Chapter 16: Still Knitting. Ms. Botelho Ms. Janson Mr. Gorman. Core Value: Communication 21 st CLE: Students should apply processes of analysis, evaluation and creation in problem-solving.
“A rumour just lived in the village- had a faint and bare existence there, as its people had- that when the knife struck home, the faces changed, from faces of pride to faces of anger and pain; also, that when that dangling figure was hauled up forty feet above the fountain, they changed again, and bore a cruel look of being avenged, which they would henceforth bear for ever.”
St. Antoine citizens are turning towards a revolution after witnessing the hanging of Gaspard above the fountain, turning their efforts towards avengement.
How did MonsieurDefarge learn this? Who did they meet on their way back into St. Antoine?
This is related to Question 1 on your study guide.
Tomorrow, Madame Defarge will “register” this spy. He is described as follows “Age, about forty years; height, about five feet nine; black hair; complexion dark; generally, rather handsome visage; eyes dark, face thin, long, and sallow; nose aquiline, but not straight, having a peculiar inclination towards the left cheek; expression, therefore, sinister.”
His name… John Barsad!
Question to consider:1) What does Madame Defarge mean by “register” him?2) Where have we met John Barsad before?
Question 5: Who is he spying for?
"It does not take a long time to strike a man with Lightning," said Defarge.
"How long," demanded madame, composedly, "does it take to make and store the lightning? Tell me."
Defarge raised his head thoughtfully, as if there were something in that too.
"It does not take a long time," said madame, "for an earthquake to swallow a town. Eh well! Tell me how long it takes to prepare the earthquake?"
"A long time, I suppose," said Defarge.
"But when it is ready, it takes place, and grinds to pieces everything before it. In the meantime, it is always preparing, though it is not seen or heard. That is your consolation. Keep it.“
Madame Defarge tries to reassure him to have patience, but Defarge says, “you know well, my wife, it possible—that it many not come during our lives.”
Defarge is worried that they will not get to see the Revolution, which they have worked so carefully and hard for, but Madame Defarge says, “It is your weakness that you sometimes need to see your victims and your opportunity to sustain you. Sustain yourself without it.” (Question 4)
One day… I’ll see…
A stranger enters, Madame Defarge pins a rose into her headdress and customers leave the wine shop. “catching site of that novelty, they faltered, made a pretence of looking about as if for some friends who was not there, and went away.” What is the rose all about?
Madame Defarge laughs looking at the stranger “age forty, height about five feet nine, black hair, generally hadnsome visage, complexion dark, eyes dark, thin long and sallow face, aquiline nose but not straight…”
Who does this description describe?
He compliments the Madame Defarge’s knitting pattern. “You think so?” said Madame Defarge, looking at him with a smile. What is the irony?
Barsad tries to get Madame Defarge to show her disloyalty to the aristocracy, provoking her with comments like,“Ah the unfortunate miserable people. So oppressed, too– as you say… A bad business this, madame, of Gaspard’s execution. Ah! The poor Gaspard!”
Madame doesn’t buy into his tactics and plays “the fool,” responding “if people use knives for such purposes, they have to pay for it. He knew beforehand what the price his luxury was, he has paid the price.”
“Good day, Jacques” the spy repeated.“You mistake me for another. That is not my name. I am Earnest Defarge.” Why would Barsad refer to Defarge as Jacques? And why wouldn’t Defarge respond, remember he earlier said to Lorry “show him to men of my name, Jacques is my name.” (Question 2) And Madame Defarge is still… knitting
Barsad tries to get Defarge to admit that there is “much sympathy and anger” about Gaspard’s death. What is Barsad trying to do?
“pick up crumbs he could find, or make, did not allow his baffled state to express sinister face; but, stood with an air of gossiping gallantry.”
Question to Consider:
Do you think there’s any irony in Dicken’s word choice? Remember that the village is starving.
Then, Barsad brings up Dr. Manette and mentions that he knows Lucie, Dr. Manette, and Mr. Lorry. In particular, he happens to know that Lucie is going to be what?
Gaspard reveals that Lucie is to marry the nephew of the Marquis “for whom Gaspard was exalted that height of so many feet” Who is he referring to?Charles Darnay “the present marquis…he is no Marquis there [England]; he is Mr. Charles Darnay
Madame Defarge’s hands knitted steadily by Monsieur Defarge’s “hand was not trustworthy,” showing the effect Barsad’s news about Lucie’s marriage had on him.
Why is Defarge upset about Lucie’s marriage?
What did they promise to do to the entire Evremonde family in the last chapter?
Why doesn’t Madame Defarge react? (Question 3)
Defarge hopes that Destiny will always keep Lucie’s husband out of France if Barsad was telling the truth, but Madame Defarge says, “Destiny will take him where he is to go, and will lead him to the end that is to end him.”
Madame Defarge goes throughout the village as a missionary… “All the women knitted…the mechanical work was a mechanical substitute for eating and drinking”
Darkness closed around, and then came the ringing of church bells and the distant beating of military drums in the Palace of the courtyard, as the women sat knitting, knitting…the voice of Power and Plenty, Freedom, and Life….their very selves were closing in round a structure yet unbuilt, where they were to sit knitting, knitting, counting dropping heads.
What is being foreshadowed?