A Tale of Two Cities Themes
Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities contains several major themes that run throughout the story. Themes of resurrection, social justice, darkness versus light and the imagery of water can be found in abundance. Dickens’ novel of the French Revolution was one of his more serious works, representing a break from the humor that usually pervaded his writing.
Perhaps the most important theme in A Tale of Two Cities is that of resurrection. The first section is entitled, “Recalled to Life,” and details how Dr. Manette is freed after spending many long years in the Bastille. One of the first characters that is introduced, Jerry Cruncher, is a “Resurrection Man,” a grave robber in other words. In the end, Charles Darnay is resurrected from execution and Dickens hints of a new France being resurrected out of the ashes of the Revolution.
Social justice is another major theme, and of importance in several of Dickens’ novels. Dickens frequently wrote about how the poor were mistreated, and uses the conditions of the French Revolution to highlight such injustice. Water is another major theme, with Dickens describing the Revolution as a storm, and employs water metaphors in numerous places. Additionally, there is a constant thread of dark contrasting with light, symbolizing good and evil. These themes help mark A Tale of Two Cities as a major work of literature.