour, thinking he is making bad or illegal works.
Her solace is to pray and she is badly treated.

Laura I agree with you. I am interested in the book as if I were watching a intrigue film and it is so annoying how much time takes me to understand every chapter.

Speaking about Darnay I do think he is a bit rogue. He likes to earn money even if he has to do dishonest tings, teaching his son in the same way.

In this chapter 2, we can see how the crowd is, coming to the trial with sadistic appetites for fun, hoping for violence and spectacle.
On the other hand we can appreciate that the same crowd is able to feel compassion when they notice Manette’s concern and pity for the prisoner.

It is fantastic the paragraph depicting the Old Baley. It is so ironic when writer uses good adjectives to criticise the pillory and whipping-post as saying they are wise, dear institution and very humanising and softening.

Isidro dijo...

In my view, Dickens’s way of describing Madame Defarge knitting is very comic, but at the same time her conduct is a little disturbing. We read at the end of the first book twice that she “saw nothing”. Nevertheless, when she heard the prisoner ask for his shoemaker tools and the unfinished shoes, on her own initiative, went knitting through the courtyard and brought them down.
Do you imagine Madame Defarge’s knitting while climbing and coming down the stair in the darkness? Do you imagine Mr Lorry climbing the stairs in the darkness trying to avoid the heaps of refuge?

She saw nothing!!!!!!!????? Is not it strange? In my opinion it is an irony. I think that this insistence could be related to something unknown that will occurs in the future.
It is possible that Dr Manette’s liberation be illegal? The blindness of Madame Defarge can be related to the information that Monsieur Defarge gave to the soldiers dropping his voice, but producing a flutter between the military lanterns? I think that there is something fishy going on. Don’t you?

Isidro dijo...

Manolo, has comment very well some aspect of Mr Cruncher’s personality. I think that there is a relationship, still unknown, between the muddy boots in the morning and his rusty fingers on the one hand and his GUILTY CONSCIENCE on the other.

I think that his work in the darkness is the origin of Mr Cruncher’s GUILTY CONSCIENCE, which we already discovered in the Night of the Shadows (chapter 2). If you are interested in remembering that passage, you can read my comment of 25 October.

Moreover I think that his anger with his wife’s prayers is related with his GUILTY CONSCIENCE. When he is drunk the accusatory nightmares assail him, but he can’t endure, when he is sober, any trace of his work in the shadows, not even in an indirect way like when his wife prays for him, because he knows how the justice acts.

Mr Cruncher knows that he is not a good person, but he wants to deceive himself thinking that he is a good person deep down. And he gets very upset when his wife prays for him, because her acting this way involves that she rejects his conduct and that she doesn’t recognize the sacrifice he does for her family. Therefore he says: “your mother’s a nice woman, young Jerry, going a praying agin your father’s prosperity...(....).... and praying that the bread and butter may be snatched out of the mouth of her only child.”
Mr Cruncher has won at least his son’s support and Mrs Cruncher have to bear the contempt and the ill-treat of both two.

Isidro dijo...

In my opinion, Young Jerry is worst than his father. He is “a grisly urchin of twelve”, that is, a little great monster that follows his father’s steps. He collaborates with his father in the task of humiliating his mother, he replaces his father on the stool in front of Tellson’s, and he is cogitating about his father’s rusty fingers. When he should discover the hidden secret he will have completed the training process and he will be the image of his father.
By the moment, he enjoys making his mother suffer, and his cheeky, cold, and frightening way of staring at her gives me chills.

Carmen dijo...

Manolo, a very good post as you have drawn aur attention to the fact that the immobility of the bank and the incapacity of the cahnge in the country are certainly a drawback. Always within the sense of humour of the author, his sarcasm, which lowers for the reader the tragedy of the situation. The paragraph concerning Death is tragic in its effects:the sentences of those offenders.
Be careful with te third person: "which consist"

Carmen dijo...

Carmen, I´m glad ou like the book so much, it is indeed intriguing...
Darnay is the prisoner, and Cruncher is the rogue. What is there in men that whenever somethng goes wrong they blame their wives? This has hardly changed, has it?

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, ceertainly Madame Defarge is a frightening personality. We are scared of those that look and pretend not to see, we are scared of eyes...
What I think is that all those subdued voices are dangerous...do not forget that the paupers are referred to as "rats", rats we do not see but are always there...and negative,aren´t they?
Be careful with the structure of verbs: "that will occurs","Manolo, has comment"
On your second comment, very interesting on Mr. Cruncher, you point out that he is, like the rats, hiding something of which he is not proud and which could involve "dealings" with the law. You are absolutely right. I would further add that Master cruncher takes after Papa in this his nasty attitude to his poor mother, she being the best, according to how Dickens makes her appear,in that family. What virtues does Dickens appreciate in women?

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, don´t you think that Master Jerry is indeed a triumph for his father? But how many fathers, by wrong example to their sons make them an image of them?????? Now we know a lot about psychology but then it wasn´t so clear the example is the main thing.
We have not improved much in this area...

M Carmen.- 5ºB dijo...

I don’t agree with Isidro about Jerry Junior, I don’t think he be worst than his father. He only tries to go on his steps, his father is his master, but the problem is that he is a witched master. He teaches him wrong things, like to control his mother (maybe what he does).
According my previous comment, after some centuries, many of ours have not learnt anything. Many women are buttering yet. Many men have only a way to show their unhappiness, their frustration in business, family life, social successful, etc. only buttering their wife.
They think that their wives are the reason of their suffering. Mr. Cruncher says his wife “If I had had any but a unnat’ral wife… I might had made some money last week instead of being counter-prayed …”. She is guilty
This is not a question what wives do (never mind, they are always guilty) but what this husbands think , they always have an excuse for buttering them.

Isidro dijo...

Carmen, I’m sorry.
….”That will occur”....
…...“Manolo has commented”......
Thank you, Carmen.

In my opinion, Mrs Cruncher’s virtues are, on the one hand, that she has conscience of his husband acting wrong in his work in the darkness: That is, she would prefer to live respectably without the extra money he earned at night.Therefore her husband says that she prays against his prosperity.
And on the other hand, she is a woman that keeps very decently the apartment. For example, we have seen that she had scrubbed early the room where his husband laid at bed and she had spread a clean white cloth on the table where she had put the cups and the saucers for breakfast before he got up.

Isidro dijo...

Carmen I agree with you when you say that many women are being battered yet and that their husbands consider them guilty of their failures and frustrations. And there are also today many children that are educated in an atmosphere of violence.

But I disagree with you when you try to justify Jerry Junior’s conduct. I think that there are many children who live a similar situation today, and we know that some of them reject their father’s conduct and that even lose their life defending their mothers.

Jerry junior is a witness of his father’s conduct but also of his mother’s. And I am sure that his mother has taken care of him and has given him more affection than his father. Therefore I think that though he shouldn’t dare to confront his father, at least he might feel a bit sorry for her mother. But we have seen that he enjoy causing her to suffer.

Isidro dijo...

I’m sorry.
The Carmen of my last comment is.................. Carmen 5º B

Isidro dijo...

I'm sorry.
...................At least, he might feel a bit sorry for HIS mother.

Laura de Arriba 5_B dijo...

I have observed along the book that Dickens has used a specific writing resource in numerous occasions. It consists of repeating and repeating the same sentence with small changes. This strategy gives emphasis and creates, in my opinion, a very impressive sonority when you read aloud. Here there is an example:
Chapter 3 book 2: ‘That they never could lay their heads upon their pillows; that they never could tolerate the idea of their wives laying their heads upon their pillows; that they could never endure the notion of their children laying their heads upon their pillows; in short, that there never more could be, for them or theirs, any laying of heads upon pillows at all, unless the prisoner’s head was taken off.’
Besides, Dickens also uses repetition in another way; in order for achieving emphasis and sonority, he constantly repeats one single word followed by different clauses. We can find an example of that in Chapter 5 book 1 when he is referring to Hunger. A similar resource is used in the same chapter with the three Jacques. And, in two different chapters (chapter 5 book 1 and chapter 6 book 1), we can find a repetition that joins two events very well: when Mr. Lorry, Monsieur Defarge and Miss Manette leaves the Wine-Shop for going up to the garret and when the same three and Doctor Manette go into the coach in order to return to London under the watchful eye of Madame Defarge:
‘Madame Defarge knitted with nimble fingers and steady eyebrows, and saw nothing.’
‘Only one soul was to be seen, and that was Madame Defarge - who was leaned against the door-post, knitting, and saw nothing.’
‘Madame Defarge immediately called to her husband that she would get them, and went, knitting, out of the lamplight, through the courtyard. She quickly brought them down and handed them in ¬-and immediately afterwards leaned against the door-post, knitting, and saw nothing.’

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

I am amazing..how C.D. uses the scenes and characters to compare them with current issues. How with those descriptions , using sentences with double sense and the actions of their characters we understand perfectly what he wants to say.

For example, C.D. uses the courtroom to make a critic of the British legal system, when he describes the place, the lawyers, how they are sitting at their tables, their looks....the way they speak......it is fantastic; it is like if you were there with them, having part of the trial.

How the spectators are interested in it and their reactions to the condemned man show us the worst bases of human beings. People enjoy themselves with that events......it is like a party!!!!!Such an ironic situation but so real at the same time.

But always, there is a bit of humanity between so much cruelty.......the crowd vs Miss Manette.

María dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
María dijo...

Wow, Laura, that is amazing! It is great that you have enlightened all these characteristics of Dickens´ writing. The secret of his success is exactly what you point out, his way of telling, describing; he is a poet actually, even though he writes prose... He makes your eyes sparkle...

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

Charles Darnay was prisoner and now he is free thanks to Carton’s cleverness because he notices the striking resemblance between himself and Darnay.

Carton is very similar to Charles Darnay physically but they are very different in their temperaments.
Carton is not polite, nor a gentlemen, having bad manners and drinking a lot, considering himself a disappointed drudge.

I think that Carton, who is a new character in the novel, is more complicated than his first appearance initially suggests.
Why is he so depressed? He feels himself miserable and he lives into darkness of alcoholism.
Perhaps he would have had to overcome his problems but the cruel reality is that he is alone and he needs help and love.
Nevertheless he receives a cool response from Charles when he talks about his problems in life.
I think that Darnay does not make a charitable response to somebody who has just saved your life.
I thought that Charles was a hero in the novel with a lot of virtues, but now in this situation he is cool and proud.

Carmen dijo...

I´m going away for the "puente" so I will not be able to chat for a while.
I have read your posts but have no time to answer them now, I just want to say that Carton in my opinion is by far the most interesting of two...though perhaps not the most convenient for a love affair. He appears to me to be the tormented hero women do not understand!!! Intelligent, though he is, there must be something wrong with him as nobody cares for him..whether he cares for nobody that is another matter, don´t you think? He appears to care for Lucie. Do you think him weak? people with addictions seem to be so, don´t you think? What about Darnay? I find him haughty...and insensible.

Isidro dijo...

In that time the pillory was “a wise institution that inflicted a punishment of which no one could foresee the extend”, the whipping post was “another dear old institution, very humanising and softening to behold in action”, the transaction in bloody-money was other sample of “ancestral wisdom”. And the Old Bailey, as a whole, was an illustration of the precept that “Whatever is, is right”, which is equivalent to this other “nothing that ever was, was wrong”.

In my opinion, it is amazing the ironic way of showing the frightful methods that justice used in those days. I think that Dickens achieves strongly to emphasize the horror and the malfunction of the judicial system by the way of attributing laudatory epithets ironically.

Do you think that things have changed, if we consider the humanity as a whole?
Do you think that the Lords were right when they said “that things in general were settled for ever.”?
I think that there have been changes, but these are only circumstantial, not essential. In my opinion, humanity is still as wild as ever.

Isidro dijo...

Given the situation of that time, don’t you think it is possible that the judicial system were the more appropriate to achieve the target of reducing the crimes?
We have read in chapter one that the situation in England was completely chaotic, as shows this quotation:
“the Lord Mayor of London …(...).....was despoiled in the side of all his retinue; prisoners in London gaols that fought battles with their turnkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamond crosses fron the neck of noble lords at Court drawing-rooms; musketeers went into St. Giles’s, to search for contraband goods, and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fired on the mob, and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition.”

So, don’t you think that a situation of lost of control, in which the savagery and the lack of respect for authority and law were predominant, required that justice were very hard?
Had the justice been more lenient, the savagery of the people would have increased so much that life in society would have been unbearable. But the procedures of the justice achieved that people’s behaviour were more humanising and wise.
I think that this reasoning could represent the position of authority at that time. Don’t you?

Anónimo dijo...

Darnay is haughty and INSENSIBLE indeed. However, Carlton is not the tormented hero women don't understand. He is simply the HERO women DON'T NOTICE. Which is a bit different. Isn't it???? Have a good puente, you all. Maria

Isidro dijo...

In Old Bailey “Whatever is, is right.” Who would dear to say that it was not true?
Only did a brave man dear to do it: Mr Cruncher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mr Cruncher tried to do it very shyly and perhaps unconsciously, but immediately he had to rectify. Thus, when he knew that the sight in the court was about treason, Mr Cruncher said:
“Barbarous!”
“Is the law, remarked the ancient clerk, turning his surprised spectacles to him. Is the law.
It’s hard in the law to spile a man, I think. It’s hard enough to kill him, but it is very hard to spil him, sir”
Not at all, returned the ancient clerk. Speak well of the law. Take care of your chest and voice....”

And afterward, in the court he said to the man next to him that the prisoner has not been judged yet, when this man told him that the prisoner “will be drawn on a hurdle to be half hanged, and then h’ll be taken down and sliced before his own face, and then his inside will be taken out and burn while he looks on, and then his head will be chopped off, and he’ll be cut into quarters. That’s the sentence.

Don’t you think that there is a tender side in Mr Cruncher’s personality? At least his position in the court was more reasonable that the one of the majority of the people, because they had already hanged, beheaded and quartered the accused before the sentence had been produced.
My only doubt is if he says that because he is thinking in himself as a possible victim, or because he sometimes see the the world from his sensitive side.

MANOLO AV2ºB dijo...

In chapter 3, Book 2nd , Dickens perfectly shows us the daily performing of British society through a trial.

Even, Dickens´ intention is to connect those habitual behaviours with the unsteady and dull legal system.

By that, Dickens brilliantly uses de different characters (judge, Attorney personnel, witnesses, people attending) like links, which make the readers feel in the middle of the public hearing.

Do you think the tittle would help you in the attempt of foreseeing the end of the chapter ?...

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

This morning I was speaking with one client of my office about the book which we are reading in class. This man likes reading English authors and he loves Dickens; of course he has read this book and many times according to him.

He told me something very interesting besides curiously: In chapter 3 we discover Charles Darnay´s character..... and according to this man, Charles Darnay is an idealized version of Dickens. Dickens uses him to describe a image of himself, besides both of them have the same initials in their names, C.D.

I did not realize of this point of view while I was reading the chapter...what do you think about it??? Do you agree with him????

Probably he is right because many authors in their novels use one of the main characters to write and tell things about themselves.

It is very interesting when you speak with other people about a book. The same novel seems as if it was other one because the opinions and interpetations are totally different depending on the person who is reading it, with many different points of view.

Isidro dijo...

So strange were Miss Manette’s answers in the trial, that the prisoner’s council, Mr. Stryver, had to minimize the importance of her declaration, saying that Mr Darney’s words were only “the gallantries and politenesses likely to pass between any young gentlemant and young lady.”
In my opinion, Miss Manette’s declaration was amazing. It looks as if she intended support the accusation against Mr Darnay, nevertheless we know that she is grateful and feels some sympathy to him.
So, in my opinion, not only is she a weak woman who faints frequently, but she seems to be a little naive and stupid. Don’t you agree?

Isidro dijo...

Mr Lorry reddened when Mr Carton told him that it would not be a good idea he should speak to the prisoner to inform him about Miss Manette’s health.

In my opinion, Mr Lorry’s redness is very amazing. Will he be in love with Miss Manette? I think that it is possible the reason be that he is a man of business, who doesn’t move at ease in the world of feeling. Don’t you agree?

Later, when Mr Carton informed Mr Darnay that Miss Manette was very well, Mr Darnay pretended that Mr Carton communicated to Miss Manette his acknowledgement and his sorry to have been the cause of her agitation, but Mr Carton showed his good disposition only if Mr Darnay asked him to do it.

I think that, had Mr Darnay shown his gratitude to Mr Carton, he wouldn’t have been reticent in conveying his words to Miss Manette. In my opinion, Mr Carton is a good person. He is willing to do things for others but he needs a little of love and recognition.

Moreover, I find a little out of place that, in a moment in which they are expecting a possible sentence of death, the center of interest be the prisoner’s concern for Miss Manette’s health.

Isidro dijo...

Mr Carton seems to be an ironic man. In front of Mr Lorry, he spoke to Mr Darnay of the conflict that “goes on in the business mind when the business mind is divided between good natured impulse and business appearances”. Mr Lorry reddened warmly and agreed with him in which men of business had to think more on the House than in themselves. But Mr Lorry got a little bewildered and said to Mr Carton that he really didn’t know what he had to do with the matter.
Mr Carton had already caused the redness of Mr Lorry on a previous occasion, but I don’t know the reason of his vulnerability. It is possible that Mr Carton should have seen anything that makes him suspect that Mr Lorry loves Miss Manette? I think that Mr Carton is only joking, but Mr Lorry is a man of business and doesn’t take a joke. What do you think?

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, very good comments about the old Bailey or connected with it.
I agree with you that we haven´t changed in essentials, that´s why this novel appeals to us as soon as we starta to compare what happened then and what happens now and except for the fact that we are not so bloody (in Europe, that is because in the rest of the world...)we are surprisingly...similar.

Mr. Cruncher...very good that you noticed he objects to the action of the law..do you think he sees that he could be involved with the law ever? Yes, I also agree with you that he seems to have a heart, though he doesn´t show it with his wife...

Carmen dijo...

Reyes, this is why most students like reading the novel, as the chat we have about it make the reading more interstng.
I had no idea that Darnay could be Dickens himself, why not he certainly has the same initials.
Do you like Darnay? me not too much as his conversation with Carton proves him to be proud, he does not have empathy with the suffering of others, he is proud..

Carmen dijo...

Laura and Reyes, I´ve been very interested in reading your posts carefully, one of you has picked up the repetition that Dickens uses so much in his writing and the reasons he uses it very well. It is ver effective indeed and conveys irony, sadness or whatever very well, indeed

Carmen dijo...

As to master Cruncher, I do think that then as now copying the parent of your own sex is something that we do inherently...how? you would have to ask a psychiatrist, it is amazing to me, but it is true we end doing and being what we have seen at home....

Carmen dijo...

Carmen you have perceived Darnay´s nature..itis certainly inadequte to so quickly forget the good others do to us...but we do.
Isidro, I don´t think Mr. Lorry is in love with Miss manette, he reddens in anger at Mr. carton´s true but inadequte comments...he, as you say cannot take a joke because he is very serious, and men as serious as him do not understand irony, do not have sense of humour.

Carmen dijo...

There has not been one comment about what I said in class connecting faintness in a woman with the surrender of her in body and soul to a man...This would make her attractive to the inner nature of a man, thus, and though unconsciusly, Miss Manette becomes such a triumph. Think of the way women are represented in painting, so often in a reclining posture..
Comments....

Isidro dijo...

When in chapter four of the second book, Mr Carton was alone with Mr Darnay made some questions to him about Miss Manette, and Mr Darnay got bewildered and didn’t answer. Finally, Mr Carton asked directly to Mr Darnay if he thought he liked him.
Mr Darnay said he didn’t know, though he had acted as if he did. Nevertheless, Mr Carton said that he didn’t like him. Before making this questions to Mr Darney, he had told him that they were not much alike in any particular. In my opinion, Mr Carton’s words are very strange.
I don’t understand his behaviour because he looks a good person, but at the same time I think he seeks to tease people. Don’t you think that he may be a little drunk?

Isidro dijo...

Mr Stryver said to Mr Carton that he one minute was up and the next down, “now in spirits and now in despondency”. And Mr Carton admitted that this seemed to be his destiny. Even when they were at School, he did exercises for other boys, and seldom for himself.
When Mr Carton “threw himself down in his clothes on a neglected bed, and its pillow was wet with wasted tears” he was at his lowest point. Poor Mr Carton! He knows he is doomed to failure, in spite his good will.
I think that Mr Stryver is right. He knows Mr Carton very well because they are friends for a long time. And he said “you are the old Sydney Carton of old Shrewsbury School......the old seesaw Sydney. Up one minute and down the next; now on spirits and now in despondency.”
Mr Carton is a generous person, but he is not be able to set a target to himself and fight to get it, and finally he feels a disappointed man. Thus, I think he is sincere when in chapter four said to Mr Darnay “I am a disappointed drudge, sir. I care for no man on earth, an no man on earth care for me”.
Mr Stryver said: “Do you know, Sydney,........I rather thought at the time, that you sympathised with the golden-haired doll, and were quick to see what happened to the golden-haired doll? This could be a good target for Mr Carton, but he will not take now the decision that has always lacked.
So, while the sun rose sadly, he was lying on his bed “incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.”

Carmen dijo...

Very nice, Isidro you have picked on the relevant quotes to show mr. Carton.
I think that the quote about the qulities that one needs to get to the top is very significant, too: ambition, self-denial and perseverance, don´t you? It is obvious that without these three qualities it is easy to fail, as Mr.Carton apparently does.

M Carmen 2ºB dijo...

Carmen, I don’t know if Mr. Carton will be a hero, but at that moment he looks like a very good person although he has a very disreputable look. He knows himself and for that he says that he cannot change easily and he has been always this way.
But actually he wants, he wishes to change, he doesn’t like his life and his behavior.
In my opinion his is very intelligent, and he has very good fallings but he feels alone, he miss somebody’s love, maybe his mother or father o maybe a woman, Mss Manette.

MANOLO AV2º B dijo...

In chapter 4, Dickens perfectly show us the ritualist and well-behaved leaving of the crowded courtroom, as well as Charles Darnay and his companions. Using this technic he makes you feel in the middle of the judge corridors.

On the other hand, it is also worth mentioning the manner in which Mr. Darnay and Mr. Carton are wandering on the street, and the final tardget of reaching an ancient and fashionable tavern to swallow a little bit of delicious port wine.

Had Mr. Carton been a more social and extrovert person he would not drink in that way, or his loneliness is because of the most of the nights he would get home with a heavy drunkenness...

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

Mr. Carton´s character is very misterious and interesting. When I think of him I imagine a man with many problems in his past, perhaps there is something hard and painful which has motived this kind of behaviour and torments him continually, so he can not be happy.

Because of what happened to him in the past and his frustation and failure in life about what he could be and he is not. That´s the reason why he drinks and acts in that way.

He drinks to forget as many men and women.........

But,actually, he is a very sensible and good man who cares for the others.......although he is sad and moody because he has not good luck in life , in general.....I think this haracter will give us enough surprises.

Carmen dijo...

I cannot but agree with you three, Carmen, manolo and Reyes, on the whole had Carton been more of an extrovert he would probably drink less, he is a good person, and he will give us surprises...
Indeed there appears to be sometning in his past which made him what he is now, tormented, incapable of thrift a drunkard, and possible other drugs.. yet Dickens says he is "a man of good abilities and feelings" incaple of their correct usage...and moreover that he is aware of this himself. Carton is certainly very intelligent but what is missing in his character which prevents him form "using his talents better" as the cold response of Darnay was?
In my opinion he is too sensible, thus he is often aggressive and too cynical, it is as if he had nothing to lose in life...in this train of thought the fact that he defines himself to be a "disappointed druge" who cares for no one on earth and who is cared for by none, makes him singularly intelligent and clear of thought, in spite of drinks!!!
I kind of like his relationship with Stryver, both appear to be quite cool with each other, though Stryver treats him in a patronizing way, don´t you think? Perhaps Carton was bullied at school and Stryver knocked the bully down with "his shoulders"? Yet, I cannot imagie Stryver helping anyone but himself, can you?, No it must something else, yet they understand each other, though love or friendship there not be between those two.

Reyes (5º B) dijo...

A day like today, but in 1775, was born Jane Austen, the British woman whose name would be very famous in the world and very important and representative in the history of English literature.

She was born in the parish of Steventon, in Basingstone, where his father was rector. She was the seventh of eight children and grew up in a peaceful and quiet family, although quite severe. Her life contrasts with the life of all characters in her novels.

The most important and lovely character, for me, is Mr. Darcy´s character (Proud & Perjuice) but you can choose any of them and dedicate this weekend to watch some of the best adaptations for the movies from her novels.

It is a good opportunity to enjoy and those people who do not know her yet , to discover through her novels a fantastis world of romance and adventure.

Reyes (5º B) dijo...

Sorry..I made a mistake: ..."fantastic".

Reyes (5º B) dijo...

I known that this is not the issue of this blog and this year we are reading a C.Dickens´s novel but.....last year we read a novel from J.Austen (Emma) which I did like very much and I did enjoy it myself a lot.......so that´s the reason why I wanted to make a "break" in this page to remember her and I hope if any of you decide to read some of her novels, you enjoy them just as I did it last year.

Reyes (5º B) dijo...

Going back to the novel, I still analyzing S. Carton´s character...He is very different to Mr. Stryver; despite having studied at the same school, having had the same opportunities and although Mr.Carton belonged to high class, he is destroying his life in alcohol and apathy.

He is wasting their abilities working for Stryver. Obviously , Carton is more intelligent than Stryver , but he hasn´t enough ambition to get succes.

For some reason, he is sacrifying his life , doing the "dirty job" for the others, mainly for Mr. Stryver. Carton´s past has a mistery...which we haven´t discovered it yet, that´s the reason why this character is revealed as one of the most interesting until now.

I guess that Mr. Carton, chapter to chapter, will become more and more important for the novel and he will give us many surprises.

Perhaps, I be wrong...but men like him always end up surprising us.

Isidro dijo...

Reyes, I think that we know, very little about Mr Darnay’s life. Nevertheles, in my opinion, we know enough to say that Mr Darnay is not an idealized version of Charles Dickens. Dickens had a humble origin and began to work very soon due to family hardship. He lived in their own flesh the hardship and misery of the working class; so he felt like his own the sufferings of the poor people which he reflects very well, while Charles Darnay belonged to an aristocratic family. So, I don’t agree with the client of your office, taking into account the data we know of Mr Darnay by now, but it is possible that new data might force me to change my opinion.

Isidro dijo...

I wouldn’t give much importance to the fact that Mr Carton should drink a lot, because “THOSE WERE drinking days, and most men drank hard”.
We don’t forget that Mr Stryver also drank and we have read in chapter five of the second book that “ what the two (Carton and Stryver) drank together between Hilary Term and Michaelmas, might have floated a king’s ship........they went the same circuit, and even there they prolonged their usual orgies late into the night.”
In my opinion, Carton's main problem is neither lack of intelligence nor drink, which was a general problem of the time, but a lack of willpower and self-confidence. As Stryver told him: “You summon no energy and purpose.”
So, Mr Carton has been always the same. Each person has its own personality; for example Mr Stryver is an ambitious person and Mr Carton is an unsteady one. And I don’t think it be necessary to look for hidden reasons.
Moreover, I don’t think that Mr Carton will become more and more important, as Reyes says, because this would mean a radical change in his personality, which is very unlikely.

M Carmen 2ºB dijo...

Carmen I agree about Mr. Stryver treats Mr Carton in a patronizing way and they both know it. Even they even are quite different men, Dickens tells the reason why they are working together and the role that each one play. But the issue is: why does Carton accept that treat??? Because he knows himself and he doesn’t want to change his behaviour.
Again Dickens tells the lack of Carton’s expectatives:
“For a moment, lying in the wilderness before him, a mirage of honourable ambition, self denial and perseverance… A moment and it was gone….”
He looks such a disappointed drudge man that we can feel pity, but I think that his self-pity has been his ruin.
Carton is a very good person, but very lazy and he harly regrets it when he compares himself with Mr. Darnay, missing Mss Manette's glance.
If he actually loves Mss Manette he could work on conquering her, but nevertheless, he chooses self-pity as he does with Stryver's job as he also did at the university.

MANOLO AV2B dijo...

In chapter 5, Dickens willy describes Mr. Carton using a comparative technique in which he uses two different animals, the lion and the jackal. Had he not written in that mastery and brilliant way it would have been more difficult to percieve properly the Mr. Carton´s attitudes and behaviour patterns.

So, using this meaning resource Dickens also performs the complementary roles between Mr. Stryver and Mr. Carton.

On the contrary, I suppose Dickens will surprise us in the next chapters, even with Mr. Carton...

Isidro dijo...

Reyes, I also enjoyed very much last year the reading of “Emma”. I read later “Sense and sensibility” that, like Emma, is about the main concern of some young women to ensure its future through marriage. I think that Jane Austin had an special ability to show the psychology of the characters. She was interested above all in showing the relationship between the small number of characters, with very few references to the low social class and the environment, and ignoring the historical context.
Jane Austin was particularly interested in the well-off people, while Charles Dickens was mainly interested in reflecting, above all, the suffering and hardships of the poor, taking into account the social and political framework. Other important difference is that Jane Austin was very interested in describing the characters’ inner life or its mental process, while Charles Dickens’s writings are more visual and direct, and have more action.

Reyes (5º B) dijo...

Yes Manolo , I agree with you; Mr.Carton will give us many surprises in next chapters......probably, I be mistaken... but in spite of being a sad, failured and frustated man, without any hope in life, now that he had met Lucy... it is probably he change his actitude. Don´t you????

He likes Lucy ... and this fact can make him desire a different life and why not? try to get her love???? Now he has a challenge... something for what fighting.

Is it possible to change for love??? What do you think??? Perhaps Mr. Carton do it.

Reyes (5º B) dijo...

Yes, Isidro you´re right. In this ocassion I agree with you. Dickens describes perfectly all the details and clothes ..... very physically... and the description of the places where the action has place and the historical details, as well.

While J. Austen is more interested in feelings and relationships. J. Austen shows us the good and fun of life , while Dickens shows us the dark side of life and human beings.

I think the combination between the two writers is perfect , because they complement each other, as the head and tail of a coin.

Carmen dijo...

Waow!, many entrances and many comments..so good.
Reyes, thanks for your reminder about Austen, she certainly is a wonderful writer and one who managed to portray English society as it was then, and convey a lot of feelings that are human, thus her novels have contributed to the understanding oaf female (particularly) nature better.
Carmen, who are you? Please, I´m the ONLY CARMEN as the rest of you should have a number so that I can identify you. This doesn´t apply to the O. S. as those can, of course use their names.

Carmen dijo...

Mari Carmen, In my opinion Carton is in that position because he lacks the three qualities Dickens mentions: honourable ambition, self-denial and perseverance, he certainly allows Stryver to treat him in such a patronizing way because they have their own understanding, and ways, and for both it works. I believe that none care for the other, remember the quote we talked about in class.

M Carmen. 2ºB dijo...

Carmen, a lot of people don’t have theses three qualities. We could say that a few people have them, but nevertheless, they are not disappointed drudge. The problem with Mr Carton could be deeper than this. In my opinion, he feels very hurt, maybe abandoned and for some reason that we don’t know yet, he has chosen a destructive attitude. He doesn’t appreciate his life. He thinks that nobody loves him.
Some times we are wrong and we think things that they are not true and we believe our own lies and we transform the life in a tragedy.

MANOLO AV2ºB dijo...

Thanks very much, Reyes and Isidro, for your advice about the Jane Austen´s book, "Emma".

Related to this one I have to say I bought it several years ago, but I have not yet read it. I will try to get it read this summer, but the prioritary one is "Great expectation", Charles Dickens, which I started to read last year as Carmen´s student but I did not end up it. I wish to start it from the begining again.

Have any of you read the Thomas Hardy´s book, "The Woodlanders"?
Any recommendation or advice about i?t. I adquired this one at the same time I bought "Emma", because a I love English writing books and they were not very expensive. It is also true that I would enjoy they a lot if I had a little more spare time.

MANOLO AV2ºB dijo...

Hello Carmen and mates, I deeply hope all of you enjoy the Christmas holidays and have a happy new year,and that all of your dreams and desires be achieved.

Reyes (5ºB) dijo...

In chapter 6 , Dickens refers to Dr. Manette´s imprisonment twice and refers to Mr. Darnay´s just once..This remind us that we don´t know the reasons of both imprisionments yet.....they are still a mystery.

Is there any conection between them?? Why Dr. Manette was so nervous of hearing the story about the ashes in the tower????


By the moment, the answer is a mystery....On the other hand , Lucie is represented with all her good qualities , in this chapter......humanity, innocence, kindness, faith and hope.....It is a premonition at the end of the chapter , when she hears those echoes of footsteps entering their lives.........everything will change ..very soon.

Isidro dijo...

Some passages of Dickens’s writings seems to be film scripts because of their plasticity. Sometimes he magnify and surround of mystery a trivial event by the way of repeating it, in order to create an atmosphere of restlessness, which induces the reader to interpret this event as a premonition of something that is going to happen, but without revealing it.
That is what occurs, for example, with the knitting of Madame Defarge. We have seen her knitting behind the counter, knitting at the door of the shop of wine, knitting out of the lamplight through the courtyard, knitting while she brought Mr Manette’s shoemaking tools down. And finally, in chapter seven of the second book we have seen her knitting while she looked up steadily the Marquis in the face. In my opinion, the knitting is a metaphor of something very important that Mme. Defarge is up, something horrible, something so strong and obsessive that no one can stop. Don’t you think so? Only does she dare to look the Marquis in the face, so we can be sure that her hatred is superior than the one the others feel.

Isidro dijo...

Perhaps it would be better to say “higher” instead of “superior” in the end line of my last comment?

Isidro dijo...

Reyes, I think that you are right. I have thought the same than you.
Mr Darnay says that he had been in the tower, and he knew that there was an old dungeon that had its inner wall covered of inscriptions. He said that because one of the inscription was the world DIG the floor was examined., and when he related this, Mr Manette “had suddenly started up, with his hand to his head. His manner and his look quite terrified them all.”
Before beginning the conversation, Mr Manette “was in his best condition, and looked specially young”. So, it is evident that Mr Manette hide a secret. And I think that he went with Lucy to the Tower to recover something he had left hidden there.
I think that Mr Darney, as well, hides another secret. Therefore it is possible that, as Reyes suspects, very soon we should find some surprise.

Carmen dijo...

Hi, Folks, here am I in Santander, yes I did manage to get through the blizzard on Friday but unfortunately there have been some problems to get here, or out of here after that!!
First of all thanks Manolo for your wishes for a happy Xmas and New Year and I would also like to wish you a belated happy Xmas and a most happy New Year, in which your wishes come true..
As to "Emma", it is indeed a good book, and a good story. Dickens´novels are totally different, in Jane Austen all is quiet and cosy and soft. Dickens is harder, funnier and goes more ironically into the heart of Man. I adore both. Though I do think that Dickens is the deeper of the two. As to "the woodlanders", I´m sure I must have read it, but do not have a clue what it was about, so I´d better try again!

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, a very sound comment about Mdme. Defarge...yes, she is the only one who stares, intently and intensively at the Marquis... knitting all the while, it is ominous. She is a woman I particularly dislike, she embodies the cold-blooded revolutionary, those women that care not for their lives or the lives of others. There are many intances in point in real life: La pasionaria? Frau Goebless (the nazi who killed all her children!!!), etc. I would not like to meet such women ever.

Carmen dijo...

Mari Carmen, Mr. Carton seems to be the tormented hero that is incapable of bettering himself..to determine why or what made him like that is certainly not easy, we have to admit that some people are born more so than bred, don´t you think? believing , as I do in education, I do think that some people are just incapable of change.

Carmen dijo...

We did reach all of us chapter 7 and I miss some comments about my wowrds that we all are the Marquis...

Carmen dijo...

Yes, Miss Manette is the perfect lady, ain´t she? I think I dislike her because so much "perfection" annoys me...

Carmen Segura 5º C dijo...

CHAPTER 7
First time I read this chapter I noticed how cruel the Marquis was.
After some arguments in class and posterior reflections, I cannot but agree with all of you: we are the Marquis.
I recognize my society in this chapter. For instance
- “the leprosy of unreality disfigured every human creature” and people who have the power tend to be rich thinking only in their profit.
- It is not fashionable to be a mother.-
- We are blind to the necessity of third world.
- They are “civil officers without a notion of affairs”… “Letting everything go on in its way”
- That society and our one are formed by men who have “got out of the Centre of truth”…

Nevertheless every human being, then and ever, has the possibility to be good and to help the others.
Everybody can change a little portion of injustice or cruelty trying to help their neighbours.

Isidro dijo...

I think that Dickens creates an special atmosphere of uncertainty round Dr Manette’s house. Mr Lorry’s business eye believed to have seen something strange on Dr Manette face, but he recovered so quickly that he “had doubts of his business eye”. However, fate seems to be determined to show bad omen round Mr Manette house. The storm with the thunders and flashes of lighting, the incessant footsteps coming and going. “The corner echoed and re-echoed with the tread of feet; some as it seemed, under the windows; some, as it seemed in the room; some coming, some going, some breaking off, some stopping altogether; all in the distant streets, and not one within sight.”

Miss Lucie said: “even the shade of a foolish fancy makes me shudder to-night, when all is so black and solemn....(......).....I have made the echoes out to be the echoes of all the footsteps that are coming by and by into our lives”

I think, as Carmen, that all this is a metaphor that means the menace of French Revolution. In my opinion, there are already many signs of the great tragedy is going to take place in France: the scarecrows of the region is already full of hatred, the hatred manages Miss Manette’s knitting, the hatred of the ragged people has been stimulated by the blood of the dead child under Monsieur the Marquis’s horses. So, the time is coming when all this hatred should explode and trigger the great tide of horror and blood that will stain the street of France, and whose echoes are so strong that can be heard from Dr. Manette’s house.
In my opinion, Dickens does not create, without reason, an atmosphere of danger that involve somehow Dr. Manette’s family. So, the story is getting more and more interesting. Don’t you think so?

Reyes (5º B) dijo...

After reading chapter 7, it is very interesting for me to interpret the text...because in it, Dickens uses a very peculiar and metaphoric way to describe and make us understand how the society was. Specially French aristocracy.

I think Dickens uses the Monseigneur´s character to describe the extravagances of the French aristocracy ( in the scene when he is eating chocolates, with the servants around and the description of the place where they are);

How unreal and superficial was the upper class and how have they lost the contact with the reality!!!!

They consider themselves as "gods". The Marquis is named "Lord", I guess , this is in reference to "god". He is an arrogant man, he feels very superior, living in "heaven" while "common" people are considered as "rats"....living under the deepest poverty and starving to death; people to whom he wants to exterminate. That is the reason why he treats them in such cruel way.

I would define him as an authentic "devil". I don´t like him because he represents the worst of human beings.

Isidro dijo...

In chapter seven of the second book, Dickens shows us an image of the high society of France completely degenerate. Monseigneur thought that it was not necessary to do nothing, but to let everything go on in its own way, because the world was made for them!!!!!!!
All the high society was joined waiting at the ante-chambers of Monseigneur while he was taking his chocolate, attended by four strong men besides the cook. Those were the most useless and ridiculous people, only worried about their appearance, with their powdered hair, jewelries, swords, silk and brocade dresses.... They were ignorant even of their own business and sought any remedy for their problems but work.

When Monseigneur appeared, they began to show servility, fawning, humiliation, submission. And they compensated their frustrations venting their aggressiveness against the low class’ people.

In that time, social status was determined by birth. High society’s sons were born to enjoy, and even their lackeys’ lives were in their hands. While low society’s sons were born to work and to suffer all kind of penalties, because they had not way of getting rid of their fate.

But a wave of terror was going to demolish the foundations of this social order and would lay the foundation stone of a new building governed by new principles.

Isidro dijo...

We have seen Monsieur the Marquis very disappointed at the end of the reception, because Monseigneur did not pay him the slightest attention. He went downstairs, got into his carriage and drove away, and he delighted seeing the common people dispersed before the horses. But at the corner of a street by a fountain the carriage run over a child and the horses roared and plunged.
The child was killed and his father cried: “Dead!” The people joined round the carriage and looked at Monsieur the Marquis without visible menacing or anger.

What a tragedy for a father! What a tragedy for a mother! What a tragedy for anyone that should have a little of sensibility! But the Marquis reproached the people they didn’t take care of their children and accused them of the injury they had done his horses. And he said: “I would ride over any of you very willingly, and exterminate you from the earth.”

In my opinion, only can we find this kind of reaction in a degenerated person. Don’t you think so? But the worst thing of all is that it was not only Marquis’s reaction but the general point of view of the high class that thought the world was made for them and that they were entitled to take the life of any subject.
One of the prevailing idea at the old regime was that the lower class had no rights, but only duties. But, as we know, a wave of terror and bloodshed abolished this old world and set the foundation of a new world, our world, in which all people are subjects of rights and duties.

Reyes (5º B) dijo...

I agree with you , Isidro...There was a time when high class did think that they had the right of stepping lower class down and making them everything they want to feel and demostrate their superiority.

And , although those times have changed, sometimes and in some places , nowadays, there people living under oppression and tyranny , they are exploited and tortured by some men who think they are better and they only want to get the highest benefits.

But, fortunatly, there are people who protest and revel against injustice. For example, in this chapter there is a gesture which means a reaction to it. The silent act offer by Madame Defarge. She returns the coin to Monseigneur throwning it into the chariot.

It is a little gesture, but it is the beginning; that means that the people´s tolerance for such cruel treatment is near to break down.

Isidro dijo...

Carmen Segura, I agree with you in that human nature has not changed. I think that nowadays we can find the same kind of crimes or even worse than in other time. Had I thought that today men are better than they were in other time I would be very naive. There are today politician corrupts that commit crimes, and not only politician; as well, there are teachers, priests, and workers of all kind, and people of all kind of condition commit crimes: rich, poor, men women, old young,...
Human being remains unchanged over time, so it is the same that ever was. Every person is an unstable balance between reason on one hand, and instincts and passions on the other. I agree with Nietzsche that said “a drop of blood of more or less in the brain is the difference between a criminal or a saint”

But I think that, from eighteen century until now, many things have changed in France, in England, in Spain and in many other countries. I think that, although there are manipulation and corruption in these countries, the organization of the State has improved greatly. I think that the space of impunity have been reduced very much and citizens’ rights have increased.

I wish you all a happy year 2011.

Carmen dijo...

Folks this is to wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Carmen dijo...

Carmen, very glad that you have seen the resemblance, it is only but too true, we flee from poverty, sadness and illhealth, we do not want to see it or mix with it.

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, let me see if I can touch some of the many points you raise, first of all the house, it is certainly a special house on which come all those steps which figuratevily are the people that will come into their lives...what a crowd, and noisy, too so since there are so many it undoubtedly raises the idea that the French Revolution will engulf them..how can they be connected with such a thing as a revolution given they are not at all involved for the time being? Read on...
The belief that the aristocracy were free to treat the poorer classes in whichever way they wanted, and that these latter ones had no rights was certainly a reality then, but unfortunately is now a reality , too in many countries. the aristocracy being, currently, the State.
The cold-blooded attitude of the Marquis on the face of tragedy is clearly shows how cold lack of empathy is.

carmen dijo...

Reyes, I allso dislike the Marquis, the cool, selfish attitude he bears towards the rest, the indifference...but I have to say that I find him familiar...this disturbs me, I have to admit...but I have seen him around, near me, behind me, in me? I wonder if he is so far away from the rest of you?

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, the point is that the description of the chocolate, and the king´s entourage is common nowadays, too. Quoting you

"When Monseigneur appeared, they began to show servility, fawning, humiliation, submission. And they compensated their frustrations venting their aggressiveness against the low class’ people."

Don´t you think that this scene could be seen in any lobby, or Moncloa, or Genova, or outside Mr. Botin´s office? Power exists and people who suck up to leaders, millionaires, bosses, etc. as well. The point of the novel, or at least one of the points is to SEE this. Unfortunately we HAVE NOT CHANGED that much.

Carmen dijo...

Madame Defarge is the one that triggers, figuratevely, of course, the beginning of the Revolution, but I dothink with you that the French Revolution "abolished this old world", but it did not abolish the superiority that anyone possessing Power, any sort of power, political power, the power of beauty, or money, or intelligence, gives the person fortunate (or unfortunate, one never knows) enough to have it, to crush others...

Isidro dijo...

Although they describe the same time, Dickens's approach is very different from Austin’s. Dickens looks mainly down, but he can not help looking up, where he find the source of all evil, while Jane Austin looks up and don't see what is underneath.

Jane Austin describes very well the daily life of the high rural class. She pictures, with a fine irony, the concerns and interests of some people of a social class that the only thing they have to do is to see how time passes, with the only worry of devising procedures to prevent the boredom. Thus, in Emma, for example, all are gossips, love, jealous, envy, ….; that is, the joys, sorrows and disappointments that produce the small events of everyday life of some people that have a very limited horizon, and only look at their navel. You can attend at their parties or their diner, but you neither will know anything about the workers of their countries nor about the servants that prepared their foods.
When you read Emma, you has the feel of having entered in a fancy world, a magical world, in which people always find the things they need within reach of their hand and spend their time quietly talking and enjoying its privileged fate.

Isidro dijo...

Carmen, I agree with you. Human nature is always the same; today, as ever, there are corruption, abuse, manipulation, and people that commit horrible crimes. In my opinion, never has been a paradise in earth and never will it be. Unfortunately, we can’t hope to reach total perfection.

The only thing can we hope is to put up barriers to the evil, fighting for the extension of civil rights and against impunity for crimes. The road is hard and we have progressed very slowly, but nowadays, we know some ministers of different countries that have been convicted by courts in England, France, Spain and in other countries. The most recent case is Israel’s ex-President, Moshe Katzav, convicted of rape last week. And we also know bankers convicted, as Mario Conde in Spain or Madoff in the United States. And these are not isolated cases, any of us could make a list too long to put here.

Had a woman of low class been raped in eighteen century by a Lord, do you think she could have denounced him to the police? And if he did, what would have happened?

Rights progress has been slow but steady over the past two centuries: rights of the poor, abolition of slavery, women's rights, black men’s rights, children’s rights,......

It is true that today we have problems, but I feel a shiver just thinking about how my life would have been if I had lived at that time. Don’t you?

Isidro dijo...

I didn’t find “The importance of being Ernest” when I went to by it, but I saw another writing of Oscar Wilde entitled “Lord Arthur Savile’s crime” and I bought it.
It is a story so interesting that you can’t stop reading. A chiromantist read the hand of a young, Lord Arthur Savile, and told him that he would be a murderer in the future. After this, as he wanted to marry soon and didn’t want to have problems when he be a married man, he decided to commit the crime as soon as possible, but he was not a lucky murderer, therefore he had to try it several times in different ways. The end is very surprising.
Reading this book we realize that Oscar Wilde is a great writer that achieves to capture our attention from the first moment. So crazy is the story that only a genius like Oscar Wilde could imagine it.
I strongly encourage you to read this interesting short story.

Isidro dijo...

My reading of “Lord Arthur Savile’s crime” has recalled me “The Canterville Ghost” because, though they are very different stories, both are very striking.
“The Canterville Ghost” is a crazy story in which a ghost lives great trouble and, instead of making fear, get frustrated and provoke the pity of the children that live in the castle.
In my opinion, “Lord Arthur Savile’s crime” has also a crazy approach, because it is surprising that a normal person should become obsessed by the prediction of a chiromantist, which is what occurs in this shot story.
In my opinion, Mr Arthur Savile had great problems because his incongruity. The first of his mistakes was to believe in predestination. The second one was to believe that the chiromantist that read his main had really the capacity of knowing the fate. And finally, I think it is contradictory to believe in fate and, at the same time, to think that it is possible to change it. Don’t you?
Do you believe in predestination?

Isidro dijo...

I think it would be an interesting idea that each of us should choose and comment one fragment that we have particularly liked. This could serve us as a revision. What do you think?
I have chosen two very thrilling passages with very visual and cinematographic descriptions.
The first is the scene of the mail struggling and lumbering Shooter’s hill. At night and into a steaming mist, the passengers plodded in the mire behind the coach, floundering and stumbling between whiles. They were wrapped to the cheek-bones and over the ears and they wanted to pass unnoticed, because in those days anybody could be a robber, and everyone suspected the others. And when the horses stopped to breath again, they heard the sound of a horse at a gallop coming fast up the hill. The hearts of the passengers beat strongly and the guard cocked his blunderbuss, and stood on the offensive.

Other similar example is the passage in which Dickens describes the hunger of the people, after the amazing “feast” of the wine. We could see the hunger everywhere, not only in the cadaverous faces, in the naked feet, in the sunken eyes, but in the tattered clothes, in the smokeless chimneys in the rags hanging upon poles and lines out of the tall houses.......
Hunger, ...hunger, …... hunger ….hunger everywhere, even on the baker’s shelves. While tools and weapon, cutler’s knives and axes were sharp and bright and the gaunt scarecrows of the region had repeatedly watching the lamplighter’s work, and his mind was ripping the idea of hauling up men. And the word blood, scrawled in red upon a wall, announced that the blood of the people will be spilled very soon on the streets-stones.

In these two passages Dickens joints different elements to create an atmosphere of strain with the aim of provoking the most emotional situations. And there are many other similar. Don’t you think so?

Laura de Arriba 5_B dijo...

Carmen, I am sorry but the blog is the only way I can use to communicate with you at the moment. I have to do the summary of one chapter of the book next thursday but, unfortunately, I will not be able to. I have to hand in my final project of my degree on 21th January and until that date I will not go to class.

I am very sorry because I am really interested in following your class.

Thank your very much,

Laura de Arriba 5_B

Anónimo dijo...

Hello bloggers,
I´ve read the crime of Lord Arthur after your recommendation, Isidro. Bored as I´ve been, lately, Wilde was the idea, to have a laugh. I hadn´t read this short stories of his, except for a couple of tales. Lady Windermere sounded to me familiar, so I already took the reading with pleasure.
I liked it. Lord Arthur is a real fool..., and I found him funny, he embodying the strange morality of then, based on what was fashionable or not; this time, believing in a Cheiromantist!!
Lord Arthur is funny indeed; or perhaps it is Wilde that is funny: "Many men in his position would have preferred the primrose path of dalliance to the steep heights of duty; but Lord Arthur was too conscientious to set pleasure above principle".
You all read it. It only takes an hour or so..., though "The importance of being Earnest" is better. Or "An ideal husband".
Happy new Year!,
María

María dijo...

Sorry, a mistake: I hadn´t read THESE short stories of his

Isidro dijo...

As “Sir Arthur Savile’s crime” is a very short story, after reading it, I have begun to read “The Guernsay Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”. And so far, I have only read the first part.

This book is a collection of letters written by some people that were in Guernsay island during the second world war. The Germans invaded the island and some people of the island created a Literary Society to gather to read books and discuss about them, and at the same time to eat and drink.
The people of Guernsey island lived as prisoners in their own houses, without enough food and drink, and they lacked even soap to wash their clothes or themselves. They shared sufferings and fears and their “literary meetings” helped them to give vent to their sorrows.

This book has the originality of being a collection of letters of different people who write about their experiences, without knowing that they would be published. So, the letter are very natural and spontaneous and represent different point of view.

Isidro dijo...

In my opinion, one of the most shockings passages we have read by now is the description of the English justice system at that time.
The gaol was a vile place where most kinds of debauchery and villainy were practised. The pillory was a wise institution that inflicted a punishment so unpredictable that nobody could foresee the end. Other old institution very useful and humanising was the whipping-post and the transaction in blood-money. But the worst of all is the principle accepted generally at that time, that “Whatever is, is right” or what is the same, “nothing that ever was was wrong”. That is, they were proud of the justice administration.
And people paid to see the play at the Old Bailey and delighted with the suffering of the awful spectacle.

Carmen Segura 5ºC dijo...

CHAPTER 8
The poverty is very well depicted, the fields are so poor and people have to eat leaves and grass. The taxes are everywhere for everything.
The French people are so extremely slim that The English thought it is their natural condition.
Even the image of Christ on the Cross was poor because the sculptor takes the model of real people.
The Marquis is indifferent to a widow who is demanding for help for her husband, who died of hunger..
The Marquis does not have respect neither for a widow nor for the dead. He does not want to be bothered with people’s problems.
But in this world the rain falls “impartially” says Dickens, on the just and on the unjust; it means that the justice does not exit in this world.
The Marquis has the power to feed the people but he does not have pity. It is a contrast with Lucie who has pity but not power.

Carmen dijo...

EL DISCURSO DEL REY (VOS) de Tom Hooper
Pases: 16.00 - 18.10 - 20.20 - 22.30
Idioma original: Inglés
Duración: 118 minutos
Sala: 3

I´m going tomorrow, Tuesday at 20.20, Narvaez ST., Roberto is joining me, and anybody who wishes to join us is very welcome

Carmen dijo...

The cinema is Renoir Retiro, for Colin Firth´s film. Read some of the reviews, it is wonderful.

Well, I´m glad you are reading more in English, and so glad you have started The Guernesey..., Isidro, you will like it but there is such a difference in quality with "A Tale" you´ll see...at the end, I have discovered that it is really difficult to end whether it be a relationship, a marriage, a love-affair, a novel, a play, a poem, a party, life itself...some people die with grandeur and others...cowardly, so focus on this when you read the end of novels, you´ll see what I mean then.

Carmen dijo...

Isidro, I think you have thought out something very interesting, yes we can comment on any paragraphs or descriptions that have struck us as being good, impressive or whatever. I would like to mention dawn and Mr. Carton´s dreary drunken walk back home, with the streets resembling a desert with balls heaved by the wind...the wilderness of the street is a parallel to that of his soul, empty of everything, but pain and suffering...the absolute bleakness of dawn, the grey indifferent colour matches the grey indifference of his soul as it progresses through an empty life. very good and effective. I think it is at the end of the Jackal

Isidro dijo...

I began to read “The Guernsay Literary Potato Peel Pie Society” without reading the previous pages. When I read a letter after another I was captured by the atmosphere and the spontaneity of the letters and I thought that the book was really a collection of letters written by people that lived in that time. But when I began to read the part two I realized that the spirit and the style of all the letters were the same, and began to suspect that it was possible that the letters were only an ingenious ploy used by the author. So, I have read the previous pages and I have discovered that Mary Ann Shaffer didn’t find these letters at the bottom of an old drunk, but they are the product of her intelligence.
However not all is a product of her wonderful imagination. She uses real information of that time and makes a marvellous story full of sensibility, in which she achieves to squeeze the poetry of everyday life, without being affected by the bitterness of a time particularly dramatic.

Isidro dijo...

I think that it is better to say:
"the bitterness of a particularly dramatic time."

EMILIA 5º C dijo...

I'm reading chapter 8 of the second book, and for the moment I can't appreciate any good quality in this Marquis. He has all the bad aspects a person can have: arrogant, selfish, inhuman etc...

All these kind of sinister characters that Charles Dickens introduces in the novel, make you love it and hate it at the same time.

EMILIA 5º C

Isidro dijo...

Defarge, the vendor of vine, asked his friend Gaspard to be a brave and to think that it was better “to the poor little” to die in a moment without pain than to live, because he would not have a happy hour in his life.
In my opinion, it is easy to ask for calm and resignation to a father when his son dies, but what is really difficult is to get rid oneself of sadness and sorrow.

I suspect that the man who was under Monseigneur the Marquis’s carriage was the dead child’s father, and I also believe he was not intending to suffocate himself. I think that this wretched man was so desperate and had so much hatred in his heart that was trying to get revenge. But when the carriage stopped at the top of the hill for the drag the man ran away to avoid being caught.

Carmen dijo...

a very intelligent analysis, Isidro, so we may have someone out to take revenge...
Emilia, the Marquis doesn´t appear to have a positive quality....well, read on and we will see but he definetely does not seem to have any positive feeling in him except for the wish that his family survive or rahter live over anything...
I have liked the opening paragragh of chapter 9...stone, how beautifully used this word is..I would point out to you what stone implies...cold, immovility, strength, death?

brianda dijo...

About "The King´s speech", you can see it at Cines Verdi among other cinemas, to whom I wrote asking until when this film was going to be on, and this is what they have told me "La película en cuestión es de gran exito, puede contar que seguira en cartel unas semanas más."

Isidro dijo...

In my opinion, the Marquis’s château was a symbol of great power, when it was built several centuries ago. Undoubtedly, the stone faces of men, the stone heads of lions, and the whole stone mass of the building have overwhelmed many generations of people unable to approach there without fear. And many people have gone out of the Château to be hanged.

But at the time the story takes place the situation was different. And, in my opinion, Dickens repeat the word “stone” to highlight the disparity between the appearance of strength and power of the building with the weakness of the current owner.
So, much though the Marquis should say that “repression is the only lasting philosophy”, and that he will die “perpetuating the system under which he has lived”, it is obvious that he has not any real power. And without a real power of his owner, all the majestic mass of stone, has become a great mausoleum, a great fossilized dead mass that is the symbol of a decadent social class. Even the own Marquis’s face was becoming as diabolic and undecipherable as the stone of the faces of the building.

The Marquis has wanted to appear strong and calm in front of his nephew, but a simple noise outside the blinds, while he was dining, disturbed him. And he has expressed his intention of perpetuating the old system until his death, but he does not know that the Gorgon is coming to look at him tonight.

Isidro dijo...

In chapter 9 of the second book Dickens shows the first step of the “Great Cataclysm”, and he does it in the most shocking possible way, because the event required to do so. He wanted to show the transcendence of an event that was going to trigger the earthquake that would demolish the social system of the old regime.
Such is the emotion of the moment; so strong the passions that are triggered, and so horrible are the consequences, that even the rocks shaken.
We know that animals have the ability to perceive the proximity of major disasters. Therefore, when animals behave strange and flee in terror, men are alarmed, though they still have not got nothing. Charles Dickens, this time, manages wonderfully to touch us showing first some disturbing omens, and finally, when the little bird gives the news from the window of the Marques, we are overwhelmed seeing the stone face to stare awestruck.
In my opinion, all the chapter is wonderful. Dickens achieve to shake us by the thrill of the stone faced. I think it is fantastic. Don’t you?
Had I to choose a little fragment of this marvelous chapter, I would quote this:

“For three heavy hours, the stone faces of the chateau, lion and human, stared blindly at the night”............ “The fountain of the village flowed unseen and unheard, and the fountain of the château dropped unseen and unheard”.....................”then, the gray water of both began to be ghostly in the light, and the eyes of the stone faces of the château were opened.”..................”In the glow, the water of the chateau fountain seemed to turn to blood, and the stone faces crimsoned”.....................”on the weather-beaten sill of the great window of the bedchamber of the Monseigneur the Marquis, one little bird sang its sweetest song with all his might. At this time the nearest stone face seemed to stare amazed, and, with opened mouth and dropped under-jaw, looked awestriken.”

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Wilkie Collins

Wilkie Collins