It Is a Far, Far Better Thing

Name that novel. I was reminded of this quote from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities when a co-worker of mine asked us for famous literary quotes for a work project. I kept thinking, “It is a far, far better thing…” and then couldn’t remember the rest. Nor could I remember where it came from. So I googled it of course and then remembered faintly. The quote in full is this:

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

It was said by a dead-beat-turned-hero in the novel as he sacrifices his life for another on the guillotine (at least this is what I recall from high school). Something in that simple arrangement of words associated with such a profound moment made me read the sentence several times on screen when I found it.

Read it again.

Maybe you would have rather pulled your own teeth out than read Dickens as a teenager. But here I sit, a decade later, and I think I know why it’s endured the curriculum for so many years.

8 thoughts on “It Is a Far, Far Better Thing

  1. Great stuff, but I have to admit that as I read your post’s title, I didn’t immediately think of Charles Dickens. Instead, all I could think of was James T. Kirk in The Wrath of Khan. He quoted those words as he sent Spock’s lifeless body down to the Genesis planet. Sorry. I guess I’m too much of a Trekkie.


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