Anthropomorphism

A Tale of Two Cities

by

Charles Dickens

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A Tale of Two Cities: Anthropomorphism 1 key example

Definition of Anthropomorphism
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics, emotions, and behaviors to animals or other non-human things (including objects, plants, and supernatural beings). Some famous examples of anthropomorphism include Winnie the Pooh, the Little Engine... read full definition
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics, emotions, and behaviors to animals or other non-human things (including objects, plants, and supernatural beings). Some famous examples of anthropomorphism include Winnie... read full definition
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics, emotions, and behaviors to animals or other non-human things (including objects, plants, and supernatural beings). Some famous... read full definition
Book 2, Chapter 16
Explanation and Analysis—Saint Antoine:

Dickens uses anthropomorphism to characterize the neighborhood of Saint Antoine—a working-class Parisian suburb that becomes a nexus of revolutionary energy. Dickens treats Saint Antoine as a character in the novel:

In the evening, at which season of all others, Saint Antoine turned himself out, and sat on door-steps and window-ledges, and came to the corners of vile streets and courts, for a breath of air.

Though he is describing an entire neighborhood of people emerging from their houses in the evening, Dickens portrays them as a singular entity using the anthropomorphized figure of Saint Antoine. This technique collapses the distinction between individual working-class people and their community, emphasizing the collective consciousness that the revolutionaries have developed. The anthropomorphized Saint Antoine also allows Dickens to track the rise and fall of its residents’ energy throughout the novel. Phrases like “Saint Antoine’s blood was up” and “Saint Antoine had had […] one exultant week”  give readers a window into the level of collective revolutionary fervor in the neighborhood.