Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in a Tale of Two Cities

By Katie Good, Westside Christian Academy Student, Grade 9


Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities in 1859. This excellent story of a family struggling to stay together during the giant turmoil of the French Revolutionary season is a literary masterpiece featuring a complex plot, creatively incorporated literary devices, and a heartwarming romance. Although there are distortions of Biblical concepts in this book, there are also various elements of truth, goodness, and beauty displayed.

Truth is displayed in this novel as man’s endless search for resurrection. For instance, in chapter 6 of book 1, The theme is “recalled to life,” (53). We see this over and over again in Jerry Cruncher’s occupation of grave digging, Dr. Manette’s resurrection to humanity, Darnay’s return from prison, and other places. In scripture, our resurrection takes on a spiritual form. Galatians 2:20 states, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” As Christians we have died to ourselves and are resurrected as alive to Christ’s will alone.

An example of goodness is Sydney Carton’s sacrifice for Lucie. On page 159 he dramatically reveals his hopeless love for Lucie, saying, “Think now and then that there is a man who would give his life to keep a life you love beside you.” The ending of the novel supplies him with ample opportunity to fulfill this promise. Biblically, Carton could be considered as a Christ figure. In conquering death, Christ sacrificed infinite comforts for the lives of countless people, obtaining a far more lasting prize. One of the numerous verses regarding sacrifice is John 15:13, which says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Lucie Manette exemplifies a form of pure beauty. Described as “the golden thread which bound her husband, and her father, and herself, and her old directress and companion, in a life of quiet bliss” (218), her inward beauty displays itself in her talent for making the lives of those around her as happy and bright as she is. In the Bible, we are told in Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Lucie’s outward gorgeousness is overshadowed by the beauty of her selflessness.

We are told in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things.” Finding the truth, goodness, and beauty in life is a meritorious mental exercise that will stretch the mind in new ways. Let us be continually renewing our minds with the Word of God, our best source of beauty, goodness, and truth.

This article was originally published in our Excelsior! monthly newsletter.

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