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In this closing chapter of the novel, when finally the fragility of female innocence collides with the horror and mechanics of the revolution, Dickens actually draws a crucial separation between the two concepts. United in love, the protagonists fall away from the physical world – the guillotine a machine which by designs cuts people in two: ‘The two stand in the fast thinning throng of victims, but they speak as if they were alone’. In this final point of the novel – the characters break free from their context. In fact, Dickens uses different paragraphs to describe the human moments and the fall of the tumbril blade as though the outside influences have no control over the characters. ‘Eye to eye, voice to voice, hand to hand, heart to heart,’ where the novel has been an exploration of pairs of opposites, the best of times, and the worst of times, it champions as it denouement pairs of equals and connection rather than argument. The passage unites two concepts into one, so ‘The two stand’ become in transformation ‘they speak’. Though they are ‘two children’, they are born of one ‘Universal Mother’, and though ‘so wide apart’ they have ‘come together’. What is important here, is that Dickens has chosen to create a different literary effect at the end of his novel from that outlined in the title, by a confrontation of equals rather than opposites. It may show that the collision of brutality and compassion work to create shock and suspense during reading but it is with one motivation that a reader continues through these moments and that is to reach a fitting harmony.


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