Tale of Two Cities: Rich vs. Poor Essay

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Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities written in 1859 tells the story of various characters living in Paris and London during the French Revolution. In Chapter 7, “Monseigneur in Town,” an arrogant and gaudy French aristocrat murders a young peasant boy remaining completely apathetic towards the father of the deceased child. Through the use of literary devices and plot, Dickens conveys the theme of dualism, or the idea that there are two sides to everything throughout this chapter. Similes and the scenario when Monseigneur the Marquis intrudes on the peasant city demonstrate the contrast between rich and poor, the two sides to society. Renowned for his ability to utilize literary devices, Charles Dickens developed the theme through similes. A simile is defined as a comparison of two different things using “like” or “as”. In and of themselves, similes embody some dualistic qualities. After discontinuing the life of an innocent youth, “Monseugneur the Marquis ran his eyes over [all the peasants], as if they had been mere rats come out of their holes” (Dickens 84). Because of his position of superiority, he viewed the peasants as inferior beings. Facing his son’s demise, Gaspard is shown “howling over it like a wild animal” (Dickens 84). This scenario establishes the idea commoners are regarded as non-human. Dickens describes the Monsigneur as having a “face like a fine mask” (Dickens 83). Portrayed as a man of fine face, the Monsieur lacks visible evidence of hardship unlike then peasant living in extreme poverty. In the city of Saint Antoine, Dickens clearly portrays the wide class distinction between the oppressed and the oppressor. The literary device of similes illustrates the dualistic view of animal-like peasants and civilized upper class. As the Monsieur makes his exit from the peasant city, what he says and the peasants’ reaction aid the development of

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