Reoccurring Themes


After just finishing The Mystery of Edwin Drood, I have noticed some common themes with A Tale of Two Cities. Two major topics stuck out in my mind between the two readings.

Returning to life
The idea of coming back to life is the most obvious common theme to me. In TMOED, it is unknown if Edwin would have come back into the picture. However, since we presume he is dead, Dickens could have easily entered Edwin back into the picture. In this were to happen, it would be very similar to the situation with Mandette. Everyone, including his daughter, assumed he was dead. But, he renters the picture before Book I is even completed. So, although this common theme cannot be directly proven, it is a definite possibility. However, I can say that this same theme does appear in Our Mutual Friend But, I am not going to go into details. (Don’t want to spoil any plot details, since I accidentally read ahead!)

Distrust among people

From the moment I began A Tale of Two Cities, I immediately recognized the theme of distrust. People suspected everyone of being a criminal and were even afraid to look at someone for too long. Likewise, many people in The Mystery of Edwin Drood are deemed dishonest. But, it is not immediately displayed to us. As TMOED progresses, we begin to suspect more and more people of dishonesty. Unfortunately, not everyone’s sins were brought to light. However, the theme of distrust is obviously prevalent. Our Mutual Friend displays these same plot details. From the beginning, Julius Handford is dishonest and at this point, we don’t even know the full extent of it.


2 responses »

  1. Yes, I think there is a lot of tension coming through in Dickens’ writing concerning suspecting and distrusting others. Even when it is something as banal as the Veneering’s on going attempt to infiltrate the upper classes and keep up appearances. But also with the whole “shadow world” Dickens portrays so well. There are quite a few darker rumblings beneath the social ennui.

  2. I agree that the main theme returning back to life is very evident in both “Tale of Two Cities” and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”. I did not think about the theme of trust. You are right trust is very evident in both stories. Great job.

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