How to write a good summary

An example of Charles Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities"


- title?
- author?
- type of novel/film or play?
- setting: Where and when does
  the action take place?

A tale of two cities is one of Charles Dickens´s s most famous historical novels. The action takes place in the two cities of London and Paris, during the French Revolution


-identity: age, nationality, job,
  physical details?
-background: wealthy, poor?

The main characters involved are Charles Darnay, a Frenchman from a wealthy aristrocratic family, Lucie Manette, a young French girl whose father is a doctor, and Sydney Carton, a young Englishman who works as a lawyer in London. Sydney and Charles look very similar.


-What happens?
Use the present simple- also called "the dramatic present"- to tell the story. It´s much easier!

-Divide the plot into three parts:
At first, .... then... finally....

At first, Charles und Lucie, meet in London and fall in love. They get married but we discover that Sydney is also in love with Lucie. Then, when the French Revolution breaks out, Charles goes back to France to save one of his family´s servants from the guillotine. He is taken prisoner and sentenced to death. Finally, at the last minute, Sydney takes his place in prison and goes to the guillotine, sacrificing himself for the woman he loves.

additionally ...

Information about the author

-place of birth
-social background

Charles Dickens( 1812-1870) came from a poor family and grew up in London at the time of the Industrial Revolution, when England was divided into two distinct classes- the rich and the poor.

Your Opinion

-different elements:
What adjectives/nouns you use to describe the story?
-interest: Why do you think it is interesting?

It is a tragic story, full of adventure and suspense. It is also interesting because Dickens sympathises with both the aristrocracy and the poor people.


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