The knitting women
The French revolution was a period of tremendous turmoil, tragedy, and torture. In the
historical novel, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens brings you into the lives of
hardworking women and gives the reader an idea of what it was like to live during the
French revolution. The knitting women conveys Dickens’ apprehension, which heightens
the suspense towards the coming revolution.
In the first half of the passage, Dickens potrays kitting as a distraction from the oncoming
Revolution, while also serving to heighten the suspense. Dickens uses, “ All
the women knitted, they knitted worthless things; but, the mechanical work was a
mechanical substitute for eating and drinking; the hands move for the jaw”, to convey
anadiplosis and metonomy. Dickens is trying to persuade the audience that in comparison
to an oncoming revolution, the women were knitting “worthless things”, and instead they
were gossiping; he also emphasizes that the “hands moved for the jaw”, to spread word of
the future revolution. In addition, Madame Defarge is compared to a “ missionary”, in
order to emphasize that she spreads rumors from the tremendous torture, and tragedy of
the French Revolution.
The second half of the passage is foreshadowing the coming revolution, in which Dickens
is now portraying that the womens knitting has led to rumor of darkness. He uses words
such as, “ringing”, “”melted”, “thundering”, “beating”, and “wretched”, to give negative
connotations, which emphasizes how terrible the coming revolution will be. Dickens
creates suspense while adding on, that the women kept “knitting, knitting”, to show that
while these women sat knitting, they spread sordid rumors. Their gossip took place in the
middle of the building revolution until, “they were to sit knitting, knitting, counting dropping heads”, the rumors of the revolution where true and terrifying. A repetition of...
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