We’ve been reading “Tale of Two Cities” in my English class, and we haven’t gotten very far, but I already know which part is my favorite.
“It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that in the rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent to Paris, there were sheltered from the weather that very day, rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread..”
If this part doesn’t give you chills or spur your heartbeat, I don’t know what will. I love the language used in this paragraph; it’s negative and and run-on, but with the vivid descriptions, you can almost just see the makings of the guillotine and smell the musty forest air, you can just about imagine the dirty splinters in the criminal carts and scrunch up your nose at the foul stench of the animal mire.
My history teacher called this time “history’s perfect storm”, hence the title. He was talking about how everything tied together for the French Revolution; the ignorant leaders, the corrupt leaders, the ultimate downfall of French society. I think during this time, there are so many people afraid of the coming events, even if they don’t know what they are.
“..and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread..”
All they can think is my family must survive, but their circumstances are so life-threatening. In a later part of the book, they talk about how everything even in England is going wrong, that the very pillars of discipline are crumbling.
“In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now, burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robed a farmer’s boy of sixpence.
It reminds me of “C’est la Mort” by The Civil Wars.
(sorry, I couldn’t find the official video)
It’s a love song, but I feel it can be applied to families at this horrible time, particularly those of poorer class. All they want is to be somewhere where the terrifying, horrific acts of the nobles, clergy, and images of the extravagant Marie-Antoinette can’t reach them. They want euphoria and love in a place where they can thrive together.
Now, imagine that. A family that wants to be happy together; I bet that didn’t even occur to you, now, did it?