"A Tale of Two Cities" Discussion Questions

charles dickens

Epics / Getty Images

A Tale of Two Cities is a famous work of Victorian literature by Charles Dickens. The novel tells the story of the years leading up to the French Revolution. The book painted social parallels between the plight of the French peasantry with the lives of Dicken's contemporary London readers. Here are a few questions you can use for study groups or for your next book club meeting.

  • What is important about the title?
  • What are the conflicts in A Tale of Two Cities? What types of conflict (physical, moral, intellectual, or emotional) did you notice in this novel?
  • How does Charles Dickens reveal character in A Tale of Two Cities?
  • What are some themes in the story? How do they relate to the plot and characters?
  • What are some symbols in A Tale of Two Cities? How do they relate to the plot and characters?
  • Are the characters consistent in their actions? Which of the characters are fully developed? How? Why?
  • Do you find the characters likable? Are the characters people you would want to meet?
  • Is war a character in the novel? Why or why not? How do violence and death affect (and shape) the characters? What point was Dickens making with his portrayals of violence? Could he have made the same points without using violence? 
  • What economic points do you think the author was attempting to make? Do you agree with his portrayal of the plight of the poor? 
  • Does the novel end the way you expected? How? Why?
  • What did you think of the opening lines? What do you think they mean? Why have they become so famous? How does this opening prepare the reader for the rest of the novel?
  • What is the central/primary purpose of the story? Is the purpose important or meaningful?
  • What did you think of Dickens' portrayal of France and its culture? Did it seem realistic? What is a sympathetic portrayal?
  • How does Dickens portray the Revolutionaries? Is he sympathetic to their plight? Does he agree with their actions? Why or why not? 
  •  How essential is the setting to the story? Could the story have taken place anywhere else? Why do you think the author chose to set the novel in France?
  • Do you think Dickens was trying to make a political point with this novel? If so, how successful was he at making his point? Do you think social justice was important to the author?
  • What is the role of women in the text? How are mothers represented? What about single/independent women?
  • What elements of this novel appear to diverge from the earlier works of Charles Dickens?
  • Would you recommend this novel to a friend?
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Lombardi, Esther. ""A Tale of Two Cities" Discussion Questions." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/a-tale-of-two-cities-study-questions-741568. Lombardi, Esther. (2021, February 16). "A Tale of Two Cities" Discussion Questions. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/a-tale-of-two-cities-study-questions-741568 Lombardi, Esther. ""A Tale of Two Cities" Discussion Questions." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/a-tale-of-two-cities-study-questions-741568 (accessed June 9, 2023).