Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities - prologue

Current world events, as well as recent conversations with a few friends, put the idea for this story in my head.

For no particular reason, A Tale of Two Cities seemed to be the most appropriate title.

For a little variety, my thoughts had been to post the story in a series, and to include an interview at the end in the epilogue section.

Although I originally had read the novel when I was in high school, I’ll have to admit that the passage of more than 40 years has caused the details of my first exposure to the book to dim a bit.

It wasn’t until this morning that I discovered that the novel, originally written by Charles Dickens in 1859, was ALSO issued in installments. The first weekly installment was released on April 30, 1859, and the last (and 31st) was released on November 25 of the same year.

In the case of the novel, the two cities were London and Paris, and the basic theme centered on the treatment of “criminals” just prior to the time of the French revolution.

For literally thousands of years, the debate within societies has been whether crime should be treated harshly or compassionately. Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky actually came up with the idea for a novel titled “Crime and Punishment” in 1865, when he was penniless, and the book was published a year later. However, he was far from the first person to write about the topic

In modern America, the “compassionate” approach has led to misguided outcomes like Willie Horton and Hurricane Carter, and the “tough on crimes” approach has led to such miscarriages of justice as the California “three strikes” law.

You can draw your own conclusions about which approach is the best one to use, but the thoughts presented in parts one, two, and three, and in the epilogue, may provide some useful guidance to you.

Almost exclusively, the characters in the story are fictional, but the dates chosen are all historically significant.

Part one of this journey will take you back in time to the year 1645, and part two will take you back even further.

Let the journey begin.

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