I’ve said on one page that there will most likely be lots of spoilers in my posts (or something to that effect), so that I won’t be posting lots of spoiler warnings. However, because I feel like it’s a good thing to do, I’m going to put one here (basically, don’t read this post if you haven’t read Les Mis. I mean, if you want things spoiled that’s totally fine but if you don’t….). So, here you go:
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Now that that’s done: I’ve started reading the abridged version of Les Mis, and I absolutely LOVE IT!!!! The first few chapters on the bishop are awesome, and Monseigneur Bienvenu (as he is often called) is awesome as well. I mean, come on, a bishop who goes up a mountain on his own, potentially at the mercy of some thieves, to visit some poor people–is that not totally amazing? I especially like the way Hugo writes about him at first, all ironically, presenting the other characters’ opinions of him And I love Jean Valjean–he’s very human. You feel sorry for him, because of all he’s been through (prison, and tough prison, all for stealing a loaf of bread), but then you kind of disagree (or not) with his choice to be angry at the world. He takes the chance for redemption that the bishop gives him, and goes on to do quite a bit of good in Montreuil-sur-mer (a French village), though he sheds his name to avoid the inevitable dislike and mistreatment of others. His peace is unfortunately disturbed when he finds out that someone else is being tried as Jean Valjean. The now Monsieur Madeleine decides to go to the man’s trial and reveal himself to be Jean Valjean–but not until after a long night’s struggle, and even after the night, on his way to the trial, he attempts to rationalize and get himself out of his revelation. Eventually, though, he does the right thing and tells everyone who he is. I got kind of upset with him, actually, I was like GO TELL EVERYONE ALREADY!! But, I can totally see myself in him, too.
I feel really bad for Fantine, too: if Javert the policeman hadn’t been his usual self and blunt and not at all sensitive to people, she might not have died right away from the shock to her system. I should explain: Javert comes to arrest Jean Valjean, who is at the time visiting a very ill woman named Fantine. Fantine questions who precisely it is that Javert (who she is scared of) has come to arrest, and Javert tells her, but does so by shouting and venting all his anger and venom about Valjean into his explanation. This shocks her system, very frail to begin with, and she falls back on the bed dead. So, if Javert hadn’t been so angry, he might not have delivered the shock that killed her. I’m not sure if he really cares, anyway, because Javert divides everything into black and white: citizens and the good people of society and government are all good and in the right (mostly) and any criminal/prostitute/outcast from society is in the wrong. Although Javert isn’t a bad person–he’s just really jaded, like Jean Valjean was upon getting out of prison. Except he didn’t have anyone to steer him right, though it seems as Jean Valjean could have been/could be that person, if Javert would only choose to learn from him. Because that’s a part of changing your views of the world–you have to choose to. Sometimes events just have to come to a head before you do that.
My general opinion of Les Miserables is that it’s awesome! I’m just really annoyed right now, because everything had been going well for Jean Valjean but now it’s going down the tubes again. *sigh* I’ll just have to keep reading and see what happens.