Week 4: Out by Midnight; Leave a Shoe

The thing that strikes me about the beginning of Chapter 6 is the quietness of the voice of the being that Miss Manette was so afraid of.  It’s a classic facing your fear anticlimax.  This culminates in the role reversal of parent and child.  Mr Manette has been so psychologically damaged by his imprisonment he has repressed his memory and is only able to concentrate on shoemaking for any length of time.  Procedural memory is the most permanent psychologically and therefore it makes sense that he is using it, albeit probably subconsciously, to keep other painful memories from his thoughts.  Her father’s behaviour causes Miss Manette to grow up almost instantly and the frightened young girl from last week disappears.  He clings to her as they leave and remains confused and forgetful.  Mr Lorry can’t be surprised that Mr Manette cannot say whether or not he cares for the events.

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One thought on “Week 4: Out by Midnight; Leave a Shoe

  1. Thanks for this insightful post, Donna. I’m really struck by your observation about ‘procedural memory’ and its resistance to forms of psychological trauma that may destroy or damage other areas of cognitive functioning.The centrality of memory, trauma and repetition in this novel invites a Freudian reading, particularly in terms of the Uncanny, but it also seems possible to consider it, as you have, using the insights offered by what we now term Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s fascinating how Dickens relates personal, familial trauma to the wider trauma suffered by communities and nations.

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