Dickens frequently uses literary devices and terms throughout his novel, A Tale of Two Cities to express his attitude toward certain subjects that can be paralleled to real events in history. “The Wine-Shop” passage from Book I of this novel includes particularly detailed examples the revelation of Dickens’ attitude and intended tone.
To summarize, “The Wine-Shop” passage is a scene in which a large wine cask spills all over the streets of the poor French city, Saint Antoine. Everyone present rushes to gather the wine for themselves and their loved ones. These peasants attack the wine and almost make a game out of it.Dickens has a sympathetic attitude toward these needy people. He feels sorry for them because they are destitute. However, he does foreshadow to the events of the Revolution in which these people are destructive and cruel to the aristocrats. When these later events occur, I think Dickens feels that these people are acting very harshly even though they have suffered tremendously.In the Wine-Shop scene, Dickens makes use of simile to express his attitude toward the situation. “The accident has happened in getting it out of a cart; the cask had tumbled out with a run, the hoops had burst, and it lay on the stones just outside the door of the wine-shop, shattered like a walnut-shell (Dickens 27). The use of this simile describes how violently the cask tore open, foreshadowing to the tremendous spill of the wine itself. Dickens also uses juxtaposition to explain the wine gathering done by the peasants. “A shrill sound of laughter and of amused voices-voices of men, women, and children-resounded in the street while this wine game lasted…When the wine was gone, and the places where it had been most abundant were raked into a gridiron-pattern by fingers, these demonstrations ceased, as suddenly as they had broken out (27-28). As the people are rushing onto the street, they are experiencing a sudden sense of opulence, but this feeling soon subsides. Overall, each of these literary devices shows that Dickens has pity for the peasants.Throughout this entire passage, “wine” is a type of symbolism: a metaphor. The wine spilling over Saint Antoine is representative of blood. The people, who are thirsty for the wine, are actually craving the bloodshed of their enemies, the aristocrats.