A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities Book 2, Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Years pass. Lucie weaves her "golden thread" of positive influence through the family. She often sits by the parlor window and ponders the echoing footsteps rising from the street below. She gives birth to a daughter, Lucie, who particularly likes Sydney Carton. Her second child, a son, dies in childhood.
As the political situation starts to unravel in France, Lucie weaves her domestic community more tightly together in London. Her daughter, like her, has an innocent belief that Carton is a good man.
Themes
Fate and History Theme Icon
In the year 1789, distressing "echoes" arrive from France. Mr. Lorry confides in Charles that the Paris office of Tellson's Bank has been flooded with anxious aristocrats trying to save their property.
Charles sacrificed his property to try to escape his family's past. Aristocrats who hung on to their wealth have now lost it.
Themes
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
The scene cuts to Defarge's wine shop, now the center of a revolutionary maelstrom. The streets are thronged with dingy, angry people, armed with guns, knives, or any weapon they can get their hands on.
The dirty angry revolutionaries show that the Revolution will be more about revenge than Enlightenment ideals.
Themes
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Defarge leads this army to the Bastille. Madame Defarge rallies the women, swearing they can kill as well as the men. After fierce fighting, the Bastille surrenders and the people swarm inside to free the prisoners. Defarge and Jacques Three demand that an older officer show them "One hundred and five, North Tower." There, they find Dr. Alexandre Manette's initials "A.M." and search the room.
The taking of the Bastille was one of the major early events of the French Revolution. It's anniversary is still celebrated as the French Independence Day. Note Madame Defarge's bloodthirstiness. Manette's initials on the wall recall Charles's story about the Tower of London.
Themes
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Secrecy and Surveillance Theme Icon
Imprisonment Theme Icon
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Returning to the Bastille courtyard, the crowd swarms the old officer and stabs him to death. Madame Defarge takes her long knife and slices off his head. Seven prisoners are freed. Seven prison guards are killed and their heads are stuck on pikes.
The exchange of the seven prisoners with seven guards suggests that power may have switched sides, but that nothing has really changed. Madame Defarge's beheading of the guard foreshadows the guillotine.
Themes
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Imprisonment Theme Icon