Summary and Analysis
Chapter 20 - A Plea
Soon after Lucie and Darnay return from their honeymoon, Carton visits them. He takes Darnay aside and, in an unusually sincere tone, asks for Darnay's friendship and apologizes for his rudeness after the trial. Darnay is casual about the apology, but assures Carton that he has forgotten any past offences. Carton then asks permission to visit the family occasionally, and Darnay grants it. Later that evening, after Carton leaves, Darnay comments on Carton's irresponsible nature, causing Lucie to reprimand him and ask that he show Carton more consideration in the future.
Carton's apology to Darnay and his request to visit the family show his respect for Darnay's new place in Lucie's life and his desire to remain a peripheral part of the family's life. His sincerity and earnestness in speaking to Darnay echo the tone he took in speaking to Lucie before her marriage, indicating that he is revealing the real Carton to Darnay. However, Darnay lacks Lucie's sensitivity and compassion and fails to perceive the difference in Carton's manner. When Darnay talks about Carton as "a problem of carelessness and recklessness," Dickens adds that he is speaking of Carton "as anybody who saw him as he showed himself."While this statement may seem like a defense of Darnay's remarks, it actually comments on Darnay's inability to "see"Carton's real self, even after Carton has shown it to him. In the end, Darnay receives a glimpse of Carton's worthiness through Lucie's vision of him.