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Essay/Term paper: Carton"s change

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Essays

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It is human nature to carry a beast deep down within oneself. Whether one chooses to control the beast or be controlled by it is an individual choice. He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man. Most repress their inner rage, but some let it loose and lose that which makes them a human being. In the novel A tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Sydney Carton is not the man he initially appears to be. Sydney"s love for Lucie changed him greatly, and allowed him to become a better person. Sydney Carton"s final act of supreme courage in Paris is not an inspired emotional response, but a deliberate, carefully reasoned act. In the novel A Tale of Two Cities Sydney Carton drastically changes his life around and becomes a new man, which allows him to die with a clear conscience.

Sydney Carton is not the man he initially appears to be. Sydney is first described at Darnay"s trial as slouching and not paying attention to the proceedings of the court. He is portrayed as drunk, and even admits this to Darney at dinner. ""A last word, Mr. Darney: you think I am drunk? I think you have been drinking, Mr. Carton. Think? You know I have been drinking. Since I must say so, I know it. Then you shall likewise know why I am a disappointed drudge sir."" (Dickens 91) Sydney feels that there is no hope for him, and that his life will never improve. Carton has much more potential, and could be so much more in life, yet he remains in the shadow of others happy to do the work of others. " Sydney had been working double tides that night, and the night before, and the night before that, and a good many nights in succession, making a grand clearance among Stryvers papers before the setting in of the long vacation. (Dickens 140) Carton has many repressed feelings and memories, which he keeps hidden deep down within himself. He is a lonely man because of these repressed emotions and memories, which make Sydney turn toward drink.

The more Carton attempts to confront his problems, the more he resorts to recklessness and drinking. Sydney feels that no one cares for him, so he cannot care for another. ""I care for no man on earth and no man on earth cares for me."" (Dickens 91) Carton"s memories of growing up without care eat away at him, and turn him away from other people, into solitude. Carton detests Darnay when they first meet, because he sees that Darney is everything that he could have been.

""Do you particularly like the man?" he muttered, at his own image. " why

should you particularly like a man who resembles you?" There is nothing in you to like; you know that. Ah, confound you! What a change you have made in yourself! A good reason for taking to a man, that he shows you what you have fallen away from, and would you have been looked at by those blue eyes as he was, and commiserated by that agitated face as he was? Come on, and have it out in plain words! You hate the fellow."" (Dickens 91)

Although Sydney thinks he hates Darnay, he really does not. Carton is quick to observe

and act when he sees a way to save Darnay"s life at the Old Bailey trial. Carton is a lonely, but brilliant man. Deep down he is truly a good man with the ability to do good things. All he needs is the love and care of others.

Carton demonstrates a sensitivity to that which gives life meaning; beauty, friendship, faith and love. He is unable to realize them in his own life, so he turns to others to try and find all these emotions, which makes him satisfied to remain in the shadow of others. Carton"s partner Mr. Stryver relaxes while Sydney works long hard hours to prepare the defense material for the following days. Carton does most of Stryvers work, he is a man of great talent but lacks the character traits that would make those talents work to his own advantage. From his early school days, he was a boy who did homework for the other boys, and rarely did his own work. ""Yes! The same Sydney, with the same luck. Even then, I did exercises for other boys, and seldom did my own."" (Dickens 96) Sydney was always satisfied with falling into his rank and never did anything to attempt to change his life. Now that Sydney is a man he further destroys himself with drink, although he is not satisfied with his life he feels that he cannot do anything to change it.

Sydney"s love for Lucie changed him greatly. Carton became a regular visitor at the Manettes. When he was not at the house he would wander the streets around the Manette residence. When Sydney would visit the Manette residence he would not drink, and tried to be as courteous as possible, but he would always be the same moody person. One day when Sydney visited the Mantte residence he called on Lucie and pledged his love to her.

"If it had been possible, Miss Manette, that you could have returned the love of the man before you self-flung away, wasted, drunken, poor creature of misuse as you know him to be-he would have been conscious this day and hour, in spite of his happiness, that he would bring you misery, bring you to sorrow and repentance, blight you, disgrace you, pull you down with him. I know for none; I am even thankful that it cannot be." (Dickens 154)

After hearing this, Lucie feels nothing but compassion for Carton. She wishes that she could repay his confidence, but Carton refuses. While pledging his love to Lucie, Sydney insists that he will never be better than he is and that he will sink lower and become worse. Without the love and care of others, Sydney tears himself up inside.

Carton asked nothing more of Lucie than to always remember how deeply he cared for her, and that he would make any sacrifice to her or anyone dear to her. ""For you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything. If my career were of that of a better kind that there was any opportunity or capacity of sacrifice in it, I would embrace any sacrifice for you and for those dear to you."" (Dickens 156) Carton was unlike what he had ever shown himself to be. It saddened Lucie to think about how much Sydney had thrown away, and how many emotions he repressed everyday. When Charles and Lucie returned home after getting married, Sydney was the first one waiting to congratulate them. Charles immediately realized a change in Sydney. He had a new strength about him. After the congratulatory, Sydney pulled Charles aside and asked him if they could be friends. ""Mr. Darnay, I wish we might be friends. We are already friends, I hope. You are good enough to say so, as a fashion of speech. Indeed, when I say I wish we might be friends, I scarcely mean quite that, either."" (Dickens 205) Carton apologizes to Darney about how he had treated Charles the night they had first met, and asks him to forget about it. He tells Charles that he is a dissolute dog, who has never done any good or ever will. After Carton leaves, Charles mentions the conversation to Lucie who tells Darney that deep down Carton is a good man. Even though Darney kept the same opinion of Carton, Lucie realized that Carton had made a significant change to his life.

Carton"s final act of supreme courage in Paris is not an inspired emotional response, but a deliberate, carefully reasoned act. After the second arrest of Charles Darney, Carton urges Dr. Manette to attempt to use his influence to free Charles, although he knows it is hopeless. When Carton is speaking with little Lucie, she begs him to do something to save her father. As Sydney kisses the child he whispers the words "A life you love" into little Lucie"s ear. This refers back to the time when Carton told Lucie that he would sacrifice himself for her or anyone she cared for. After Carton leaves the Manette"s house he devises his plan to switch places with Darney. He decides that the citizens must know that there is another man with a similar identity to Charles so he goes into the Defarges wineshop and lets himself be seen. " As Carton walked in, took his seat and asked (in very indifferent French) for a small measure of wine, Madame Defarge cast a careless glance at him, and then a keener, and then a keener, and then advanced to him herself, and asked him what it was he had ordered." (Dickens 332) Madame Defarge automatically recognized the resemblance of Sydney to Charles and consulted her friends about it. When Dr. Manette came home after attempting to free Charles, he had reverted back to his shoemaking state and was looking for his bench. As Sydney planed out the events and perfectly executed them he ends up in Darnay"s cell waiting to be beheaded. Carton uses this time to think about his life and his love for Lucie, who could never return his love. As Sydney is being carried away on the tumbrils to La Guillotine, he thinks philosophically about the future and even quotes a few scriptures. Before Carton is beheaded his mind becomes clear. He looks at his life and knows he is going to a far better place. "`It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.`" (Dickens 367) Carton"s carefully reasoned act of saving Charles Darnay was a truly heroic deed. Even though it was partly self-sacrifice, Carton still had a promise to uphold to Lucie and he wasn"t going to back out on it.

Sydney Carton picks up the pieces of his broken life and becomes a new man, which allows him to die with a clear conscience at La Guillotine. Carton is not the man he is first portrayed to be. His love for Lucie allowed him to change greatly. Carton"s final act of supreme courage for Darnay and Lucie in Paris was not an inspired emotional response, but a deliberate, carefully reasoned act. Sydney Carton managed to drastically change his life. His Love for Lucie let him experience feelings that he had long suppressed. He became a compassionate individual, and died with a clear conscience.


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