A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities Book 2, Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On the tenth day, Mr. Lorry wakes to find Dr. Manette reading as if nothing has happened. Discovering that Dr. Manette has no memory of the past nine days, Mr. Lorry carefully tries to figure out what caused the relapse by asking Dr. Manette's opinion about the medical case of a "friend" who's daughter Mr. Lorry cares about. Nonetheless, Manette quickly seems to suspect what's going on.
Ever a model of discretion, Mr. Lorry avoids mentioning anything that happened directly. Dr. Manette is still hiding from his past, even when discussing it.
Themes
Secrecy and Surveillance Theme Icon
Mr. Lorry very discreetly describes Dr. Manette's situation, never using Manette's name. He asks what might have caused the relapse and how he might help to prevent another one. Dr. Manette replies that it would be far too painful for the "patient" to tell anyone his secrets, but surmises that something must have recently reminded the patient of his past trauma. He then assures Mr. Lorry that the worst should be over, and that only something extraordinary could upset the patient's mind again.
Dr. Manette represses his traumas, which remain hidden until they violently erupt. This is a metaphor for the French Revolution itself—the nobles suppressed the commoners until a revolt erupted. Dr. Manette now knows the truth about Charles's past, but doesn't entirely remember his own.
Themes
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Secrecy and Surveillance Theme Icon
Imprisonment Theme Icon
Mr. Lorry then explains that this "friend" has a hobby, "blacksmith work," that may be associated with the trauma. He wonders if the blacksmith tools should be removed. Looking worried, Dr. Manette answers that if manual labor helped the man get through the trauma, he should be allowed to keep the tools. Eventually Dr. Manette agrees that the tools should be removed, but only if these tools are removed while the patient is elsewhere at the time.
Dr. Manette needs these tools like a child needs a security blanket. His inability to face losing the tools, or even to be present when they are taken away, is another example of Manette's persistent avoidance of his traumatic past, whether conscious or not. But he is still willing to sacrifice the tools.
Themes
Fate and History Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Imprisonment Theme Icon
That night, after Manette has left to join Lucie and Charles, Mr. Lorry and Miss Pross remove the shoemaker's tools and destroy the bench. Feeling as guilty as murderers, they burn or bury everything.
Notice how the burying of Dr. Manette's work bench parallels and contrasts with Jerry's digging up of dead bodies.
Themes
Secrecy and Surveillance Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Imprisonment Theme Icon
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