My English class has been continuing on its journey through the novel, A Tale of Two Cities. Last week, girls swooned over the romantic and pitiful Sydney Carton, who has a tough outer shell, but a soft spot for a girl on the inside. However, I can’t help to feel for his loss. It’s one of the things many people sympathize with, losing the love of your life.
In chapter 19, “The Fellow of No Delicacy” shows Sydney Carton in a vulnerable state, crying and pouring out his insecurities on Lucie Manette, the love of his life. Before, he was shown as a drunkard that had no care in the world, even finding no interest in Lucie’s beauty. Stryver speaks about the pretty witness that Carton was surprised to find out Stryver meant Lucie Manette. He even says, “I pledge you, but I deny the beauty.” It was a fresh reaction from the many men chasing after her.
But here he is in her house, proclaiming his love. However, he has absolutely no self confidence and deems himself forever amounting to nothing. He says,
“If it had been possible, Miss Manette, that you could have returned the love of the man you see before yourself–flung away, wasted, drunken, poor creature of misuse as you know him to be–he would have been conscious this day and hour, in spite of his happiness, that he would bring you to misery, bring you to sorrow and repentance, blight you, disgrace you, pull you down with him. “
Even if Lucie returned his love, he knows he would not be able to make her happy because of the current state he is in. Not looking into his own emotions, but her happiness. He takes it EVEN FURTHER by proclaiming to be willing to sacrifice his life for her or those around her just so she could be happy. Lucie then gets married to Charles Darnay and has children. Carton is left alone and just stands by, becoming somewhat of an uncle figure for her children.
I wanted to also connect this to an extra in a manga (Japanese comic) I read called “Secret Garden.” Read the manga here!! I suggest you read it before continuing on with this blog post. (Read from right to left!)
Here’s a summary:
The manga opens up with Maria showing off her wedding dress to a man named William on her wedding day. She then decides to take a stroll in the garden before she has to leave the mansion. There, she meets a man named Jack, who is said to be her butler she hasn’t seen in 4 years. They reminisce in the past, and it leads to a flashback.
6 year old Maria and 8 year old Jack are meeting each other for the first time. Along with her distant relative, a young William, the three spend their days together and become close. Jack’s uncle, the head butler for Maria then announces that he wants Jack to start training to take over. The time skips to when Maria is 15.
The love tension is shown through interactions between Maria and Jack. However, Maria awakes one day to find Jack as her butler. Their relationship is no longer the same when he’s not being the usual carefree Jack, but a polite and proper butler. It is announced Maria is engaged to William. Maria rushes to Jack to confess her love and asks him if he likes her even one bit, to which he replies, “I think if it’s William-sama, he will bring you much happiness. “The next day, Jack’s gone, his last words being “I want you to be happy.”
The time goes back to the present and Jack asks, “Are you happy?” Maria replies, “I don’t have a single regret.” Maria then asks Jack for a blessing. He then leans in to kiss her on the head, but disappears. It is revealed that a letter was sent to say that Jack lost his life in a distant land after he left the mansion. Maria is called back by William, the last words of the manga being “That was as if it was like those dream-like days,” with Maria’s smiling face.
15 year old Maria passing back Jack after his butler transformation.
Whew, kind of a long summary but a lot happened. Although I found the story quite typical and somewhat predictable, I still cried streaming tears. The part that really got to me was of course the ending. The quote
This feeling of love will be suppressed quietly into this garden. Someday, it will turn into tender memories right?
It makes you think about love being suppressed, the sad friend that never gets the girl. Where is the sympathy for them? It’s one of the reasons why I hate love triangles. It’s usually obvious who she would end up with (USUALLY), and the other guy just has this false hope and futile efforts. But if the main guy wasn’t there, this friend-zoned guy would’ve gotten the girl in .2 seconds with how much care he gives her. It’s not easy to erase feelings of love. At all. It’s extremely difficult to erase feelings of love for the better of your loved one. As you watch them be happy with someone else, how are you supposed to feel? You’re not supposed to love them and you know it.
But this manga shows the other side that is not the boys. This is Maria’s side, giving up her love. It’s unmentioned, why is it that Maria just accepts Jack giving up so easily? She says she understands. It was killing me. What does she understand? What was the reason for both of them to suppress their love? It was a sacrifice for each other. If they wanted to be together, they would have to fight a horrible fight, commonly seen in all forms of romantic love stories in which families, enemies, society, culture, and tradition are all forces attacking them. In all of that, even with love how can they both be truly happy? Something noted by Sydney Carton. For Maria to save Jack from the fight, she accepts his sacrifice to pull out to allow her to be happy.
So Maria remains to be an admirable character. She’s strong and independent, and is able to accept reality and life. The fact that a smile remains on her face during the nostalgic memories, it gives a feeling to the reader of a pain buried so deep. I feel as though if she was crying tears, the same effect would not have been given. In place of her tears, came mine. 😦
It is the feeling of a lost love, longing and nostalgic.