Thursday, September 29, 2011

Question of the Week (9/29/11)

Choose one of the following questions to answer and post to the blog. Enjoy your weekend. Don't forget to respond to a classmate's response -- unless you are the first to post.

Book the First: Recalled to Life
Chapter 1: The Period
Chapter 2: The Mail
Chapter 3: The Night Shadows
1. Discuss the theme of the likeness of people despite differences of place or time. Is this relationship useful only within the context of A Tale of Two Cities, or can it be applied to other situations?

2. How does the fear of the messenger illustrate the narrator’s idea that it is impossible to know another person? Does anything else in these opening chapters support this thought? Does anything contradict it?

Chapter 4: The Preparation
1. Write an essay reflecting on Mr. Lorry’s insistence that all of his relations are of the business type. Why could this be important as to what his character represents? How is this related to his lifelong bachelorhood? How does this reflect the Victorian Age?

2. Write an essay discussing the way Lucie Manette is portrayed as a woman in this chapter. What problems arise from this depiction? Is this a mere reflection of Victorian ideals, or is it relevant to today’s times?

Chapter 5: The Wine-Shop
1. How does this chapter foreshadow the coming revolution? Look beyond the obvious answer that equates the wine with blood. What does the single-mindedness of the crowd mean in this context? What of the desolate conditions that they live in?

2. Discuss the significance of the name “Jacques.” What do the peasants gain by addressing each other in this way? How did they come to use this term? Discuss any contemporary manifestations of this idea.

Chapter 6: The Shoemaker
1. Write an essay exploring the ways in which Dr. Manette has lost his identity. Use specific examples to show how much of his past he has forgotten.

2. Discuss the role of Lucie’s affections in helping her father remember his past. Does this present any problems in a contemporary context? How does this help to define Lucie as a character? What does this say about the role of women in Victorian society?

25 comments:

PaulH said...

1st post!

2. Discuss the significance of the name “Jacques.” What do the peasants gain by addressing each other in this way? How did they come to use this term? Discuss any contemporary manifestations of this idea.

In book one of Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens many themes are discussed but a theme is mentioned throughout the book. It is “Jacques” and the ongoing question is what does it mean? “Jacques” is a code name that identifies people in the book as revolutionaries. Referring back to real history during the French Revolution, the “Jacques” whom Charles Dickens drew from is the Jacobins, an actual French revolutionary group during the French Revolutionary War. A “revolutionary” is someone who opposes the current government and participates in a revolution against that government. In the book, the “Jacques” s only know “Jacques” as a code word meaning that you are a revolutionary, but if you aren’t a revolutionary, it just sounds like a common name. When the peasants address each other in this way they are really talking in code about what the revolutionaries are really planning to do next. As said above this term came into use because in the real French Revolution, there was a group called the Jacobins that were known as left-wing extremists. Some of the contemporary manifestations of this idea include a Revolutionary Communist Group (UK), and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). Both of these groups are examples of more focused and specific examples of groups that oppose certain problems/things in history its self.
So in the end the word “Jacques” has a much larger meaning than it appears to have. This is just one of the many examples of Charles Dickens incorporating all of these interesting facts and ideas throughout his book.

celliott28 said...

Chapter 5: The Wine-Shop
1. How does this chapter foreshadow the coming revolution? Look beyond the obvious answer that equates the wine with blood. What does the single-mindedness of the crowd mean in this context? What of the desolate conditions that they live in?

In chapter five book one of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, win spills on the streets of Paris. Immediately the impoverished people in the streets began drinking the wine from their hands or soaking the wine in their hats and clothes then drinking it. These people rejoiced and laughed on the street while scavenging any wine they had. Dickens explained a tall joker, "so besmirched, his head more out of a long squalid bag of a nightcap than in it, scrawled upon a wall with his finger dipped in muddy wine-less-Blood" (37-8). Dickens purposely referring to the wine has blood foreshadows what could come to these streets in Pairs, but the people might not be as joyful.

celliott28 said...

In response to PaulH Dickens was cleaver incorporating "Jacques" into the story, and without actually saying they were revolutionary group he left hints like Monsieur Defarge's wife never seeing anything. I fully agree with Paul and that Dickens' does have all sorts of ways to incorporate facts and small reverences to into his book

John Gehlbach said...

1. How does this chapter foreshadow the coming revolution? Look beyond the obvious answer that equates the wine with blood. What does the single-mindedness of the crowd mean in this context? What of the desolate conditions that they live in?

In A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, the impending French Revolution is felt throughout the story. Many different scenes foreshadow the radical change that will engulf France. One example is the spilt of the wine cask at the start of chapter five. First of all, the wine incident demonstrates the desperation of the French people, and foreshadows their willingness to act. The people of France are oppressed and starving, the singular way they flock to the wine reveals this.
“It lay on the stones just outside the door of the wine shop, shattered like a walnut shell. All the people within reach had suspended their business, or their idleness, to run to the spot and drink the wine. Others, directed by lookers-on up at high windows, darted here and there, to cut off little streams of wine that started away in new directions ” (36). There is a single-mindedness of desperation as all the people run to lick the muddy wine off the streets. The unanimous gathering of the oppressed people also foreshadows the widespread ranks of the coming revolution. The vast majority of people, living in unimaginable and impoverished conditions, will band together to achieve a common goal.
Moreover, the method in which the situation quickly revolves back to despair foreshadows the Reign of Terror. During the drinking of the wine, almost all the people rejoiced. After, a sense of hopeless continued to dominate the streets. “Men with cadaverous faces, who had emerged into the winter light from cellars, moved away, to descend again; and a gloom gathered on the scene that appeared more natural to it then sunlight” (37). The forlorn streets of France resume, as the wine celebration ceases. This foreshadows the Reign of Terror, a period of immense turmoil and violent retribution. The way in which the situation returned to an overall sense of despair coincides with the French Revolution, as the Reign of Terror followed the liberation of the people.

Response to celliot28:
I also wonder what Dickens’ was hinting at when he wrote that the people rejoiced when drinking the wine. Was it simply to point out how starving they were? Was it to show that drinking muddy wine off the streets was a momentous event for the people of France. Or, was Dickens’ continuing the foreshadowing of the French Revolution. I agree that the overall mood of the revolution will not be completely celebratory, as there will be blood.

Philip Caffry said...

2. Discuss the role of Lucie’s affections in helping her father remember his past. Does this present any problems in a contemporary context? How does this help to define Lucie as a character? What does this say about the role of women in Victorian society?

Lucie helps her father remember his past by her being the closest thing to the person that he new the best, his wife. Lucie looks like her mother so her dad, who can hardly remember anything, sees the resemblance between her and her mother. Her mother who is now, dead, had the same golden hair that Lucie has now, and her father obviously was very close to his wife because it seems that he remembers that hair very well. He even has some of it with him wrapped up in a rag around his neck. He pulls out this hair and compares it, it looks identical. Her affections help him by also being the closest thing to her mom that he has seen for the past 18 years and by caring for him, jogs some part in his memory that has long been pushed aside. This does present some conflicts though, since she looks like her mother he thinks that she is her mother. So he would want to have a relationship with her that she most likely doesn’t want to have with him seeing that he is her father. This helps define Lucie’s character as a beacon of light. Figuratively, all that her father can see in the dark, but suddenly Lucie appears and it’s like a light has turned on, one solo light and thus a beacon of light in the dark. This says that the women in Victorian society are very meaningful to their husbands so much so that they are remembered even though it as bee 18 years of doing nothing.

Paul, you did well in including some outside research in you paper, good job!

Natalia said...

2. Discuss the role of Lucie’s affections in helping her father remember his past. Does this present any problems in a contemporary context? How does this help to define Lucie as a character? What does this say about the role of women in Victorian society?
In Chapter 6 of the book A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, we find Dr. Manette, a shoemaker who refers to himself as “One Hundred and Five North Tower”, in the basement of Madame and Monsieur Defarge’s Wine Shop. A girl named Lucie is visiting Dr. Manette, who turns out to be Lucie’s father. She doesn’t know he is alive, and is scared out of her wits when she hears about his condition.
For Lucie the basement with bars and a locked door is a peculiar and scary place to find someone of your own blood. Dr. Manette had been in prison for 18 years -- so for him this dark enclosed space is a normal environment. He is conscience of natural light but doesn’t welcome it, preferring the dark. Lucie finds at first that she is scared to go near her father and so she hangs back. But soon Lucie moves closer to her dad without speaking a word. This could be based on the belief reflected in the saying “women should be seen, not heard.” So “She stood, like a spirit, beside him, and he bent over his work” (51). Lucie’s father speaks uncertainly “You are not the gaoler’s daughter?” (51) Lucie is stunned that her father does not recognize her.
Lucie’s father realizes Lucie has a connection to him through her golden hair. “He took her hair into his hand again, and looked closely at it. “It is the same. How can it be! When was it! How was it!” (52) Lucie’s father may mistake Lucie for her mother because of her golden hair and her voice. Lucie’s gentle manner towards her father helps him remember he was once married. Her father doesn’t seem to realize Lucie is his daughter.
Lucie is a charming young girl who listens before she speaks. She is very fragile both physically and emotionally. She is willing to play the part of her mother, but in an emotional sense not a physical sense. “She held him closer around the neck and rocked him on her breast like a child” (53). Lucie caring for her dad could bring back her dad’s memories of his wife. Women in Victorian times seemed to have the role of nurturing their husband and children. In the case of Lucie the child playing the part of the remembered mother might seem strange to us today but it was an unusual circumstance.

Natalia said...

Phil- I agree Lucie is close to her father and is assumed to be his wife. I like how you also used the concept of Lucie being a beacon of light in your essay. Good job recapturing certain parts of "A Tale of Two Cities" and their meaning.

DavidD. said...
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DavidD. said...
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DavidD. said...

Chapter 5: The Wine-Shop
1. How does this chapter foreshadow the coming revolution? Look beyond the obvious answer that equates the wine with blood. What does the single-mindedness of the crowd mean in this context? What of the desolate conditions that they live in?




This chapter shows that the revolution will not end peacefully or with civil means. This symbolism becomes somewhat amusing because in an ironic twist within the plot the symbolism from the wine suggests that the peasants will revolt against the tyrants, the people who refuse to help them, the aristocrats, and all of the people who treated them violently and cruelty with very similar cruelty and violence to the people who were the first to give it. “It stained the hands and naked feet” (37) shows that many poor people will be involved in this bloody revolt. “And the forehead of a woman who was nursing her baby was stained.” (37) Suggests that everyone will be involved in the revolution, and must have been affected by the poor treatment.

The single mindedness of the crowd shows the desperate actions taken to survive and the horrible conditions as well as an emphasis to the previous statements of hopelessness and the death grip from fate that the author feels like the peasants have. The fact that they were willing to drink wine off the streets, which were probably incredibly dirty, shows how desperate they are to survive. The conditions of the peasants act like some sort of a foil to the huge success and luxury of higher classes and the wealth that they own, despite the horrible conditions that the average peasant faces. The fact that they all go back to the normal and average tasks that they were performing like sawing wood or some other chore makes the mood of drinking the wine off of the dirty streets seem somewhat awkward for the reader.


Celliot I think that your post may need to be a bit longer, but I like how you mentioned the fact about people laughing because of the wine and how it related with the dark revolution.

Sydney S. said...

How does this chapter foreshadow the coming revolution? Look beyond the obvious answer that equates the wine with blood. What does the single-mindedness of the crowd mean in this context? What of the desolate conditions that they live in?

The Tail Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens foreshadows the coming revolution in many ways. There are multiple times that it is foreshadows how this revolution will affect France. One of them being when the wine cask breaks. It demonstrates how desperate the people are when they are drinking wine off the streets of Paris. They were soaking their clothing with it and staining there faces bright red. They were so desperate, that having the chance to drink wine off a dirty street made them rejoice with happiness. They had no hope for anything good so when the cask broke it brought everyone together with joy. The single-mindedness of this crowed shows the poverty they were living in and their desperation for anything to eat or drink. The conditions they were living in often left them without water. This was an opportunity to put something in their stomachs and it brought all the people together to reach for their common goal only to leave them hopeless once again after all the wine was gone and the streets were empty.

Response to John:
You used great vocabulary in your answer; I also thought you also did a great job describing their desperation.

CharlotteCadow said...
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CharlotteCadow said...

Chapter 6 – Question 1
Once, Dr. Manette was a well-known doctor. However, after the time he spent in prison, he is a significantly changed man. Dr. Manette no longer practices medicine, and likely does not remember how to. While speaking of him time in jail, he says “I asked leave to teach myself, and I got it with much difficulty after a long while, and I have made shoes ever since.”(50). Now, shoemaking is the only thing he is sure of. Along with losing the knowledge of his profession, Dr. Manette has forgotten his family, his friends, his personality, and even his name. His jail time changed his identity.

Mr. Lorry and Mr. Defarge knew Dr. Manette for some time before Dr. Manette was sent to the debtor’s prison. But, when Mr. Lorry inquires, “do you remember nothing of this man? Look at him. Look at me. Is there no old banker, no old business, no old service, no old time rising in your mind?” (50), Dr. Manette is unresponsive to his questions. Then, Dr. Manette’s daughter, who he hasn’t seen since she was a toddler, but who is very similar in looks to her mother, tries to help him and talk to him. She makes gestures to show him she cares about him, but he replies, “You are not the gaoler’s daughter?” (51), and when she answers “no,” he says, “Who are you?” (51). He no longer recognizes anything from his old life.

“One Hundred and Five, North Tower” (49), that is where Dr. Manette’s cell was located while he was imprisoned. Now, it is what he calls himself. He has become this person who is almost part of the jail. When Lucie, Mr. Lorry, and Mr. Defarge initially enter his room, Dr. Manette speaks to them with an inhuman voice. “So entirely had it lost the senses like a once beautiful colour faded away into a poor, weak, stain. So sunken and suppressed it was, that it was like a voice underground” (47). Dr. Manette has become the jail he was held in, and so he has lost all similarity to the man he once was.

CharlotteCadow said...

Natalia
I liked the points you made about Lucie's treatment of her father. My favorite part of your essay was how well your conclusion wrapped up your point, and tied it all together.

Alexis Williams said...

Chapter 4: The Preparation
2. Write an essay discussing the way Lucie Manette is portrayed as a woman in this chapter. What problems arise from this depiction? Is this a mere reflection of Victorian ideals, or is it relevant to today’s times?

Society’s perception of women has considerably changed over the years. Our notions on the “ideal” woman have evolved. Today, women are welcome to embrace their true selves. The classic blonde hair, blue eyed, skinny, Barbie girl has finally stepped aside and let diverse women shine. Unfortunately, it wasn’t always like this. Even in Victorian times, beautiful women were considered to be young, blond, petite, innocent, gentle, kind, nurturing and have sparkling blue eyes. Dickens shows this by introducing the reader to Lucie Manette in chapter 4 page 29. Mr. Lorry spies her from across the room through the mist of the candlelight. “A young lady of not more than seventeen, in a riding-cloak, and still holding her straw travelling-hat by its ribbon in her hand. As his eyes rested on a short, slight, pretty figure, a quantity of golden hair, a pair of blue eye that met his own with an inquiring look…”(29). We see how Lucie fits all of the requirements to be the ideal Victorian woman. She is around seventeen years old, which is the age most girls would marry and start a family. Her riding coat and straw hat shows her independence and ability to overcome the dangers of the outside world. The ribbon displays her girlish innocence that was desired in young women. She is petite and has a beautiful mane of golden hair. The word golden is important because it signifies much more than the simple word “blonde”. Gold is associated with wealth, beauty and aristocracy, all of which Lucie may not necessarily have, but she has the air of fitting into the upper class. This is problematic due to others believing she is of higher social class. They can’t resist her beauty and innocence so they therefore feel protective over her. In this case a “wild-looking woman” (35) shoves Mr. Lorry away from Lucie and proceeds to care for her, believing that he purposefully make her feel ill and distraught (after she discovered the news about her father). Dickens also does a clever job of connecting Lucie to light. In this scene, it is the gentle candlelight and fire. “Having got past the two tall candles, he saw, standing to receive him by the table between them and the fire, a young lady…”(29). This shows how Lucie is equivalent to a beacon of light. She is the beautiful shinning star in a world of darkness.

Alexis Williams said...

In response to Natalia's comment:

I completely agree. Lucie is a strong character for willing to play the part of her mother to comfort her father. I like how you connected this to the thought of Victorian women being nurturing toward their husbands. Very well put!

Lizzie Weindling said...

Chapter 5: The Wine-Shop (question #1)

Chapter five in the Tale of Two Cities uses foreshadowing in many ways to inform the reader of the coming revolution. One of the evident foreshadows of the revolution is when the wine spills. It not only represents blood, but also shows the desperateness people were living in, a single-mindedness. "Others, men and women, dipped in the puddles with the little mugs of mutilated earthenware, or even with handkerchiefs from women's heads, which were squeezed dry into infants' mouths," (36-37) this shows the intensity of the hunger; people were willing to stop everything they were doing for just a little sip of wine that was mixed with the dirt from the road. The red wine also foreshadows how the revolution will affect everyone and how people will suffer, "The wine was red wine, and had stained the ground of the narrow street..." (37). The unhappiness of the people weren't just from hunger, they were living in dangerous times and of poverty. The streets were narrow and filled with "all people by rags and nightcaps, and all smelling of rags and nightcaps..." (38).
The coming revolution is foreshadowed primarily foreshadowed in chapter 5 by the desperation of the people, the spilt wine, and the poverty. When people are suffering from starvation, a time will come when they will have to demand food, and make their rulers give it to them, willingly or forcefully. It also will come a time when the "uncontrollable and hopeless mass of decomposition so engendered, would have polluted the air," (43) will no longer be livable, and the inhabitants will have to make their home on new land, which probably would not be willing given to them. Each of these examples shows how the revolution is looming ahead, and soon the people will join together and fight to receive what they need.

Lizzie Weindling said...

John- I really like the quotes you choose and how you explained them! I also thought it was great that you tied in the Reign of Terror to the foreshadowing in the book.

andrew said...

2. Discuss the significance of the name “Jacques.” What do the peasants gain by addressing each other in this way? How did they come to use this term? Discuss any contemporary manifestations of this idea.

The revolutionaries in Defarge's wineshop all address eachother and defarge by Jacques. This is the name the revolutionaries call eachother by so that the government cannot find out who they are talking to or what they are really talking about. It is a code they speak. It gives the peasants anonymity and shows that they are part of the cause without saying anything that could damn them later (such as names). Jacques helped the peasants because it was a really common name and if you werent in the know with the revolution, you wouldnt think anything of people calling each other by that name.

John,i like the way you see the wine spilled and how the people act as a few interpretaions of foreshadowing of the revolution to come, nice work

Catherine C. said...

How does this chapter foreshadow the coming revolution? Look beyond the obvious answer that equates the wine with blood. What does the single-mindedness of the crowd mean in this context? What of the desolate conditions that they live in?

The wine spilled in the street isn't a symbol for just any old blood, it's specifically a symbol for the blood of the aristocracy, and a great example of foreshadowing for not just the coming revolution, but the aftermath: the Reign of Terror. The wine is a metaphor for the bloodlust that was raging at the time in England and France, when a public hanging was the commoner's version of going to the opera. The scene with the wine, while not as grotesque as an execution, had the same grimly cheerful desperation. the townspeople flocking around the cask like hyenas to a picked over carcass; they rejoiced in it, sponging up every last drop of the dirty wine, disregarding the impurity of the drink and instead celebrating over the fact that it was there, and that unlike everything else in their life, there was enough of it to go around. And just like the sweet taste of revenge, the wine lightened spirits, creating a tiny ray of hope and fraternity in a country filled with resentments and discord. "There was a special companionship in it... which led... to frolicsome embraces, drinking of healths, shaking of hands, and even joining of hands and dancing, a dozen together" (37). The wine was a uniting force, but also a depressing portrait of the bleak, savage, desolate way of life the people of France were stuck in. Imagine being so desperate that one resorts to drinking wine out of the filthy streets of Paris. Foraging in trash piles seemed base enough, but it's almost even sadder to partake in and witness a scene such as this in company rather than on your own. Today, we would be saddened knowing that there are others living in the same horrible conditions as us, but the mob mentality combined with a deep hatred for the aristocracy in those times translates into sheer schadenfreude, an insatiable bloodlust that will not be quenched until the upperclass has experienced the same depraved treatment the masses could not escape at the hands of the aristocracy.

Response to Paul's post:
I applaud you in the interest and involvement you have, it's easy to see that you did some extra research on your question in order to fully understand it. However, I don't think you did. I think you took the question quite literally. Yes, it's important to know that Jaques is in fact a code word used to identify revolutionaries, but why "Jaques"? I think "Jaques" was used not only for anonymity, but as a unifying keyword, a little beacon of hope. Ever since there have been rebels, there have been rebel symbols used to identify themselves within the community. From the fish painted on the doors of those in Biblical times to the bumper stickers we put on our cars today, symbols like the pseudonym "Jaques" has helped us identify our allies and give us a sense of pride and importance in an age where we may not feel as much.

olivialicciardi said...

the significance of the name jacques is that its a code name to identify revolutionaries. Monsieur Defarge uses that name quite a lot through out the chapter. peasants gain a sense of secrecy, so that no one knows what they are talking about, and that only other peasants or people who know use the word so that is why they use jacques. the use of the term jaqcues is that it was a peasant name, so they decided to use it as a code word for revolutionaries. that is my view on it. i totally agree with Catherine that Paul took the question too literally but he still did a great job answering the same question that i did.

EmilyA said...

In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, the author uses foreshadowing to show how France will be greatly affected by the upcoming revolution. One example is the wine cask spilling in the street. All the people started running to the wine, where they licked it off the ground, filled dirty rags with it, and drank from their hands. This shows the extreme desperation of the French people leading up to the French Revolution.
In this context, the crowd's single-mindedness is confirmation that everyone is starving and struggling to stay alive. The huge crowd of people that forms in the street foreshadows that they are willing to fight for the Revolution, and become one in order to achieve their goal, of becoming a better country. When all the people are drinking wine they are happy and rejoice. However, as soon as the wine is gone the streets went back to being empty and sorrowful. "a gloom gathered on the scene that appeared more natural to it than sunlight" (37).

In response to Charlotte:
I think it is sad that Dr. Manette has gone through so many changes in his life. I wonder if he will ever have his old life back? Your concluding sentence was very powerful and tied the whole essay together well.

Kelly G said...

The peasants huddled around the cask of wine that shattered on the street was a very vivid image of their poverty and their blood-lust. They craved the blood of the aristocracy in a primitive, animal-like way. This driving, unifying desire played into the herd mentality. When many people are together, they tend to be influenced by their peers and are much more likely to do something they wouldn't normally do if they were alone. Herd mentality is a huge component of the French revolution– and of any revolution, really. The peasants are not only unified by their hatred for the aristocracy and their poverty, but they are also all unified by the wine smeared on their faces, hands, and feet. The latter being a much more visible unification. Dickens, by creating this scene for the foreshadowing of the revolution, illustrates the peasants' strong urge to function together, as a single unit. This will become a valuable weapon for the rest of the revolution.
Response to Catherine's post:
I completely agree that the peasant's blood-lust is portrayed by their intense desire to soak up all the wine on the street. I thought it was interesting how you said that, unlike everything else in the peasants' lives, there was enough of the wine to go around. I hadn't thought of that before, and I think it is an interesting point to consider.

Nick said...

In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, the setting takes place amidst the French-English Revolution in the 18th century. In Chapter Five: The Wine Shop, Dickens brings in some historical clues of the era. Monsieur DeFarge talks to three other men in his shop, where he refers to each one as “Jacques” as it is reciprocated from the men to Monsieur DeFarge. The reason Dickens uses this context is because during this time period, all revolutionaries referred to one another as “Jacques” so that it would be seen to others outside of the revolutionaries as a common name, while the men included would be able to communicate to each other without concern of being apprehended for treason. It was a clever way for Dickens to show that these men were revolutionaries without being obvious in his descriptions or dialogue. It also shows a sneak peak at a possible plot development for the chapters ahead. It would make sense of Dickens doing this so that when he was selling these chapters, there would be a sense of foreshadowing and a nice cliffhanger, compelling his readers to purchase the next issue to find out where this story would go.
Response to Kelly’s post: I thought you made a very good point on the “herd mentality”, where I hadn’t thought of the scene in that way. I think that this mentality reoccurs throughout the rest of the book as well.

Billy D said...

1. How does this chapter foreshadow the coming revolution? Look beyond the obvious answer that equates the wine with blood. What does the single-mindedness of the crowd mean in this context? What of the desolate conditions that they live in?

The desolate conditions of the people drive them to strike at any chance of profit. Even if that profit is only a meager sip of muddy wine. Their commutative desolation provides a mutual feeling between the people and makes them into a “single minded mob”. They celebrate together with an uncanny organization that foreshadows a more sinister outcome next time. If a minor event such as the spilling of wine in the streets can bring the people out in a semi organized way then a threat to their wellbeing or a more targeted motivation would inspire a more destructive outcome.

Response to David I am curious how you derived the target of the mob from the text of if you inserted your own knowledge into your response.