Plot and Conflict

A spoiler free summary of A Tale of Two Cities!

The book takes place in England and France where a family is conflicted by the French Revolution. In the exposition, Mr. Lorry takes Lucie Manette to meet her father in Paris who has been in prison for eighteen years. Through her care, Lucie is able to restore her father, Dr. Manette to health. Five years later, Charles Darnay, a Frenchman, meets Lucie through a trial, and later marries her. Charles Darnay is successful as a teacher and a immigrant from France, whereas Sydney Carton, Charles' doppleganger, is a failure.

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After Charles and Lucie start a happy family a few years later, trouble stirs in France. The revolution starts and many aristocrats are cruelly imprisoned and executed. Charles Darnay then receives a letter calling for help from France, and abandons his family to fulfill his deed. Upon arriving, Charles Darnay is imprisoned for being an emigrant out of France. His family and other close friends arrive to France just to face the harsh possibility of Charles being executed.

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Dr. Manette, having been in prison under the harsh aristocratic rule, is immediately praised as a hero. Using his newly found power, he enters the prison and tries to free Charles. However, France is dangerous and especially unforgiving to people of the upper class such as Lucie Manette and her family. As time moves on, it seems hopeless that Charles will get out of prison to be reunited with his family again. Sydney Carton, however, a once pathetic man, comes to Paris to the rescue.

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