A Tale of Two Cities Essay

620 Words 3 Pages
In his novel, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens explores the complex nature of mob mentality. He analyzes the build in momentum from a group of individuals to one single body. In order for this being to function, Dickens illustrates how the person loses his individuality to the crowd. He also shows how people get swept into the mob and commit crimes when under the crowd’s influence. This mental transformation parallels the change from mob to monster and the change from order to disorder. By giving the crowd animal characteristics, Dickens defines how this feral beast acts. These actions depict the growing chaos within the mob and its fickle behavior. The crowd is not so wild that it is uncontrollable as certain self appointed leaders …show more content…
Dickens weaves his first description of a large scale crowd that nearly tears a small English town apart at the funeral procession of a spy. Jerry Cruncher, an odd job man, finds an informant “[a]t length,” who knows the spy’s identity (Dickens 161). Dickens employs the phrase “[a]t length” to show how the people are ignorant to specifics due to the enticing riot. The informant later suggests that the crowd remove the coffin, and the idea spreads in an “acceptable” environment (Dickens 161). Due to the mob’s “eagerness[,]” the people agree according the similar mindset (Dickens 161). This rapid agreement throughout the growing numbers signifies a change from a group to one “tigerish” creature (Dickens 32). It is as if ideas instantly travel like nerve impulses in a complex organism. The horde of people then rips the only mourner from the carriage and destroys his dropped articles. As the crowd moves down the streets, other people notice and become afraid of the “monster much dreaded” (Dickens 162). Dickens evidently states that the mob is a feared creature instead of a cluster of individuals. When the undertakers try to appease the crowd, they are silenced as their “protest was faint and brief” (Dickens 162). Due to overwhelming power and unity, Dickens demonstrates that the monster cannot abate in the face of reason. He then names this creature by mentioning a

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