A Reality In Fiction Essay

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In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens contrasts the Manettes’ life during the French Revolution in both London and Paris. The story follows them throughout the trials of the Reign of Terror in Paris, to the safety and security of London. He also compares the cities themselves, one being overrun with poverty and oppression, and the other being safe and economically sound. He shows the differences in the quality of life in both cities, while developing a love story in which the lives of the characters are twisted within the French Revolution.

In France before the revolution, many changes had been made to help the country, but the Deficit of Revenue was not one of them. Many of the aristocrats and clergy were exempt from paying taxes,
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They “mocked the old order, with its myriad injustices, and urged the adoption of constitutional reforms on British lines” (Wright 32). Another revolutionary idealist was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He believed in the natural goodness of mankind. He suggested that sovereignty would rest in the general will of the nation (Wright 32). Ultimately, the power did rest in the will of the people.

Paris was in turmoil because the people were hungry and poor. Those that represented the common citizens of France would not submit to their “superiors” because they were angry about their lack of political power. They banned together, named themselves the National Assembly, and pledged to end feudal privileges. They vowed not to disband until France had a constitution. They soon adopted a Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, which was much indebted to the American Declaration of Independence. It included the inalienable rights of an individual, including those of “liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression” (Wright 33). In June 1792, organized mobs from Paris were growing more violent and desperate. They marched through the streets of Paris and broke down the gates of Tuileries to get to the king (Carlyle xv). They also marched on Versailles and forced the king and the queen to move to the capital, where they became virtual prisoners of the revolution (Wright 33). The people were restless until they felt justice had been served for all the

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