Welcome to the twenty-fourth week of this read-with-me project. This week we read Chapter VI: The Triumph and Chapter VII: A Knock at the Door. This section was first released in a magazine called All the Year Round on Saturday, October 9th 1859.
The story so far…
On his return to Paris, Charles has been imprisoned but with the help of Doctor Manette, he is to be given a trial.
In this section…
This will be a smaller post today as I don’t have much to say about this week’s section.
We begin the section with Charles’ aforementioned trial. He spends a lot of time musing on the death that surrounds him, and the fact that those who were on trial before him all received a sentence of death. This is interesting because we are subconsciously, or maybe consciously, comparing it to Charles’ previous trial. While the French one appears to be an effort to make it appear as though there is justice, the English court seemed to have provided justice (by exonerating our Charles). As Shakespeare explores in Richard II (one of my favourer Shakespearean plays) there is a great benefit to the pomp and tradition, such as we see with these trials. Does it matter that there is no justice? No, because the French see the illusion of a justice system, see it appear to benefit them, and cheer on the revolution all that much more. These trials, therefore, are nothing more than propaganda.
Even I, who have read this book a few years ago, couldn’t see how Charles would walk free, and yet they release him. He then has a heartfelt reunion with Lucie. The impossible seems to have happened and as readers, we have gone from despair to elation, alongside Charles and Lucie.
The following chapter, ‘A Knock at the Door, pains us a charming picture of restored domesticity. Lucie appears to be on edge but relived that Charles isin her arms once more. Until that aforementioned knock at the door results in his rearrest. We learn that he was accused by the Defarges and ‘one other’, whom we do not yet know the identity.
In just a couple more pages we go from elation at his release to despair once more at his rearrest.
These two chapters are quite interesting in the way that they don’t quite achieve anything other than to play with the reader. We are left exactly where we were last week with Charles imprisoned and awaiting trial. However, there is the ominous sense that he will not get so lucky again.
What about you… Are you reading along with A Tale of Two Cities, and if so, what did you think of this section?
Dates for your diary:
Chapter VIII on the 15th of October (Post: 17th of October)
Chapter IX on the 22nd of October (Post: 24th of October)
Chapter X on the 29th of October (Post: 31st of October)