Here’s one way to think about what having OCD is like
Imagine your mind got stuck
on a certain thought, image, or word even…
Then this thought or image got replayed in your mind
over and over again…
The reason I’m bringing up OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is because in a way, I kinda sorta felt like I had this disability in class. Today in English class we were analyzing (over analyzing) the first book, and the first paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities
Book the First: Recalled to Life
Chapter 1: The period
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
We went through this paragraph a numerous amount of times. We scrutinized and studied every single word Charles Dickens skillfully crafted and placed together in his book. We analyzed to find a deeper meaning of the paragraph, hunting for metaphors, similes, or allusions. Now I just want to say, Mr. Dickens, after staring at this paragraph, trying to make sense of what you are trying to say… You sir, are a very confusing man. I’ve read and reread this first paragraph of your book multiple times, and I can confidently say that I am still not absolutely positive of what the first paragraph of your book says. However, I am sure of a few aspects of the paragraph.
When you first begin reading the paragraph, as a reader you may notice that the comparisons being made are superlative. (Superlative meaning of the highest quality or degree). The comparisons being made are comparisons of the extremes, in other words: oxymorons. You may also notice that this paragraph also has a structure similar to a russian nesting doll. It is broken up from period, to time, to age, to epoch, to season, to spring, and then lastly, to winter.
These two excerpts of the paragraph especially caught my eye.
“We had everything before us, we had nothing before us”
Honestly, I had absolutely no idea what this sentence could have meant until my classmate James P. said something absolutely brilliant. As James had mentioned in class, this sentence refers to the wars during the French Revolution. As he had stated, the French may feel as if they have won everything when they defeat their enemy, and take over their country. But that country that the French has now claimed is destroyed, disunited, and shattered-it is basically nothing.
“We were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way”
A Tale of Two Cities takes place during the time period of the Scientific Revolution. The Scientific Revolution was the time of emergence of modern science during the early modern period. As science emerged, people were less dependent on the church, and began to think for themselves. In this sentence, “we were all going direct the other way” may symbolize a secular view on death. Rather than hell, direct the other way of heaven is literally what it means – directly into the ground. (when people die they are buried)