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Free Study Guide-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-Free BookNotes
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Chapter Eleven: Dusk

Summary

Lucie is completely shocked by the guilty verdict; but she nobly lifts herself out of her stupor because she knows she has to stand by Darnay in his misery rather than augment it. She pleads with his jailer to let her embrace her husband for the last time. Barsad allows her to do so. Darnay blesses his wife and assures her that they will meet again one day. He also sends a parting blessing to little Lucie.

As the couple tear themselves apart, Lucie tearfully informs her husband that they will not be parted for long as she is sure to die of a broken heart. Darnay prevents the Doctor from kneeling before him and comforts him. He realizes now the full extent of the struggle the Doctor has endured. He is also grateful for his efforts to release him. The Doctor's only response is to run his hands through his hair and utter an anguished cry. After Darnay is led out, Lucie collapses at her father's feet.


Carton, who has unobtrusively observed this scene, comes forward and carries the senseless woman to the coach. On reaching the house, Carton carries her again and lays her on the couch. Little Lucie and Miss Pross weep over her. Carton does not want Lucie to be revived. It would be better for her to sleep through her misery. Little Lucie is overjoyed to see Carton and knows that he will do something to help her mother and save her father. He promises her that she will again see her father. He kisses Lucie and whispers in her ear, "A life you love." This is overheard by little Lucie. He urges Dr. Manette to use his influence, once again, to save Darnay's life, even though he knows that it is hopeless. He explains to Mr. Lorry that he encouraged Dr. Manette only because it might console Lucie one day. Carton then leaves.

Notes

The plot moves rapidly to the grand finale. It is dominated by the actions of Sydney Carton who from a dissipated and irresolute lawyer has emerged as a clear-headed and meticulous planner. This is not really a metamorphosis, for the sharpness of his mind has been observed in his work for Mr. Stryver. After the tearful and heartbreaking separation from Darnay, Lucie faints. It is significant that Carton comes to her rescue and carries her to home and safety.

As Lucie lies unconscious, he assures little Lucie that she will soon see her father. His parting kiss and whispering in his beloved Lucie's ear is very touching, for he alone knows that he will never see her again. He plans for the family to escape and gets ready to visit Darnay in the prison; he will switch places with him there. It is an act of pure love for Lucie. He is to become the Christ figure who is willing to die for the sins of Darnay's ancestors.

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