It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
Charles Dickens, from A Tale of Two Cities
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“My name,” he said, “is Jaggers, and I am a lawyer in London. . . . I have unusual business to transact with you, and I commence by explaining that it is not of my originating. . . .”
Finding that he could not see us very well from where he sat, he got up, and threw one leg over the back of a chair and leaned upon it; thus having one foot on the seat of the chair, and one foot on the ground.
“Now, Joseph Gargery, I am the bearer of an offer to relieve you of this young fellow your apprentice. You would not object to cancel his indentures at his request and for his good? You would want nothing for so doing?”
“Lord forbid that I should want anything for not standing in Pip’s way,” said Joe, staring.
“Lord forbidding is pious, but not to the purpose,” returned Mr. Jaggers. “The question is, Would you want anything? Do you want anything?”
“The answer is,” returned Joe, sternly, “No.”
I thought Mr. Jaggers glanced at Joe, as if he considered him a fool for his disinterestedness. But I was too much bewildered between breathless curiosity and surprise, to be sure of it.
“Very well,” said Mr. Jaggers. “Recollect the admission you have made, and don’t try to go from it presently.”
“Who’s a going to try?” retorted Joe. . . .
“Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has Great Expectations.”
~Charles Dickens, from Great Expectations
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This past week, Literary Life has been featuring chapter three of On Reading Well by Karen Swallow Prior. It’s the chapter entitled “Justice,” and the book featured by Prior to illustrate the idea is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
Continue reading “Justice, Order, and Mob Rule: A Tale of Two Cities”