Jean Valjean - Wikipedia
In what ways is Jean Valjean's attachment to Cosette in Les Misérables unnatural or . Cosette and the loving relationship between Cosette and Jean Valjean. Les Miserables: Viewing Questions. 1. What does Valjean do after he intercepts Marius' letter to Cosette? What is Valjean's relationship with God like ?. Discuss the relationship that develops between Cosette and Jean Valjean. What fulfillment does each find in the relationship, and why is Jean willing to risk his.
However, it was impossible for convicts to make an honest livingbecause no one would give them work. It was a dreadful double bind. This is the situation Valjean finds himself in when he is finally released.
He is set on the fastlane to being sent back again when a meeting with an unconditionally kind man, who happens to be a bishop, changes him forever, for a second time, just as profoundly as his experiences in the bagne changed him. And that's just the beginning.
He breaks his parole and commits a minor theft out of habit, beginning the book-long chase with Inspector Javert as the pursuer. Over the course of the book, with the inspector always right behind him, Valjean becomes mayor of a small seaside town due to the penchant for altruism he developed after his redemption; makes a fortune from his own ingenuity and innovation; does many philanthropic works, among them caring for a dying woman, one of his factory workers, and promising her to ensure the well-being of her daughter Cosette; reveals his identity in court to prevent the wrongful incarceration of another man who was mistaken for him; is captured and sent to the galleys, but escapes to keep his promise; adopts the waifish Cosette, and moves from town to town with his final stop as Paris, where he puts forth every effort he can to make sure that Cosette has the happiness he could not and, one might argue, achieves a transcendental niceness that might save everyone he meets, including this annoying lad who seems to be developing an interest in Cosette and who has his own history.
But that niceness may be put to a different test entirely, because byas Cosette comes of age, a great many other people in France have had just about enough of the very same system that so traumatized Valjean all those years ago, and the crusade of change may be about to sweep over all our dramatis personae The book provides examples of: Cut versions always leave the revolution subplot in the dust.
Fantine's story is castrated, and all character development not centered on Valjean and Javert is pretty much obliterated. Hugo's tableau of France invariably turns into a good and evil story Valjean and Javert with a romance subplot Marius and Cosette thrown in. First, when he accidentally saves Georges Pontmercy's life, and then again, in his attempt to blackmail Marius.
He's so shy that he can't muster up the courage to even speak to a pretty girl. Bishop Myriel's position comes with a large salary and a palatial official residence. He allows the local hospital to occupy the palace while he lives in a small adjoining building, and donates nearly all his salary to charity. The only touch of luxury he permits himself is his silverware, which he values for its sentimental associations more than its monetary value.
The narrator states that each person's soul corresponds to a particular animal. The peasants of Asturias are convinced that in every litter of wolves there is one dog, which is killed by the mother because, otherwise, as he grew up, he would devour the other little ones. Give to this dog-son of a wolf a human face, and the result will be Javert. He's frequently nasty but he desperately believes that utter inflexibility is the only way to maintain order. Javert's struggle with himself toward the end of the book: All sorts of interrogation points flashed before his eyes.
He put questions to himself, and made replies to himself, and his replies frightened him. And I in showing mercy upon him in my turn—what have I done? So there is something beyond duty? Hugo even mentions that once kids like Gavroche grow up, the world beats them down, but he assures us that as long as he's young, Gavroche is thriving. Montparnasse was one of these until he grew up to be a stylish and ruthless teenage thug. A Taste of the Lash: More a taste of the stick, but when Valjean thinks or talks about prison, stick blows will come up sooner or later as inevitable as the tides.
Almost half of the book is Hugo exposing directly his thoughts about the ills of society, history mostly the first half of the 19th centurythe struggle for democracy, and many other subjects. Sometimes, there are no mentions of the main characters of the novel for a hundred pages. It is fortunate for the reader that Victor Hugo's thoughts are extremely interesting, well-written, and ahead of their time. Hugo's previous works had been criticized precisely for relying on this type of language, which was deemed too vulgar for "real" literature.
Hugo admitted that Marius is a portrait of the author as a young man. Valjean's rescue of Fantine was loosely inspired by something that Hugo did shortly after the success of Notre-Dame de Paris.
This is Victor Hugo, who probably never wrote a single book which doesn't fit this. Javert does this repeatedly. His initial suspicion of the mayor is based on a Sherlock Scan that ultimately proves right. When Valjean is recaptured, he's able to figure out that he was going after Cosette. Then he's able to deduce that Valjean may have faked his death, retrieved Cosette, and reestablished himself in Paris, all from a very limited amount of information.
Your gun will misfire! Consider that she stands up against six hardass brutes, including her own father. You are not getting inside. I am not a pup, I am a wolf cub. What do I care about that? You cannot scare me.
- Jean Valjean
You will not go inside this house, because I do not wish it. Equality, citizens, is not wholly a surface vegetation, a society of great blades of grass and tiny oaks; a proximity of jealousies which render each other null and void; legally speaking, it is all aptitudes possessed of the same opportunity; politically, it is all votes possessed of the same weight; religiously, it is all consciences possessed of the same right.
Equality has an organ: The right to the alphabet, that is where the beginning must be made. The primary school imposed on all, the secondary school offered to all, that is the law. From an identical school, an identical society will spring. Citizens, the nineteenth century is great, but the twentieth century will be happy. Then, there will be nothing more like the history of old, we shall no longer, as to-day, have to fear a conquest, an invasion, a usurpation, a rivalry of nations, arms in hand, an interruption of civilization depending on a marriage of kings, on a birth in hereditary tyrannies, a partition of peoples by a congress, a dismemberment because of the failure of a dynasty, a combat of two religions meeting face to face, like two bucks in the dark, on the bridge of the infinite; we shall no longer have to fear famine, farming out, prostitution arising from distress, misery from the failure of work and the scaffold and the sword, and battles and the ruffianism of chance in the forest of events.
One might almost say: There will be no more events. We shall be happy. The human race will accomplish its law, as the terrestrial globe accomplishes its law; harmony will be re-established between the soul and the star; the soul will gravitate around the truth, as the planet around the light. Friends, the present hour in which I am addressing you, is a gloomy hour; but these are terrible purchases of the future.
A revolution is a toll. We Page 27 affirm it on this barrier. Whence should proceed that cry of love, if not from the heights of sacrifice?
Oh my brothers, this is the point of junction, of those who think and of those who suffer; this barricade is not made of paving-stones, nor of joists, nor of bits of iron; it is made of two heaps, a heap of ideas, and a heap of woes. Here misery meets the ideal. The day embraces the night, and says to it: Sufferings bring hither their agony and ideas their immortality.
This agony and this immortality are about to join and constitute our death. Brothers, he who dies here dies in the radiance of the future, and we are entering a tomb all flooded with the dawn. There was no applause; but they whispered together for a long time. Speech being a breath, the rustling of intelligences resembles the rustling of leaves.
Let the reader recall the state of his soul. We have just recalled it, everything was a vision to him now. His judgment was disturbed. Marius, let us insist on this point, was under the shadow of the great, dark wings which are spread over those in the death agony.
He felt that he had entered the tomb, it seemed to him that he was already on the other side of the wall, and he no longer beheld the faces of the living except with the eyes of one dead.
Why was he there? What had be come there to do? Marius did not address all these questions to himself. Besides, since our despair has this Page 28 peculiarity, that it envelops others as well as ourselves, it seemed logical to him that all the world should come thither to die.
Only, he thought of Cosette with a pang at his heart. Fauchelevent did not speak to him, did not look at him, and had not even the air of hearing him, when Marius raised his voice to say: Fauchelevent was comforting, and, if such a word can be used for such impressions, we should say that it pleased him. He had always felt the absolute impossibility of addressing that enigmatical man, who was, in his eyes, both equivocal and imposing.
Moreover, it had been a long time since he had seen him; and this still further augmented the impossibility for Marius' timid and reserved nature. The five chosen men left the barricade by way of Mondetour lane; they bore a perfect resemblance to members of the National Guard.
One of them wept as he took his leave. Before setting out, they embraced those who remained. When the five men sent back to life had taken their departure, Enjolras thought of the man who had been condemned to death.
He entered the tap-room. Javert, still bound to the post, was engaged in meditation. We need all our cartridges just at present. Enjolras himself offered him a glass of water, and, as Javert was pinioned, he helped him to drink.
Bind me as you please, but you surely might lay me out on a table like that other man. Page 29 There was, as the reader will remember, a long, broad table at the end of the room, on which they had been running bullets and making cartridges. All the cartridges having been made, and all the powder used, this table was free. At Enjolras' command, four insurgents unbound Javert from the post. While they were loosing him, a fifth held a bayonet against his breast.
Leaving his arms tied behind his back, they placed about his feet a slender but stout whip-cord, as is done to men on the point of mounting the scaffold, which allowed him to take steps about fifteen inches in length, and made him walk to the table at the end of the room, where they laid him down, closely bound about the middle of the body. By way of further security, and by means of a rope fastened to his neck, they added to the system of ligatures which rendered every attempt at escape impossible, that sort of bond which is called in prisons a martingale, which, starting at the neck, forks on the stomach, and meets the hands, after passing between the legs.
While they were binding Javert, a man standing on the threshold was surveying him with singular attention.
Marius Pontmercy - Wikipedia
The shadow cast by this man made Javert turn his head. He raised his eyes, and recognized Jean Valjean. He did not even start, but dropped his lids proudly and confined himself to the remark: Not a window was opened, not a door stood ajar; it was the dawn but not the awaking.
The end of the Rue de la Chanvrerie, opposite the barricade, had been evacuated by the troops, as we have stated it seemed to be free, and presented itself to passersby with a sinister tranquillity. Not a living being in the cross-roads, which gleamed white in the light of the sun.
Nothing is so mournful as this light in deserted streets. Nothing was to be seen, but there was something to be heard. A mysterious movement was going on at a certain distance. It was evident that the critical moment was approaching. As on the previous evening, the sentinels had come in; but this time all had come.
The barricade was stronger than on the occasion of the first attack. Since the departure of the five, they had increased its height still further. On the advice of the sentinel who had examined the region of the Halles, Enjolras, for fear of a surprise in the rear, came to a serious decision. He had the small gut of the Mondetour lane, which had been left open up to that time, barricaded. For this purpose, they tore up the pavement for the length of several houses more.
In this manner, the barricade, walled on three streets, in front on the Rue de la Chanvrerie, to the left on the Rues du Cygne and de la Petite Truanderie, to the right on the Rue Mondetour, was really almost impregnable; it is true that they were fatally hemmed in there. It had three fronts, but no exit.
Enjolras had about thirty paving-stones "torn up in excess," said Bossuet, piled up near the door of the wine-shop. The silence was now so profound in the quarter whence the attack must needs come, that Enjolras had each man resume his post of battle. An allowance of brandy was doled out to each.
Nothing is more curious than a barricade preparing for an assault. Each man selects his place as though at the theatre. They jostle, and elbow and crowd each other.
There are some who make stalls of paving-stones. Here is a corner of the wall which is in the way, it is removed; here is a redan which may afford protection, they take shelter behind it. Left- handed men are precious; they take the places that are inconvenient to the rest.
Many arrange to fight in a sitting posture. Page 31 They wish to be at ease to kill, and to die comfortably. In the sad war of June,an insurgent who was a formidable marksman, and who was firing from the top of a terrace upon a roof, had a reclining-chair brought there for his use; a charge of grape-shot found him out there.
As soon as the leader has given the order to clear the decks for action, all disorderly movements cease; there is no more pulling from one another; there are no more coteries; no more asides, there is no more holding aloof; everything in their spirits converges in, and changes into, a waiting for the assailants.
A barricade before the arrival of danger is chaos; in danger, it is discipline itself. As soon as Enjolras had seized his double-barrelled rifle, and had placed himself in a sort of embrasure which he had reserved for himself, all the rest held their peace. A series of faint, sharp noises resounded confusedly along the wall of paving-stones. It was the men cocking their guns. Moreover, their attitudes were prouder, more confident than ever; the excess of sacrifice strengthens; they no longer cherished any hope, but they had despair, despair, -- the last weapon, which sometimes gives victory; Virgil has said so.
Supreme resources spring from extreme resolutions. To embark in death is sometimes the means of escaping a shipwreck; and the lid of the coffin becomes a plank of safety. As on the preceding evening, the attention of all was directed, we might almost say leaned upon, the end of the street, now lighted up and visible.
They had not long to wait. A stir began distinctly in the Saint-Leu quarter, but it did not resemble the movement of the first attack. A clashing of chains, the uneasy jolting of a mass, the click of brass skipping along the pavement, a sort of solemn uproar, announced that some sinister construction of iron was approaching.
There arose a tremor in the bosoms of these peaceful old streets, pierced and built for the fertile circulation of interests and ideas, and which are not made for the horrible rumble of the wheels of war. Page 32 The fixity of eye in all the combatants upon the extremity of the street became ferocious.
A cannon made its appearance. Artillery-men were pushing the piece; it was in firing trim; the fore-carriage had been detached; two upheld the gun- carriage, four were at the wheels; others followed with the caisson. They could see the smoke of the burning lint-stock.
The whole barricade fired, the report was terrible; an avalanche of smoke covered and effaced both cannon and men; after a few seconds, the cloud dispersed, and the cannon and men re-appeared; the gun-crew had just finished rolling it slowly, correctly, without haste, into position facing the barricade. Not one of them had been struck. Then the captain of the piece, bearing down upon the breech in order to raise the muzzle, began to point the cannon with the gravity of an astronomer levelling a telescope.
And the whole barricade clapped their hands. A moment later, squarely planted in the very middle of the street, astride of the gutter, the piece was ready for action. A formidable pair of jaws yawned on the barricade. After the fillip on the nose, the blow from the fist. The army is reaching out its big paw to us.
The barricade is going to be severely shaken up. The fusillade tries, the cannon takes. The excess of tin renders them too tender. Then it comes to pass that they have caves and chambers when looked at from the vent hole.
In order to obviate this danger, and to render it possible to force the charge, it may become necessary to return to the process of the fourteenth century, hooping, and to encircle the piece on the outside with a series of unwelded Page 33 steel bands, from the breech to the trunnions.
In the meantime, they remedy this defect as best they may; they manage to discover where the holes are located in the vent of a cannon, by means of a searcher.
But there is a better method, with Gribeauval's movable star. In firing at short range, the trajectory is not as rigid as could be desired, the parabola is exaggerated, the line of the projectile is no longer sufficiently rectilinear to allow of its striking intervening objects, which is, nevertheless, a necessity of battle, the importance of which increases with the proximity of the enemy and the precipitation of the discharge.
This defect of the tension of the curve of the projectile in the rifled cannon of the sixteenth century arose from the smallness of the charge; small charges for that sort of engine are imposed by the ballistic necessities, such, for instance, as the preservation of the gun-carriage.
In short, that despot, the cannon, cannot do all that it desires; force is a great weakness. A cannon- ball only travels six hundred leagues an hour; light travels seventy thousand leagues a second. Such is the superiority of Jesus Christ over Napoleon. How was the casing of the barricade going to behave under the cannon-balls? Would they effect a breach? That was the question. While the insurgents were reloading their guns, the artillery-men were loading the cannon.
The anxiety in the redoubt was profound. The shot sped the report burst forth. And Gavroche flung himself into the barricade just as the ball dashed against it.
He came from the direction of the Rue du Cygne, and he had nimbly climbed over the auxiliary barricade which fronted on the labyrinth of the Rue de la Petite Truanderie. Page 34 Gavroche produced a greater sensation in the barricade than the cannon-ball. The ball buried itself in the mass of rubbish.
At the most there was an omnibus wheel broken, and the old Anceau cart was demolished. On seeing this, the barricade burst into a laugh. But he had no time to tell anything. Marius drew him aside with a shudder. His eyes grew larger with the proud light within them. It was with an accent of severity that Marius continued: Did you deliver my letter at the address?
In his haste to return to the barricade, he had got rid of it rather than delivered it. He was forced to acknowledge to himself that he had confided it rather lightly to that stranger whose face he had not been able to make out. It is true that the man was bareheaded, but that was not sufficient. In short, he had been administering to himself little inward remonstrances and he feared Marius' reproaches. In order to extricate himself from the predicament, he took the simplest course; he lied abominably.
The lady was asleep. She will have the letter when she wakes up. Page 35 Marius had had two objects in sending that letter: He was obliged to content himself with the half of his desire. The despatch of his letter and the presence of M. Fauchelevent in the barricade, was a coincidence which occurred to him.
He pointed out M. Gavroche had, in fact, as we have just mentioned, seen Jean Valjean only at night. The troubled and unhealthy conjectures which had outlined themselves in Marius' mind were dissipated. Did he know M.
Fauchelevent was a republican. Hence his very natural presence in this combat. In the meanwhile, Gavroche was shouting, at the other end of the barricade: Gavroche warned "his comrades" as he called them, that the barricade was blocked. He had had great difficulty in reaching it. A battalion of the line whose arms were piled in the Rue de la Petite Truanderie was on the watch on the side of the Rue du Cygne; on the opposite side, the municipal guard occupied the Rue des Precheurs.
The bulk of the army was facing them in front. This information given, Gavroche added: The assailants, dissatisfied, no doubt, with their shot, had not repeated it. A company of infantry of the line had come up and occupied the end of the street behind the piece of ordnance. The soldiers were tearing up the pavement and constructing with the stones a small, low wall, a sort of side-work not more than eighteen inches high, and facing the barricade. In the angle at the left of this epaulement, there was visible the head of Page 36 the column of a battalion from the suburbs massed in the Rue Saint-Denis.
Enjolras, on the watch, thought he distinguished the peculiar sound which is produced when the shells of grape- shot are drawn from the caissons, and he saw the commander of the piece change the elevation and incline the mouth of the cannon slightly to the left. Then the cannoneers began to load the piece. The chief seized the lint-stock himself and lowered it to the vent.
This is what it was, in fact. The charge had been aimed at the cut in the redoubt, and had there rebounded from the wall; and this terrible rebound had produced two dead and three wounded. If this were continued, the barricade was no longer tenable. The grape-shot made its way in. A murmur of consternation arose. And, lowering his rifle, he took aim at the captain of the gun, who, at that moment, was bearing down on the breach of his gun and rectifying and definitely fixing its pointing.
The captain of the piece was a handsome sergeant of artillery, very young, blond, with a very gentle face, and the intelligent air peculiar to that predestined and redoubtable weapon which, by dint of perfecting itself in horror, must end in killing war.
Combeferre, who was standing beside Enjolras, scrutinized this young man. Come, when there are no more kings, there will be no more war. Enjolras, you are taking aim at Page 37 that sergeant, you are not looking at him. Fancy, he is a charming young man; he is intrepid; it is evident that he is thoughtful; those young artillery-men are very well educated; he has a father, a mother, a family; he is probably in love; he is not more than five and twenty at the most; he might be your brother.
Well, let us not kill him. It must be done. At the same moment, he pressed the trigger of his rifle. The flame leaped forth. The artillery-man turned round twice, his arms extended in front of him, his head uplifted, as though for breath, then he fell with his side on the gun, and lay there motionless.
They could see his back, from the centre of which there flowed directly a stream of blood. The ball had traversed his breast from side to side. He had to be carried away and replaced by another. Several minutes were thus gained, in fact. The firing from the gun was about to begin again. Against that grape- shot, they could not hold out a quarter of an hour longer. It was absolutely necessary to deaden the blows.
Enjolras issued this command: He did not appear to hear the combatants saying around him: It will be remembered that, on the arrival of the rabble in the Rue de la Chanvrerie, an old woman, foreseeing the bullets, had placed her mattress in front of her window. This window, an attic window, was on the roof of a six-story house situated a little beyond the barricade. The mattress, placed cross-wise, supported at the bottom on two poles for drying linen, was upheld at the top by two ropes, which, at that distance, looked like two threads, and which were attached to two nails planted in the window frames.
These ropes were distinctly visible, like hairs, against the sky. Enjolras, who had just re-loaded his, handed it to him. Jean Valjean took aim at the attic window and fired. One of the mattress ropes was cut. The mattress now hung by one thread only. Jean Valjean fired the second charge.
The second rope lashed the panes of the attic window. The mattress slipped between the two poles and fell into the street. Now, the death of the sergeant of artillery having exasperated the troop, the soldiers had, for several minutes, been lying flat on their stomachs behind the line of paving-stones which they had erected, and, in order to supply the forced silence of the piece, which was quiet while its service was in course of reorganization, they had opened fire on the barricade.