Content Grammar

Content Grammar

The Opening of Book II


The second book of A Tale of Two Cities is called The Golden Thread . Listen as your teacher reads aloud the first paragraph, then join a partner as directed and work on the following. Here and throughout the lesson, note any questions you are unsure of for sharing with the whole class.

  • Briefly discuss with your partner what you think this second book may be about based on what you already know from the first book.
  • Together, read the opening paragraph aloud again. Highlight any vocabulary you are unfamiliar with or uncertain about. Jot down as annotations some possible ideas about the meaning of the words you highlighted based on what the paragraph tells you.
  • In a Quick Write, describe what you think it might be like to be an employee of Tellson’s.
  • When you have finished, share your Quick Write with your partner and talk about the differences you noticed between the Quick Writes.

Open Notebook

When you have finished this sharing, look up the meanings of the unfamiliar words and compare the appropriate ones with your partner’s thoughts.

Dickens's Grammar and Word Choice

Work Time

  • Individually, answer the questions on the grammar lesson about specific aspects of the paragraph you have just read.
  • Discuss your answers with your partner.

Open Notebook

Share any remaining questions you and your partner have with the whole class.

Dickens's Verbs

Work Time

Dickens’s choice of verbs gives the reader additional and different understanding of both the “partners” point of view and the narrator’s point of view. With your partner, complete the following.

  • Highlight all the verbs that are forms of “ to be .”
  • Next, underline all the verbs that indicate action.
  • When you have finished highlighting and underlining, consider the sequence, number and parallel syntax of the “ to be ” verbs and theactive verbs .
  • Discuss what that might suggest about the nature of Tellson’s and its employees.
  • Do the sequence, number and parallel syntax also suggest anything about the narrator’s point of view toward Tellson’s?

Your Response to the Text


Consider Dickens’s description of Tellson’s in the paragraph you have been working with. Light, sound, color, space, age, movement, and attitude are all revealed to varying degrees by the author’s word choices, including his verb choices, and syntax.

  • Write a narrative or dramatic scene, set in Tellson’s Bank, of a young man or woman who suggests some modernizations for Tellson’s to one of the old partners.
  • Include movement, dialogue, and a variety of descriptive words  that are different than Dickens’s choices but that still capture the gist of the paragraph.
  • Alternatively, draw a picture of the inside of Tellson’s that captures the gist of this paragraph.

Open Notebook

Book II, Chapters 1 and 2


  • Read Book II, Chapters 1 and 2 of A Tale of Two Cities.
  • Annotate for key ideas, personal reactions, questions, and vocabulary.