08级罗云妍论文节选“The hope for a better life in A Tale of Two
5.2.Characters portrayal, Direct Reflection of Hope
In the paper, I will choose 3 typical figures, Sydney Carton, Monsieur Defarge and Doctor Manette, to discuss hope according to their behaviours and psychology.
5.2.1. Love Brings Hope, Sydney Carton
“I want you to know that you are my last dream in my life”, “Remember always there’s a man who could give his life to you, or anyone you love”, “I told you once, for you I would do anything. I will”(Charles Dickens, 2008). These words are from
Sydney Carton who impressed me most. The characterization in A Tale of Two Cities
is pure, every character is before you when they appear on the scene: Lucie is gentle and virtuous; Doctor Manette went through all the vicissitudes of life; Mr. Lorry is experienced and shrewd; Charles is upright and confident……In contrast, Carton is like a mist who is talented, but abandons himself and would rather be Mr. Stryver’s
jackal. He behaves a lazy and intemperate man who shows indifference to others. He looks down on himself and describes his existence as a supreme waste of life and takes every opportunity to declare that he cares for nothing and no one. However, after he meets Lucie, everything changes. Lucie’s appearance awakens Carton's past
dream, meanwhile lights the love of fire. He finally loses his heart to Lucie. But he never expresses, even before the confessions, he has already known that he will encounter brush-off. Carton is a typical altruist who sacrifices himself to save his rival in love(李维屏；2008: 177; my translation), everything he does is to make others happy. Pursuing love helps Carton to realize the meaning of life, for the first time, he can face his life directly. Carton treats Lucie as his last dream and hope, even though he can not be loved in return. He transfers his hope of a better life to Lucie, in other words, Carton hopes to realize the self-value by creating happiness for Lucie. So in
the end, in order to fullfil Lucie and Charles, Carton stands on the guillotine. “I see
Barsad, Defarge, the judges, all dying under this terrible machine. I see a beautiful city being built in this terrible place. I see that new people will live here, in real freedom. I see the lives for whom I give my life, happy and peaceful in that England which I shall never see again. I see Lucie when she is old, crying for me on this day every year, and I know that she and her husband remember me until their death. I see their son, who has my name, now a man. I see him become a famous lawyer and make my name famous by his work. I hear him tell him son my story”. The last words
interweave with infatuation, disappointment and hope. Being a famous lawyer is his dream, but it can never come true, so he hopes someday someone can realize it for him. He imagines that people will never forget him, especially Lucie. When he is alive, he seems to be an outsider, so he wants to be involved in Lucie’s life, as her son.
Even if Carton hopes to get Lucie’ love by his death, he gives life a new meaning and
obtains rebirth and redemption which may be better then be alive for him. Love brings hope.
5.2.2. Hatred Brings Death, Monsieur Defarge
The complex hatred is hard to solve, the cruel revenge has made more hatreds, loves rebirth in the hell edge, but take the life as the price. As we know, good and evil are symbolised by light and darkness. Obviously, Lucie Manette is the light and Madame Defarge is darkness. It is difficult for us to find a second similar character like her among Dickens’s work. Her childhood is miserable, Marquis St.Evremonde
brothers ruined her family, her father, brother, sister and brother all die an unnatural death. She grows up with hatred and aspires to take revenge to all noble. Before the time comes, she keeps weaving, puts her hatred, her wishes, and her objects and nobles’ crimes into her memory accurately and correctly. As the “vengeance”,
Madame Defarge sticks to revenge by revolution. She is wise and brave, but once the revolution breaks out, she becomes a ruthless person. She does everything to kill Daier and his family. Actually, Madame Defarge is a woman with a great calmness of
manner. When the French Revolution starts, she leads the woman and cuts off the head of the governor of the prison. She should have been a woman who is firm and wholehearted for revolution, but she is obsessed with taking revenge, she couldn’t
escape the shadow of revenge prison until her death. The author’s way to describe Defarge is contradictory, she is such a brave and tactful working women. In Marquis’s
presence, even a man dares not to look up, but Madame Defarge can glare at him. Meanwhile she is also the sole survivor of the victims' families. She should have been a positive figures, and have a good ending, but in fact she is more like a villain(宋俊
秋, 2009: 109; my translation). Madame Defarge always does some knits which is a symbol of preparation of revenge. In addition, her knitting is also a symbol of weaving hope. She never wants to be oppressed, she hopes to change her destiny. As one of the oppressed, Defarge hates deeply aristocrat, she chooses the rule of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. She thought her life would be better if she killed these oppressors. Things go contrary to her wishes, she is blind in hatred. And as a result, she is killed by Miss Pross. When mention the collision between Madame Defarge and Miss Pross, Dickens said？“with the power of love----love is often much
more powerful than hate.”
5.2.3. The Embodiment of Humanitarian, Doctor Manette
With the tolerant heart, one can be free from his mental prison. Doctor Manette is a main figure in the novel who has a strong sense of justice. As a father, he gives up revenge and he would like to take any risks for her daughter. He is a totally incarnation of humanism. Doctor Manette’s thoughts in youth and senectitude have a
fundamental difference. When Doctor Manette is young, because of uncovering Marquis St.Evremonde’s scandal, he is put in the Bastille which makes him unhinged. He records everything and declares that he will continue to charge Marquis St.Evremonde and their descendants. Here we see a Doctor Manette whose heart is full filled with hatred. His only hope is to revenge after being released from prison. With the time goes by, under Lucie’s care, the old Manette gradually feels relieved
and gives up revenge which shows he wants to have a new life. The old Manette is the embodiment of humanitarian and tolerance. At the bengining of the story, the old Manette’s resurrection is mentioned repeatedly, which implys his mental resurrection
by tolerance. It is a way of renewing himself, meanwhile it is also a thoroughly negative to revenge by fighting teeth with teeth, fighting blood with blood". Even though Doctor Manette’s humanitarian thought is only confined to his own family, the efforts he makes for a better life is obvious to all. He must bear unimaginable pain when he finds that his daughter falls in love with Marquis St.Evremonde’s descendant,
although the author doesn’t describe his contradiction and pain clearly. The
expression will never lie. When Darnay is on trial in the court, Doctor Manette looks at Darnay with a strange face mixed with disgust, doubt and even fear. His struggles may drive him mad. In spite of this, he finally accepts Darnay and treats Charles as his family, because he knows that hatred calls forth nothing but more hatred. When Charles is sentenced death because of Doctor Manette’s indictment, Manette is so
regret that he wishes he had never written it. As a father, he never cares about the revenge again, his biggest hope is family peace and reunion. After all, the past has gone, nothing can be more important than living a better life with family.
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better best rest that I go to than I have ever known.” The story draws to an end with Carton’s
words. He proves that Where there is love, there is hope! Actually, the contrast of death of Carton and Mademe Defarge exactly explains the truth that love brings hope, while hatred brings death. In A Tale of Two Cities, every character makes different efforts for gaining a better life. In the process, some treat humanism and religious thoughts as their guidance to realize hope, while people like Defarge choose revolution to be a shortcut of taking revenge. After a fierce battle, the former turns out to be the winner. The death of Carton seems on the surface to be a tragedy, in fact which is a renaissance. He dies with hope, and he brings this hope to people he loves.
Love conquers all.