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Characterization/Role of Mr. Lorry in A Tale of Two Cities

            In the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities written by Charles Dickens, the minor character Mr. Jarvis Lorry has the personality of both a dedicated businessman and a loyal friend. The professional actions and descriptions of Mr. Lorry illustrate his business-like personality. By affectionately caring for the Manette family, Mr. Lorry is also depicted as a loyal friend. Throughout Books I and II of the novel, Mr. Lorry experiences little change and significantly develops the plot.
             Mr. Lorry's business traits are a reflection of his position at Tellson's Bank and are first revealed in the beginning of the novel. As a passenger on the Dover Mail en route to the Royal George Hotel, Lorry was encountered by a messenger from Tellson's Bank by the name of Jerry Cruncher. Early signs of Mr. Lorry's important and demanding job are revealed when he uses Cruncher to send a perplexing message back to Tellson's. When Mr. Lorry arrives at the hotel, Dickens describes that Lorry's external appearance is a reflection of his position at the bank. "A face habitually suppressed and quieted was still lighted up under the quaint wig by a pair of moist bright eyes that must have cost their owner, in years gone by, some pains to drill to the composed and reserved expression of Tellson's bank." (26) When Book II commences, Mr. Lorry is once again depicted as a man of business when he uses Cruncher to report the outcome of Darnay's trial to Tellson's. Lorry's professional personality is also magnified when Stryver, the supercilious lawyer who defended Darnay during the trial, greets Lorry at the bank. "There was a peculiarity in his manner of shaking hands, always to be seen in any clerk at Tellson's who shook hands with a customer when the House pervaded the air. He shook in a self-abnegating way, as one who shook for Tellson and Co." (146) Unlike his professional personality, Mr. Lorry's role as a loyal friend develops throughout Books I and II.

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