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Contextual Overview of a Tale of Two Citites

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Essay title: Contextual Overview of a Tale of Two Citites

English IV

17April2007

Contextual Overview of A Tale of Two Cities

During the eighteenth century, the economic, social, and political conditions of France were unstable and ready to crumble at a moments notice. However, there was a great contrast between the aristocratic society of France and the poor. The poor, which was the majority of people lived in extreme poverty and had to deal with social criticism and political abuses from their own government. A Tale of Two Cities is a book of contrast whether it is between London and Paris or between the aristocratic and common people of Paris. Charles Dickens live in England a century after the setting of his book and thus had a very personal idea of what it might have been like for those living in the eighteenth century. Charles Dickens grew up in the wake of the industrial revolution for England and experienced a long and hard childhood. Because of Dickens’s hard childhood in the wake of the industrial revolution he gained the experiences necessary to write A Tale of Two Cities in an accurate and sentimental way.

Dickens was born at 387 Mile End Terrace in Portsmouth, England. Dickens was born in a fairly comfortable home and experienced a few childhood years in financial stability. However, Dickens father squandered his wealth on drinking, feasting, and socializing. Four months after Charles’s birth the family moved to a cheaper, lower class home. However, the family still had enough to live on. Between the years of 1817 and 1822 Charles and his family lived in financial stability and comfort. Charles was taught to read by his mother at a young age and enjoyed many classics such as Robinson Crusoe, Don Quixote, Tom Jones, and Arabian Nights (Ayer 12-14).

The happy childhood was all but over when his father was transferred to London. Charles father sank deeper and deeper into debt and by the time Dickens was ten years old the family was in a state of financial crisis. The Dickens family in their desperation had to pawn off many of their possessions and Charles mother attempted to open a school which failed and in turn sunk the family into deeper debt (14). On February 20, 1824 Charles father was arrested for his debt and thrown into a debtors’ prison called Marshalsea. Marshalsea was a very harsh place to live and some of Charles siblings had to go and live with their father there. Due to this Charles had to quit school and begin a hard job at Blacking Factory (15). The company made a black substance that was used as a sealant on boots and grates. Charles had the job of covering the pots

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