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Philip V. Allingham, Contributing Editor, ictorian Web; Faculty of Education, Lakehead University, ... - page 4 / 15

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courts of law, all of which Dickens knew from his father's imprisonment for debt in 1824 at Marshalsea (notoriously depicted in Little Dorrit, 1855-7), from his own employment at the age of 15 as a lawyer's clerk, and from his stint as a shorthand reporter in the Courts of Doctors (of Law) Commons. The Pickwick Papers (1837), David Copperfield (1849-50), Bleak House (1852-3), and the novel following A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations (1861), all reveal Dickens's first-hand knowledge of the British legal system (and generally reflect his contempt for it).

In the second book Dickens divides his time almost evenly between France and England, but clearly it is France's political, economic, and especially its social problems that fascinate him.

Contrast the French system of "justice," as presented in Book One, with that of England, as given in Book Two.

Book II, Chapter 1: "Five Years Later"

  • 1.

    How does his description of Tellson's Bank suggest Dickens' characteristic over- writing?

  • 2.

    Jerry Cruncher is the only character reminiscent of the broadly-drawn comic caricatures that figure so prominently in his early novels: how is he both comic and yet consistent with Dickens' attack on social conditions?

  • 3.

    How do Jerry's hands and boots constitute a mystery?

  • 4.

    How does Tellson's epitomize English complacency?

Book II, Chapter 2: "A Sight"

  • 1.

    How is Dickens critical of both the Old Bailey and Bedlam?

  • 2.

    Why are the Manettes in court?

  • 3.

    What punishment is meant by "quartering"?

  • 4.

    For what crime is the punishment reserved?

  • 5.

    See the note on the source of this trial on p. 406 (#15). Cutting out the bombast,

what precisely is the charge levelled at Darnay?

6. What changed impression do we get of Dr. Manette?

Book II, Chapter 3. "A Disappointment"

1. How does Stryver discredit the prosecution's first witness, John Barsad?

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