A Tale of Two Cities

A few days ago, everyone in my English class started reading and studying the Tale of Two Cities. It’s perfect because we are currently studying about the French Revolution in history class. Honestly, this is the only unit that is actually interesting to me. As a writing exercise to do, we were told to write the significance or define words of the book title- A Tale of Two Cities- and the first few titles inside the book- Book the First: Recalled to Life and 1: The Period. After we were done writing our thoughts on our own papers, our teacher started explaining the meaning of the words in the titles. In the title A Tale of Two Cities, he started asking students why Charles Dickens, the author of the book, chose the word “tale” instead of “story” or “two” instead of “three.” Students responded to this by saying that the word “tale” is more of an adventure where exciting or memorable events happen, whereas the word “story” are  events that are more moderate and don’t have as many exciting or fun events, but still holds significance.


Later, the teacher explained why Dickens used “two” instead of “three.” He said that if there was only two, the two groups would only focus on each other, making things less difficult to deal with  in terms of not having to focus on a third group. If there was only two, there would be comparing and contrasting about only two opposing sides, so two is just perfect. Similarities and differences would stand out a lot more if just two groups were focused on.  If there was a third group, then there would be too many details to know and focus on. I thought this was a very creative activity, and I’m actually glad we did something like this. I’ve never gone into such details on just a title of a book, so I thought that was unique.



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