Sunday, September 15, 2013

Memorable Moments: A Tale of Two Cities - 'It is a far, far better thing'

Adam C. Zern sounds off on an unforgettable moment in an unforgettable book:

"It's tough to understate the impact of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities on the literary world.  It's also completely justified.  A Tale of Two Cities is a beautifully written and masterful tale, which ends with one of the most memorable moments in all of literature. 

Amidst the bloodbath which was the French Revolution, there were innocent people who were swept up in the madness and in more than one instance lost their lives.  Charles Dickens delineates this harrowing moment in human history by placing his characters in the middle of it all and forces the reader to accept the inevitable death of an innocent man, Charles Darnay.  His condemnation to death is a perfect illustration of the injustice of the French Revolution.  He was condemned for his relations and not because of his character.

However, as the violence and injustice reaches its crescendo at the end of Dickens' book, Sydney Carton, a far less noble and admirable person, trades places with Charles Darnay along with accepting his subsequent fate.  This act of selfless heroism is a redemptive moment not only for Carton but for anyone who has ever wondered if their past has to forever eclipse their future.  At that moment, Dickens expresses Carton's feelings toward his sacrifice with some of the most memorable words I have ever read in any book: "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

Like I said before, it is impossible to truly measure the impact that A Tale of Two Cities has had on literature.  Furthermore, its impact is felt throughout other entertainment mediums as well.  The end of The Dark Knight Rises makes specific reference to the line I quoted above.  This impact and influence is good and unavoidable because the end of Dickens' masterpiece is truly unforgettable.  It's elevating and inspiring and worth remembering."

Other Topics of Interest:
Memorable Moments: The Illustrated Man - 'Make a wish! Make a wish!'
Memorable Moments: Ender's Game - Terrible Reality
Reflections: Reflections on the Revolution in France

1 comment:

  1. Redemption! A subject that never seems to go out of style. Fads in pop culture come and go but the idea of someone laying down his or her life for another never goes out of style.