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June 22, 2024
Book Reviews

One book, two selves — rereading The Story of Two Cities

Many years have passed. In the third day of junior high school, I broke through a reading barrier. As a child with a literary dream, I suddenly found that I could read novels quickly one night. Within a week, I finished reading eight works from Britain, France and the United States. In addition to Dickens, I felt the power of Hardy, learned Balzac’s humor, and sincerely admired Hemingway’s tough spirit. In those days, I forgot the questions in my heart and didn’t care about the meaning of literature anymore. I just read one book after another. Perhaps reading itself is a journey. You just need to open your heart and feel the joys and sorrows of life under the night light, following the author’s pen tip. This trip does not require travel expenses, and it is also free from the shackles of time. You can jump from Scotland in the 19th century to America in the 20th century. Everything is so simple.

In my crazy reading, I went through the high school days when my grades were still not ideal, and embarked on the long road of studying in the UK. When the plane skimmed over London, I was excited to see the Thames at my feet.

During the three years of college life in Britain, I was associated with sociology. I began to master more and more information and became interested in history. On that island, I began to think about why China, which is far ahead of the world, suddenly sank? I followed the path of culture and system until I finally found the answer. The answer is complex, but one thing is certain that China, when it was going to decline, has actually deviated from its original pluralistic and free nature in culture, and has gone to an extreme of arrogance and complacency. That’s not Chinese culture, it’s just the deformed state of Chinese culture.

And the rise of Britain has its profound connotation.

In a world that has evolved from feudal relations of production to capitalist relations of production, mature class will is the prerequisite for the smooth transition of society. Relying on the market, we must have a healthy market. Relying on public opinion, we must have a healthy public opinion. The controversial British “Protector” Cromwell paved the way for such conditions, which led to the constitutional monarchy that still thrived after the restoration. In contrast, France does not have such conditions. This country has encountered an embarrassing situation. Feudalism went to extremes, and capitalism could not be relied on. Revolution is inevitable, but after the revolution, there is indeed chaos. Thus, the constitutional faction was attacked by the Gironde, and the Gironde was overthrown by the Jacobin faction. In the end, the strong and powerful Napoleon monopolized the regime and continued to move forward along the path that Cromwell had once walked.

The original honest and kind-hearted good people in “A Tale of Two Cities”, driven by their immature class will, have become psychopathic bastards. A revolution against oppression eventually evolved into killing regardless of right or wrong. Three and a half years after graduation, I sat at my desk and reread this masterpiece. What I felt was the entanglement and helplessness of an era. When Mr. Carton pleaded guilty for friendship and stepped on the guillotine, the beauty of human nature itself had already surpassed the right and wrong of history. I was elated to recount my experience of rereading this famous book, and got a favorable look.

I read “A Tale of Two Cities” more than ten years ago. I was furtive and furtive. At that time, I didn’t know what literature was, but only knew that it was interesting. Today, more than ten years later, the same person, when reading the same book, feels the shock of an era. Perhaps, literature itself will not expose her purpose to anyone, because her soul, including the whole universe, and the readers have completed their all-round improvement while intoxicated with the unique beauty.

A love connects the two me in front of the same book. As Gorky said, reading a good book is like talking with a noble person. With the growth of age and the enrichment of knowledge, the old man who lived in the Victorian era clearly told me different things.

The previous time he said that literature records life.

This time he said that life is literature.


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