Oncle Vania

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Anton Tchekhov

There is not a substantial amount of plot development in chapter five; instead, the purpose of the chapter seems to be to remind the reader of Lucie’s compassion.  Lucie goes each day to stand on the street in front of the prison, with the hope that Darnay will be able to see her.  She is heckled by the road mender, who has since become a woodcutter.  Lucie pays him to leave her alone, showing the supremacy of money over stated values.   Lucie’s determination to stand where Darnay may be able to catch a glimpse of her bespeaks her love and devotion for her husband, and serves to further separate her from Madame Defarge.  Furthermore, the chapter reveals Lucie to be tougher than she has appeared at other parts in the novel.  Lucie has previously responded to stress by swooning, as she did at Darnay’s first trial.  However, since that time she has had two children and lost one to an early death; she is much tougher than she once was.  The day before Darnay’s trial, Lucie is surrounded by a mob as she waits for her husband to see her.  She manages to stand up to the mob, using her appearance of frailty to her advantage.  Madame Defarge’s appearance at the end of the chapter seems mainly to highlight the differences between Lucie and her.  

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