L’assassin habite au 21

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Stanislas-André Steeman

Darnay’s discussion with Dr. Manette occurs at the same time that Stryver is telling Carton of his intention to propose to Lucie. Stryver does not seem to be in love with Lucie, but in love with the idea of Lucie. Moreover, Stryver seems convinced that Lucie would do well to marry him, because it would increase her wealth. Stryver believes himself to be a very attractive man and actually chastises Carton because he feels like Carton has intentionally made himself unattractive to women. Carton participates in the conversation in a very sarcastic manner, seeming to bolster Stryver’s self-laudatory comments, but actually disagreeing with them.

The chapter serves as a means of contrasting Lucie’s two primary suitors, Stryver and Darnay, with one another, which continues Dickens’s theme of doubles in the novel. Not only does Darnay seem to have a nicer personality, he also wants to marry Lucie because of genuine romantic feelings. In contrast, Stryver’s approach towards Lucie is far more practical; he believes that she would be a pleasant wife and that he would provide her with an advantageous marriage opportunity. Only one of the men, Darnay, indicates any concern about whether Lucie wants to marry him as well.

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