People often say that mankind should learn from history. Charles Dickens, whose books are considered classics, set his novel A Tale of Two Cities in the past. He wanted his readers to learn from the bloody French Revolution and from the widespread brutality in London. Both cities (Paris and London) offer the reader a glimpse into dark and dangerous times. As students read about Dickens's Victorian setting and learn his view of the French Revolution, they will think about what makes a just world. Students will have a chance to think about their own experiences, and, using techniques they have learned from Charles Dickens, they will do some writing that sends a message about your own world.
To complete the unit accomplishments, students will:
- Read the Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities.
- Read several short pieces, including a biography of Dickens and excerpts from other literature, to help them understand Dickens’s world and the world of the novel.
- Explore new vocabulary to build their ability to write and speak using academic language.
- Practice close reading and participate in several role plays and dramatic readings to help them experience the dramatic writing style of Charles Dickens.
- Write a vignette and a short narrative piece, and practice using descriptive detail and precise language.
- Write a reflection about the meaning of Dickens’s novel.
These questions are a guide to stimulate thinking, discussion, and writing on the themes and ideas in the unit. For complete and thoughtful answers and for meaningful discussions, students must use evidence based on careful reading of the texts.
- How does good storytelling affect the reader, and how can a good story promote change in the world?
- What was the Victorian view of gender roles?
- How can power be abused?
- What is loyalty ? What are the limits of loyalty?
The Power of Detail, Part 2
The Chateau Annotation
Defarge and Cruncher: A Comparison
Peer Editing: Vignette
Madame Defarge Homework
Ernest Defarge Homework
Responding to A Tale of Two Cities
Grammar Lesson for A Tale of Two Cities
Historical Research: A Tale of Two Cities
Symbol and Allusion Annotation
Jackals and Lions: Carton
Dickens’s Character Descriptions Annotation
The Power of Detail, Part 1
Script of Trial
Your Vignette: Instructions
Biography of Charles Dickens
Jackals and Lions: Stryver
Description: Effective Verbs
The Tumbrils Annotation
Description: Seeing Not Judging
- Dickens as Storyteller
Lesson 1A Tale of Two Cities
Lesson 2Dickens’s Biography
Lesson 3Novel Settings
Lesson 4Character and Caricature
Lesson 5Messages Through Images
Lesson 6Description Writing
- Revolutionary Writing
Lesson 7Content Grammar
Lesson 8Dramatic Language
Lesson 9Old Bailey Courtroom
Lesson 10Extended Metaphors
Lesson 11Mythical Avengers
Lesson 12A Turn Towards A Revolution
Lesson 13Brainstorming Exercise
- The Rebels
Lesson 14Character Exploration
Lesson 15Moral Values Through Characters
Lesson 16Mood Establishment In Scenes
Lesson 17Symbolism & Direction
Lesson 18Illustration Analysis
Lesson 19Vivid Language
Lesson 20The Storming of The Bastille
Lesson 21The Revolutionaries