Professor Allison Wise
English Comp 1
11 November 2014
Injustice, Sacrifice, Redemption.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the
age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of
light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of
despair" (Dickens 1).
The French Revolution was a period of social upheaval and unrest in France, with riots,
battles, and government overthrows raging throughout the country as the fight for freedom and
equality escalated. Numerous books explore this period of history, but two in particular, Les
MisÃ©rables, by Victor Hugo, and A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, address the French
Revolution in a personal, impactful way. Although set in different time periods of the Revolution,
both books exemplify three central themes: injustice, sacrifice, and redemption. The character
and plot development of both novels not only show these themes's central place in the French
Revolution, but also highlight the themes' intrinsic interrelation and their impact on humanity.
Injustice and oppression were rampant in seventeenth and eighteenth century France. The
monarchy and upper class enjoyed lives of gross extravagance and frivolity, pursuing lifestyles
of ease and pleasure, while the lower classes battled poverty, starvation, and death. The common
people possessed few rights and were subject to unjust laws that favored the wealthy and
powerful, who often abused their power mindlessly. For example, in A Tale of Two Cities,
Dickens recounts an incident where a young boy was run over by the carriage of a marquis. The
child, killed by the force of the carriage, lay dead in his father's arms. The marquis, aggravated at...