Extracting from: A TALE OF TWO CITIES

Jerry, left alone in the mist and darkness, dismounted meanwhile, not only to ease his spent horse, but to wipe the mud from his face, and shake the wet out of his hat-brim, which might be capable of holding about half a gallon. After standing with the bridle over his heavily- splashed arm, until the wheels of the mail were no longer within hearing and the night was quite still again, he turned to walk down the hill. “After that there gallop from Temple Bar, old lady, I won’t trust your fore-legs till I get you on the level,” said this hoarse messenger, glancing at his mare. “ ‘Recalled to life.’ That’s a Blazing strange message. Much of that wouldn’t do for you, Jerry! I say, Jerry! You’d be in a Blazing bad way, if recalling to life was to come into fashion, Jerry!”

Although I know what the bold part means, especially in my own language, actually, I am wondering what is the concept if it- the bold part-- that is behind it.


1 Answer 1


I take it that you understand the overt content of what Cruncher says: that he is disturbed by the phrase "recalled to life" and that he would be "in a Blazing bad way" (that is, put in a severely disadvantageous position) if recalling to life became a common event he or practice.

Why he is so disturbed, and why he would be in a Blazing bad way is not explained, and there is no evident explanation in ordinary linguistic use. This is in fact a literary device: Dickens is "planting" Jerry's reaction as something very odd and incomprehensible to pique the reader's interest. The reason for his reaction will become clear later in the novel, but since it is in fact very unusual and has a huge bearing on the novel's entire plot I will not explain it here. It will be much more fun for you to have the same Aha! experience that Dickens' original readers had.

More hints will be dropped in Book the Second, Chapter I; Jerry's concerns will become clear in the same Book, Chapter XIV; and the narrative significance emerges in Book the Third, Chapters VIII and IX.

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