A Tale of Two Cities

Book II, Chapter I, "Five Years Later"

How does the tellson epitomize ( characterize, symbolize) English complacency?

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The second book opens with a description of the venerable Tellson's Bank. Its darkness and discomfort are much beloved by those who work there. Indeed, their conviction that it should remain inconvenient and deteriorating is so strong that they would have disinherited a son who disagreed with them.

Like France, England has its prisons that admit young men and release old men. In England, the prisons are transformed into "acceptable" social structures. Tellson's Bank serves as one of these prisons. It has very elderly clerks who have committed themselves to service, or kept themselves "in a dark place" since their youth. It has a "condemmed hold" for those who need to visit the House. Everything in Tellson's points towards death and decay: the letters and deeds are decaying from being kept for so long. The Bank is also down the street from the Temple Bar Courts, which send several people to gruesome deaths everyday.