A Tale of Two Cities

how does dickens remind the reader of dr. manette's imprisonment?

book 3

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Book 3 (Chapters 1 - 5)


Darnay is imprisoned upon arriving in Paris. He is delivered to La Force (a prison where many aristocrats were held before they were sent to the guillotine) by Defarge, who will give him no help even though he is the son-in-law of Dr. Manette. Lorry is at Tellson's Bank in Paris when Lucie and Dr. Manette storm in. To his surprise, they inform him that Darnay has been imprisoned in La Force. Lorry sends Lucie into the back room while he tells Dr. Manette in secret that the people sharpening blades on the lawn are preparing to raid the prison and murder the inmates. Dr. Manette uses his influence (he is revered and respected for having been a prisoner in the Bastille many years ago) to save Darnay from this crowd.

Dr. Manette is changed by this experience. He now feels powerful and brave; his horrible experience years ago now has a purpose. Lorry lodges Lucie, Dr. Manette, Pross, and little Lucie in a nearby apartment. Cruncher is put in charge of guarding them.

Late in the night, Defarge comes to the bank and delivers a message from Manette: Charles is safe for now, but still imprisoned in La Force. Defarge, his wife, and a woman revolutionary known as The Vengeance, go with Lorry to deliver a message to Lucie. The message is a reassuring one from Darnay. Madame Defarge regards Lucie and her child coldly. It is clear that her intentions toward Lucie and her family may not be kind ones.

Four days later, Dr. Manette returns. He tells them of how he persuaded the Tribunal (a self-appointed body that "tries" the prisoners before sending them to the guillotine) to keep Darnay imprisoned but alive. Dr. Manette has secured a job as the doctor in charge of three prisons, one of which is La Force. This enables him to make sure Darnay is safe. Dr. Manette is stronger than ever; he is now their leader.

A year and three months pass as the family waits for Darnay to go to trial. In this time King Louis XVI and his queen are beheaded, along with hundreds of others. Dickens ponders on the work of the guillotine: "It sheared off heads so many, that it, and the ground it most polluted, were a rotten red . . . it hushed the eloquent, struck down the powerful, abolished the beautiful and good." Dr. Manette during this time used his fame to protect Darnay.

Everyday during this time, Lucie would go to an alley near the prison because sometimes her husband would pass by a window where he could see her. She could not see him, but the hope that he would be cheered by seeing her was enough to keep her there. A woodcutter who worked in the alley would harass her everyday, and once a crowd lead by the woman known as Vengeance danced a horrible, violent dance through the alley past Lucie. Despite these disturbances, Lucie would wait in the alley everyday.

One day, her father arrives in the alley and tells her that Charles is going to trial tomorrow. Dr. Manette says he has taken steps to make sure the trial goes well for Charles. They go to the bank to see Lorry, but decide not to go in because there is a mysterious man inside talking to their banker friend.