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Sándor Márai

Following the trial, one sees the development of several friendships that are essential to the rest of the plot.  Dr. Manette and Lucie frequently host Mr. Lorry, Darnay, and Carton at their home.  It is clear that the men, with the exception of Mr. Lorry, are vying for Lucie’s affection, but that competition does not seem to prevent the group from becoming close to one another.  However, as a conversation between Mr. Lorry and Miss Pross reveals, it is becoming evident that Lucie does need to choose from among her suitors. 

This chapter also features foreshadowing of several major events.  Darnay tells a story he heard about a prisoner in the Tower of London who had hidden writing in his cell, and left the instructions “dig” on the wall.  This, of course, foreshadows the manuscript that Dr. Manette hid in his cell in the Bastille.  The group also hears the echo of footsteps from the street, and they discuss their thoughts about those footsteps.  Another topic of conversation is Dr. Manette’s imprisonment.  Though he has been free for a substantial period of time, the conversation between Miss Pross and Mr. Lorry reveals that Dr. Manette is keeping secrets about his imprisonment, though at this point the reader can only speculate as to why Dr. Manette is keeping those secrets.

The most critical part of the novel may be to establish Lucie as the person who brings this group of individuals together.  All of the people gathering in the Manette household are there because of Lucie.  This actually seems somewhat surprising, given that Lucie is prone to some melodrama and Dickens fails to develop any substance about her that would make her seem to be such a uniting influence.  That is not to suggest that Lucie is disingenuous in any way; on the contrary, Dickens makes it clear that Lucie is a genuinely good person.  However, he makes it equally clear that Lucie is an ideal.  By not endowing Lucie with any human weaknesses, she represents all women rather than a particular woman.  It is just that there seems to be little to her beyond her goodness.  However, that is enough to establish Lucie as the opposite of Madame Defarge, who is likewise the center of a group of people, but is motivated by malice and ill will rather than kindness.

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