Jarvis Lorry: Character Analysis & Overview

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  • 0:00 Jarvis Lorry
  • 0:33 Loyalty
  • 1:05 Compassion
  • 2:58 Miss Pross
  • 3:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debbie Notari
In Charles Dickens' novel, 'A Tale of Two Cities,' the character Jarvis Lorry serves as a consistent thread of loyalty throughout the plot. In this lesson, we will get to know Jarvis Lorry a little better.

Jarvis Lorry

In Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, Jarvis Lorry is a banker who works out of Tellson's bank, which has a branch in Paris. When Lucie Manette becomes an orphan after her father is mysteriously imprisoned in the Bastille and her mother dies, Lorry brings her back to England to be raised there. When the novel opens, we see Jarvis and Lucie back in Paris to retrieve Mr. Manette, Lucy's father, who is being released at the fall of the Bastille during the French Revolution.


Jarvis Lorry is a businessman, but certainly not a coldhearted one. In the first place, he is under no obligation to rescue Lucie and take her to England, but he does. While he does not have to remain in her life, he stays a constant friend. Jarvis is exceptionally loyal to the Manette family, and it could be argued that he loves them like family. This loyalty extends through the story to the very end, where Jarvis risks his own life to help rescue Charles Darnay, a former aristocrat turned tutor, and see the family safely back to England.


Jarvis Lorry is also compassionate. There is a touching scene in which Dr. Manette, who was traumatized by his time in prison, suffers a relapse This happens after Charles Darnay reveals on his and Lucie's wedding day that he is related to the Evremonde family, the very family that put Dr. Manette in prison. Dr. Manette, formerly a prominent physician, lapses back into his refuge of shoe making, and no one can reach him emotionally. Mr. Lorry notices his old scared lost look.

This relapse continues for nine long days, but Jarvis Lorry stays near Dr. Manette almost the entire time. It is at this point that Jarvis Lorry comes up with a brilliant idea. He seeks Dr. Manette's advice as a physician, telling him of his own relapse, but pretending that it is someone else he is speaking of. He asks Dr. Manette what should be done to cure this patient. This is Dr. Manette's response:

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