A Tale of Two Cities Mob Psych Essay

Oh...Come on!
Close the city and tell the people that something's coming to call
Death and darkness are rushing forward to take a bite from the wall, oh
You've nothing to say
They're breaking away
If you listen to fools
The mob rules
The mob rules...
Kill the spirit and you'll be blinded, the end is always the same
Play with fire, you burn your fingers and lose your hold of the flame, oh
It's over it's done
The end, the big death
If you listen to fools
The mob rules...
You've nothing to say
Oh they're breaking away
If you listen to fools
Break the circle and stop the movement, the wheel is thrown to the
Just remember it might stop rolling and take you right back around
You're all fools, fools rules rules
The mob rules
Be sure to integrate and provide an answer to the why question in your thesis.
Consider our discussions of mob psychology: why people in crowds behave the
way they do, how irrationally people act in crowds, how their individuality is lost,
how and why the level of violence changes. Be specific about the subtle differences
in crowds.
Make sure you complete your essay organizer and reflection.
Use at least three crowd scenes as evidence.
Use at least three critical pieces of textual evidence (DQE) in each body
paragraph. Follow proper quotations style. You need only concentrate on Book
the First and Book the Second.
Write a conclusion that wraps up your ideas and looks forward into the novel:
think of connecting your thesis to what happens in Book the Third in terms of
crowd scenes and plot.
Before attempting your essay, be sure
you understand the topic.
What exactly is “mob psychology?”
Mob- a group of individuals acting
together without planned direction, logic
or reason, and no sense of right or wrong
or morals
Psychology- the scientific study of
human and animal behavior with the
object of understanding why living
beings behave as they do
Contemplating the Topic
So, why does a particular mindset
emerge when people are in large group,
whether or not they believe or even
understand the mindset?
Imagine Swansea, a civilized community,
experiences a shortage of some vital
resource, such as fuel, bread or water.
Would uncivilized behavior take over?
Would human selfishness cause some to get
that resource at all costs, even if it means
harm to others?
Would "harm" here include depriving others of
this resource, or even trampling them?
On April 29, 1992, a jury
announced a not-guilty verdict
for four white police officers who
were videotaped beating
Rodney King, a black man, in
Los Angeles, CA. Within hours,
protests and demonstrations
turned violent, and by 8 p.m.
that night, full-scale mobs had
broken out and were spreading
throughout Los Angeles.
A mob is a crowd that can take violent,
illegal actions, reacting out of fear or anger.
The crowd takes on a mob mentality.
 The people making up the "mob" do things
they normally would not do because the
crowd makes them anonymous; this
anonymity, combined with the actions of
the rest of the crowd, makes them feel like
they can smash, burn or beat whatever
and whomever they want.
 (2.14)
(Set in England
although the events of the chapter
impact happenings in France)
 (2.23)
 (2.3)
 (2.6)
 (2.21)
The Broken Wine Cask
The first mob Dickens exposes is playful in
nature. Although the people of St. Antoine
are hungry and deprived, the gathering
outside Defarge’s wine shop never turns
violent. However, we see the first signs of
aggression in a mob as they race one
another for wine, pushing each other out of
the way. Once the wine is soaked up,
people return to their tasks.
Dickens is cautious to warn that the people’s
faces were stained with a tigerish smear,
suggesting the animal within.
In Book II, Chapter 14, Dickens continues his criticism of
mob mentality. The crowd that follows Cly’s funeral
processions lacks justification of purpose. Cruncher
asks three passer-bys who they follow before one can
provide an answer. In this scene, Dickens prepares
the reader for the mob violence in the latter chapters
of Book 2.
At one point, the crowd plots to remove the deceased
from the coffin, and even the guards are unwilling to
impose any restraint for fear of death. The crowd’s
anger and excitement is not only contagious as it
expands throughout the scene, it increases in
intensity. Once Cly is interred, the scavengers search
for more bait to feed their thirst for violence.
After Cly’s burial, the
crowd seeks to
release built
emotions. Innocent
passer-bys become
victim to torment
and store owners
close shop for fear of
plundered goods.
“With a roar that sounded as if all
the breath in France had been
shaped into the detested word,
the living sea rose, wave on
wave, depth on depth, and
overflowed the city to that point.
Alarm-bells ringing, drums
beating, the sea raging and
thundering on its new beach, the
attack began” (2.21)”
Remember, "mobs" do things they
normally would not do because
the crowd makes them
anonymous. Therefore, the “sea”
is the perfect metaphor for
capturing the anonymity of the
“For, they are headlong, mad, and
dangerous; and in the years so long after
the breaking of the cask at Defarge's
wine-shop door, they are not easily
purified when once stained red” (2.21).
What stained the mob?
 How could they be purified?
So, Dickens brings us back to the
beginning, revealing that this mob is the
same mob we first experienced outside
Defarge’s wine shop. So why did the
mob change from playful to murderous?
Initially, the mob in the streets of St.
Antoine is pitied, but by Book II, Chapter
24 the mob is a feared force.
1. Defarge makes a show of Manette to band together
2. Monsieur kills Gaspard’s son.
3. Peasants continue to live with filth, hunger and misery.
4. The Marquis is killed by Gaspard, but, in retaliation,
Gaspard is killed and his body hangs over the well,
poisoning the water.
5. Successful attack on the Bastille.
6. The Killing of Foulon- “Let them eat grass”
7. They burn the house of the Marquis
8. Ousting of the aristocracy
The confidence of the mob builds and the fury intensifies.
Hooking the Reader
Passion is the mob of the man, that commits a riot upon his reason.
William Penn
Get together a hundred or two men, however sensible they may be,
and you are very likely to have a mob.
Samuel Johnson
A hungry mob is an angry mob.
Bob Marley
Humanity to me is not a mob. A mob is a degeneration of humanity.
A mob is humanity going the wrong way.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Model Thesis:
Dickens’ mob consistently acts with
indifference to ethical considerations
throughout the book, but the mob that
initially presents itself in a playful manner,
turns deadly in response to squalor and

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