Symbolism & Direction

Symbolism & Direction

Symbolism and Chapter Titles


The titles of the chapters in the novel often have symbolic significance. The titles of Chapters 15 and 16 seem worth noting. They are “Knitting” and “Still Knitting.” Look at the image, and then discuss knitting from the following perspectives.

  • Considered only for its tools and the actions involved in doing it, what does knitting remind you of?
  • How is knitting different from sewing in the way it is done?
  • Does the knitting of the novel seem to be more of an allusion, now that you have seen more of it? How so?

The Wine Shop by Fred Barnard

More Knitting

Work Time

Listen as your teacher or classmates read aloud the final lines of Chapter 16. Then join the class in discussing the following.

  • How does this passage connect to the rest of the chapter?
  • How does Dickens create emphasis on a singular activity in the passage?
  • What is the effect of that emphasis?
  • What “structure” is being foreshadowed at the close of the passage?
  • What is the effect you experience from that foreshadowing ?

More Symbols

Work Time

While the knitting may be the most significant symbol in Chapter 16, there are many other symbols there as well. Thinking about these symbols can help you think about Dickens’s understanding of the Revolutionaries in France. Join a small group as directed and do the following.

  • With your group, list other symbols you find in Chapter 16.
  • As you record each one, write down a quote from the text as evidence, and jot down your ideas about interpretation of the symbol.

Open Notebook

Share the symbols and meanings that you have discovered with the rest of the class.

Your Sympathies


In a Quick Write, take an opportunity to trace and record your own sympathies at this point in the novel.

  • Based on the scenes you have read so far, including the scene with Barsad, do you find yourself rooting for the Revolutionaries?
  • Why or why not?

Open Notebook

Book II, Chapters 18, 19, and 20


Read Book II, Chapters 18 , 19, and 20 of A Tale of Two Cities and annotate for key ideas, personal reactions, questions, and vocabulary.