Charles Dickens starts A Tale of Two Cities by describing the economic situation in England and France at the time. Dickens speaks of two cities, which are very, very, similar to each other. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, was the epoc of belief, it was the epoc 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" (Dickens 35). .
The Industrial Revolution was just beginning, and this was a blessing for the working class of English citizens. For the less fortunate, however, it was the worst of times because illiteracy and unemployment were high. In France, most of the nations leaders were living so well the they were oblivious to the fact that much of the population was on the less fortunate side of things. Dickens also shows that the crime rate was high and murders were commonplace in England. "Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night" (Dickens 36). This shows that the people in England were well aware of crime. .
In A Tale of Two Cities, basically all of the normal French citizens were poor. Dickens paints a picture of a not so perfect world where poverty was unavoidable for some. There is an example of this in one particular scene, in which wine containers fall and break on the ground and everyone immediately stopped what they were doing to go and drink the free wine. "All the people within reach had suspended their business, or their idleness, to run to the spot and drink the wine.