A Tale of Two Cities | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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A Tale of Two Cities | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • 1775

    Mr. Lorry meets with Lucie to say that her father is alive.

    Book 1, Chapter 4
  • Days later

    Lorry and Lucie find Dr. Manette making shoes at Defarge's wine shop and take him to London.

    Book 1, Chapter 5
  • 1780

    John Barsad and Roger Cly frame Darnay for treason, but Carton gets him acquitted.

    Book 2, Chapter 3
  • Days later

    The Marquis's carriage, driving too fast, kills the child of Gaspard, a peasant.

    Book 2, Chapter 7
  • That evening

    Darnay renounces his inheritance to the Marquis, who is later murdered by Gaspard in his sleep.

    Book 2, Chapter 7
  • A year later

    Darnay asks to marry Lucie; Carton tells Lucie he loves her; Jerry digs up Cly's grave.

    Book 2, Chapter 10
  • The wedding day

    Darnay tells Dr. Manette his real name; after the wedding, the doctor, lost, starts making shoes.

    Book 2, Chapter 18
  • Mid-July, 1789

    Lucie and Darnay's daughter, little Lucie, is six; the Defarges lead peasants to storm the Bastille.

    Book 2, Chapter 21
  • Three years later

    Darnay goes to France to save his former servant Gabelle and is imprisoned by Monsieur Defarge.

    Book 3, Chapter 1
  • Soon afterward

    Dr. Manette saves Darnay from death but can't get him released from prison.

    Book 3, Chapter 4
  • Fifteen months later

    Darnay is freed on evidence from Dr. Manette and Gabelle but rearrested the next day.

    Book 3, Chapter 6
  • That night

    Miss Pross sees her brother Solomon, who is John Barsad; Carton blackmails him to help.

    Book 3, Chapter 8
  • The next day

    In court, Dr. Manette's old prison letter denounces Evrémonde; Darnay is sentenced to death.

    Book 3, Chapter 10
  • Later that day

    Carton overhears the Defarges's plot to denounce Darnay's family and warns them to leave.

    Book 3, Chapter 12
  • The next day

    In the prison, Carton drugs Darnay and switches places with him; Barsad takes Darnay to Lucie.

    Book 3, Chapter 13
  • Meanwhile

    Miss Pross fights Madame Defarge to save Lucie; Madame Defarge dies, and Miss Pross becomes deaf.

    Book 3, Chapter 14
  • That afternoon

    At the guillotine, Carton and a seamstress hold hands; he is at peace, picturing Lucie happy.

    Book 3, Chapter 15

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Book 1, Chapter 1 In 1775, as in the 1850s, England and France can only be described in "the superlative degree of comparison," such as "b... Read More
Book 1, Chapter 2 The chapter opens with a description of just how tenuous one's safety is on any given road in England in 1775. Several p... Read More
Book 1, Chapter 3 Stopping at various pubs along the way, Jerry Cruncher considers the message he carries and finds himself "perplexed" by... Read More
Book 1, Chapter 4 Mr. Jarvis Lorry arrives in Dover, where he takes a hotel room and orders one for a young lady arriving sometime that da... Read More
Book 1, Chapter 5 A cask of red wine has been broken outside a wine shop, and people have rushed to the scene to drink the spilled wine. I... Read More
Book 1, Chapter 6 Dr. Manette is a ragged, gaunt old man, with crazy white hair and a choppy white beard, huddled over the work of making ... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 1 The time is "Anno Domini" 1780, or as Jerry Cruncher, the odd-jobs man for Tellson's Bank says, Anna Dominoes. Cruncher ... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 2 Jerry Cruncher is given the task of going to the Old Bailey, the courthouse where Charles Darnay is being tried for trea... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 3 Charles Darnay is on trial for treason at the Old Bailey, and testimony begins with a so-called patriot, John Barsad, wh... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 4 Charles Darnay has been acquitted of treason and is surrounded by Mr. Jarvis Lorry, Mr. Stryver, Lucie Manette, and Dr. ... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 5 Sydney Carton works hard in Mr. Stryver's law office, but when it comes to doing what it takes to improve himself, he ha... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 6 Four months after the trial, the Manettes are living in Soho, a quiet, still somewhat rural area of London, where Dr. Ma... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 7 Every two weeks, the powerful lord known only as the Monseigneur holds a reception at a hotel in Paris. On this night, h... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 8 The Marquis drives through a small, poor village to his chateau. In the countryside, he is considered the Monseigneur. T... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 9 The table has been set for a late supper for two in a tower room at the chateau, but the Marquis's nephew has not yet ar... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 10 It is a year later. Charles Darnay teaches French at Cambridge but spends time in London whenever possible. One day he a... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 11 It is 5 a.m. and Sydney Carton and Mr. Stryver have been working late every night preparing for the long vacation. Carto... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 12 On his way to the Manettes, where he intends to ask Lucie Manette to marry him, Mr. Stryver stops in at Tellson's Bank a... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 13 Sydney Carton, who has been a regular fixture at the Manette household, has rarely shown any of his inner goodness. Howe... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 14 Jerry Cruncher and his son are sitting outside Telson's Bank when they notice a funeral procession approaching. Jerry is... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 15 Monsieur Defarge comes into his wine shop with the mender of roads and introduces his guest to his wife and to three men... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 16 In this chapter, when the Defarges come into Paris, headed for Saint Antoine, their quarter, Monsieur Defarge stops to t... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 17 In London, Lucie Manette is talking with Dr. Manette on the evening before her wedding to Charles Darnay. She tells her ... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 18 On the morning of the wedding, Mr. Jarvis Lorry and Miss Pross are fussing over Lucie Manette and bickering with one ano... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 19 It is the tenth day since Dr. Manette lost touch with reality. The doctor comes out of his room for breakfast and acts n... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 20 The chapter opens with a discussion between Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay, reflecting on their conversation over dinn... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 21 Lucie hears the "echo of footsteps" of her family all around her and feels surrounded by love. Years pass. Lucie has a b... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 22 The poor people of Saint Antoine quarter still look hungry and desperate but have added to their demeanor the knowledge ... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 23 The chapter opens with a description of the difference felt in the villages after the storming of the Bastille: In place... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 24 Three years have passed, and in France, the aristocracy has been "scattered far and wide." Those who foresaw what was co... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 1 It is 1792, and Charles Darnay is traveling from the ferry port to Paris, but he is constantly stopped for identity chec... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 2 Mr. Jarvis Lorry is in Tellson's Bank's Paris office, which inhabits one of the wings in the house of the very same Mons... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 3 Mr. Jarvis Lorry decides to find an apartment for Lucie so that the presence of an emigrant prisoner's wife does not end... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 4 Dr. Manette returns after four days, and hides from Lucie the extent of the horrors he has seen. She knows there was an ... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 5 Since Charles Darnay's reprieve, Lucie has remained strong, keeping their home and teaching little Lucie as if Charles w... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 6 At La Force prison, the jailer reads the "evening paper"—the list of prisoners to be taken before the Tribunal the next ... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 7 That night, Lucie still can't shake her fears for her husband's safety, whereas her father feels triumphant and sees Luc... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 8 Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher are doing the shopping, and Miss Pross finally finds a wine shop that is somewhat safer th... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 9 Mr. Jarvis Lorry is appalled that Jerry Cruncher has been body snatching illegally on the side, and threatens to report ... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 10 Dr. Manette's paper is read to the court. It tells how the doctor was compelled by two men to go with them to a house to... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 11 As the court room empties, Lucie asks to hold her husband one more time and is brought near him. Wrapping her in his arm... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 12 Sydney Carton decides he should be seen in the neighborhood, especially in Saint Antoine. First, he has a meal and then ... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 13 Fifty-two people are awaiting execution in the Conciergerie. Charles Darnay is one of them. After hearing Dr. Manette's ... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 14 Madame Defarge fears her husband may warn Dr. Manette and his family that she intends to denounce them because of his fe... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 15 The tumbrils, full of prisoners, rumble through the streets, which are unusually crowded. People are constantly looking ... Read More
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