“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.”
It seems to me that with this opening sentence in A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens is describing the world of the twenty-first century. This sentence is as relevant today as it might have been in the 1850s when Dickens wrote his novel. Though there is a crucial difference: Dickens is talking about a two countries, Britain and France—the two cities in his novel are London and Paris before and during the French Revolution—but in the twenty-first century, the world is globalized, and the thinking people in most countries are sensing that they are living not in their country or city but on a planet that is going through an intense “revolutionary" phase of the best of times, and the worst of times, that this is the age of wisdom, and the age of foolishness…
The second sentence in Dickens’s novel is: “There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France.” Since I am examining this sentence from the twenty-first century’s vantage point, I will consider the two big powers of our time, China and America—the first king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face will be Mr. and Mrs. Xi Jinping, and the second king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face will be Mr. and Mrs. Joe Biden. China and America are rivals but they are conjoined twins—when one dies, the other will be doomed.
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