People often say that mankind should learn from history. Charles Dickens, whose books are considered classics, set his novel A Tale of Two Cities in the past. He wanted his readers to learn from the bloody French Revolution and from the widespread brutality in London. Both cities (Paris and London) offer the reader a glimpse into dark and dangerous times. As students read about Dickens's Victorian setting and learn his view of the French Revolution, they will think about what makes a just world. Students will have a chance to think about their own experiences, and, using techniques they have learned from Charles Dickens, they will do some writing that sends a message about your own world.


To complete the unit accomplishments, students will:

  1. Read the Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities.
  2. Read several short pieces, including a biography of Dickens and excerpts from other literature, to help them understand Dickens’s world and the world of the novel.
  3. Explore new vocabulary to build their ability to write and speak using academic language.
  4. Practice close reading and participate in several role plays and dramatic readings to help them experience the dramatic writing style of Charles Dickens.
  5. Write a vignette and a short narrative piece, and practice using descriptive detail and precise language.
  6. Write a reflection about the meaning of Dickens’s novel.


These questions are a guide to stimulate thinking, discussion, and writing on the themes and ideas in the unit. For complete and thoughtful answers and for meaningful discussions, students must use evidence based on careful reading of the texts.

  1. How does good storytelling affect the reader, and how can a good story promote change in the world?
  2. What was the Victorian view of gender roles?
  3. How can power be abused?
  4. What is loyalty ? What are the limits of loyalty?
English Language Arts, Reading Literature, Speaking and Listening
High School
  • Dickens
  • French Revolution
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Literature
    Unit 4 Revolution