A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

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Knitting and the Golden Thread Symbol Analysis

Knitting and the Golden Thread Symbol Icon
In classical mythology, three sister gods called the Fates controlled the threads of human lives. A Tale of Two Cities adapts the classical Fates in two ways. As she knits the names of her enemies, Madame Defarge is effectively condemning people to a deadly fate. On the other hand, as Lucie weaves her "golden thread" through people's lives, she binds them into a better destiny: a tightly-knit community of family and close friends. In each case, Dickens suggests that human destinies are either predetermined by the force of history or they are tied into a larger pattern than we as individuals realize.
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Knitting and the Golden Thread Symbol Timeline in A Tale of Two Cities

The timeline below shows where the symbol Knitting and the Golden Thread appears in A Tale of Two Cities. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2, Chapter 4
Fate and History Theme Icon
Imprisonment Theme Icon
...can still become gloomy, but this occurs only occasionally because Lucie serves as a "golden thread" linking him to his life before and after his imprisonment. Stryver, Dr. Manette, and Lucie... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 7
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Secrecy and Surveillance Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
...will "exterminate [the commoners] from the earth." He drives away while Madame Defarge looks on, knitting. (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 15
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
...castle and the entire Evrémonde race should be exterminated. Another Jacques points to Madame Defarge's knitting, which lists in its stitching the names of everyone the revolutionaries mean to kill. (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 16
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Secrecy and Surveillance Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
...been sent to spy on them. Madame Defarge promises to add his name to her knitting. Defarge admits to his wife that he's tired and doubts the Revolution will come during... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 21
Fate and History Theme Icon
Years pass. Lucie weaves her "golden thread" of positive influence through the family. She often sits by the parlor window and ponders... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 3
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Secrecy and Surveillance Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
...way to the apartment, Mr. Lorry and Defarge are joined by Madame Defarge, who is knitting, and The Vengeance. Defarge tells Lorry that, in order to be able to protect Lucie,... (full context)
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
...She gratefully kisses one of Madame Defarge's hands, but Madame Defarge coldly withdraws to her knitting. Lucie pleads for Madame Defarge to help Charles, to use her influence as a "sister-woman."... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 6
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
Imprisonment Theme Icon
...Evrémonde, called Darnay." Defarge and Madame Defarge sit in the front row. Madame Defarge is knitting away. Charles is sentenced to death as an emigrant, despite the fact that the law... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 15
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
...the crowd. She has been saving a front-row seat for Madame Defarge and holding her knitting. She bitterly regrets that her friend will miss the festivities. (full context)