Tale of two cities  the per

Words: 201-300

Skills: Context Clues Figurative Language Theme

Grades: 9th 10th 11th 12th

Topics: Adventure / Thriller and Historical Fiction

Genres: Prose

Lexile Range: 1300L +

Lexile Measure: 1570L

CCSS: Reading: Literature

Themes:

The Period


by Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities

Book the First, Chapter I Passage: Charles Dickens wrote "A Tale of Two Cities" which was published in 1859. The novel takes place in Paris and London before and during the French Revolution. Students will read the opening paragraphs of the book and answer questions on the theme and word choices.

Reading Comprehension Passage

The Period

by Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities
Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities which was published in 1859. The novel takes place in Paris and London before and during the French Revolution. Through the actions of the characters, Dickens compares the social and political situations of the two cities. Below are the opening paragraphs of the book. He describes the opening time period of the book which is 1775.

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 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—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There was a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever.


Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

1. Dickens starts the novel with a series of seeming contradictions, e.g. “it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” How do you think the time can be both?    



2. In the passage the author states “the period was so far like the present period.” He sees the time of the opening of the book (1775) is the same as his own time (1859). State a similarity you see between 1775 and today.   



 3. What does "increduity" mean in the phrase "it was the epoch of incredulity"? Use the context and structure of the opening lines to help you find an answer.    



4. Using the same contradictory structure as Dickens, write two pairs of contrasting descriptions of life today.