, Research Paper
“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). This is basically the definition or example of what resurrection is. This was shown when the Lord told this quote to Daniel. Although in A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, resurrection isn’t literally used as being awoken from the dead, but certain areas of this resurrection are certainly related. Not only is resurrection shown to the reader on a physical level as the Bible shows it, but it is also shown through spiritually and mentally. Several characters are examples to these three different parts of resurrection. Charles Dickens uses resurrection in his novel, A Tale of Two Cities, to give the reader enlightenment and break, due to the horrible time period and bloody nature, during the revolutionary time period, the novel takes place in.
Many individuals will say that resurrection is another word for being “Recalled to Life,” as in the title of book one. Being “Recalled to Life,” can be shown on a mental, physical, and spiritual level, just the same as resurrection. Dickens gives the reader a taste of being “Recalled to Life,” right off the bat, when Mr. Lorry, in his stagecoach, is set out for Dover to bring Dr. Manette back to England, sends Jerry Cruncher to Tellson’s Bank with the message, “Recalled to Life.” Then as the coach lurches on towards its destination, he falls asleep and dreams. “After such imaginary discourse, the passenger inhis fancy would dig, and dig, dig, –now, with a spade, now with a great key, now with his hands-to dig this wretched creature out” (p.47). Not only is the term “Recalled to Life” used towards the beginning of the book, but the term is also used threoughout the novel.
Due to Dr. Mannette’s rescue, he is a definate example of being “Recalled to Life.” He has been in prison for nearly eighteen full years of mental torment and when he got out, he was asked the question, “you know that you are recalled to life” (p.46). Due to Manette’s mental and spiritual resurrection from his imprisonment, he no longer calls or refers to himself as “105 North Tower” (p.73). Although he knew he had a daughter, he never had a relationship with her. He is spiritually resurrected with his daughter when they first meet. She, Lucie Manette, forms a relationship with him, which makes Dr. Manette never want to leave her. “The Doctor was in his best condition, and looked specially young. The resemblence between him and Lucie was very strong at such times, and as they sat side by side, she leaning on his shoulder, and he resting his arm on the back of her chair, it was very agreeable to trace the likeness” (p.130). Not only does Lucie spiritually resurrect her father, but she also mentally resurrects him. Throughout the novel, Dr. Manette has gone through several mental tragic time periods. It seems that the only one to revive him to his normal health was his daughter Lucie.
In the novel, Dickens uses Jerry Cruncher to give the reader some laughter. He is taken as humorous character, which gives the readers a definate break in the Victorian Times. Jerry, a man with not too many feelings, he, at first, has his own way of resurrection. To be physically resurrected would be to actually be taken by hand and be removed from the dead, and this is exactly what Jerry does. Dickens refers to Jerry as-a man that digs up bodies for a living-as being a “Resurrection Man.” Dickens refers to him as a “Resurrection Man” because during the Victorian Times, when the revolution took place, people who dug up graves would be called “Resurrection Men.” To Jerry and his son he is only going, so called “fishing,” at midnight. What Jerry is actually doing is resurrecting dead individuals physically by hand. Due to being a poor man, this is the only way he can make his money. He takes all the rich valuables from the graves and sells the bodies to scientists to work on.
There were also two characters that took part in a spiritual resurrection. John Barsad and Roger Cly both faked their deaths due to not getting physically killed by their duties of being spies. To Jerry, he thought that he would be able to go “fishing” on the night of the burial and “catch” something that is valuable. Jerry didn’t end up catching anything and finally spilled to someone that Barsad and Cly’s burials were hoaxes. This was not smart on Jerry’s behalf, because it made Jerry change his proffesion.
Towards the end of the book, Cruncher has gone through a period of spiritual and mental resurrection. Due to Dickens love of the Bible, Cruncher has gone from horrible to awesome, which is an example of what a disciple would do. Cruncher realized that he should stop hurting his wife, because she is doing it for his own good. Cruncher has changed by making amends for his so called, “honest trade” by turning undertaker, burying the dead instead of raising them. Before, when he used to dig up bodies, he disliked his wife praying for him to get better. Whenever he would come home without “catching anything,” and would find his wife praying, he would beat her. “I’m not going to be made unlucky by your sneaking. If you must go flopping yourself down, flop in favour of your husband and child” (p.86). Later, Cruncher had made a vow to “never no more will I interfere with Mrs. Cruncher’s flopping.”
Darnay also took a part in resurrection. Charles Darnay’s-Lucie Manette’s husband-soul has been spiritually resurrected and saved from being killed. Due to being an Evermonde and for potraying his own family, he was taken to prison and was supposed to be killed. He was physically resurrected after all the several times Dr. Manette had save him, but it wasn’t enough. Barsad would always seem to find a way to get him back to prison and was able to give him the death sentence. Although the final day of his life came and it turned out a happy one on his part. “The door was quickly opened and closed, and there stood before him face toface, quiet, intent, upon him, with the light of a smile on his features, and a cautionary finger on his lip, Sydney Carton” (p.379). Sydney Carton rescued and exchanged places with him, due to their similar appearance. Darnay now was able to be with his wife and kids.
Not only were there several characters that introduced and set examples for resurrection, but the main character was, Sydney Carton. Carton, through his earlier years in the novel, was a sinful man with horrible habits. Whenever he would get upset, he would drink until he passed out. “He resorted to his pint of wine for consoltation, drandk it all in a few minutes, and fell asleep on his arms, with his hair straggling over the table, and a long winding-sheet in the candle dripping down upon him” (p.116). Due to the love of Lucie, he had changed the ways he lived and acted throughout the novel. Carton made a promise to Lucie in the beginning of the novel saying that he would do anything for Lucie, even die for her. This promise was never broken. “It is far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever dine, it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known” (p.404). Through these words Carton recognizes that by sacrificing his life for Darnay, a loved one of Lucie, he will be doing the best thing that he has ever done and can do. Carton is finally satisfied with himself, he is no longer a drunken fool, but a hero that now can live or die withhimself. By dying and saving Darnay for Lucie, Sydney Carton is “Recalled to Life.” Carton’s death is an example of spiritual resurrection and it related to the Christian Sacrifice and love. When Carton makes his decision to die for Lucie, the New Testament verse “I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die” (p.342), nearly became Carton’s theme song. The words were repeated a last time at the moment Carton dies. This may be a metaphor to Christ’s death, because although Christ died to wash away a clean man’s accumulated sins, Carton died to wipe away his own sins that he had caused.
Dickens used Carton as an example of a turnaround in the revolution. After all the bloodshed and gore that the characters have gone through, this gives the novel a sad, but yet new beginning to a new world rising through the ashes of the revolution. Carton saw, before his death, how the world was going to change and he also viewed a long life for Lucie and her family that was made posibble by his sacrifice. “I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more” (p.404). Later Carton was spiritually resurrected by Lucie and her family when they had another child named after Carton.
As one can see, the revolution was a harsh and horrible experince to go through. Several deaths took place, which seemed, in those days, the center of attention. Every time there was a death sentence case, it seemed that, ” a cloud of blue-flies were swarming about the prisoner, in anticipation of what he was soon to become” (p.97). Dickens uses the theme resurrection to give the reader a break in the tragic story of violence. Since Dickens is a Christian man, he felt he had to give the reader a touch of the Bible throughout his writngs of A Tale of Two Cities.