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Les Misérables Character Descriptions

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Nicole Bowman

on 1 November 2015

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Transcript of Les Misérables Character Descriptions

Les Misérables
Character Descriptions
Major Characters
Thénardier Family
Madame Thénardier
Jean Valjean
Bishop Charles Francois-Bienvenu Myriel
Marius Pontmercy
•The bishop serves in the town of D———— while sharing a home with his sister Mademoiselle Baptistine and their housekeeper Madame Magloire.
Though the grandson of the rich Monsieur Gillenormand, Marius lives on his own and associates with the revolutionary zealots in Society of the Friends of the A B C.
Enjolras is the "officiating and militant" leader of the Society of the Friends of the A B C. He is rather idealistic and believes the government must be overthrown.
Around eight years later, as Cosette and her "father" walk regularly along the streets, Cosette falls in love with a young man named Marius. They meet secretly in her garden until Cosette confesses that her father and she are leaving their home and moving away.

Described as “a red-haired, browny, angular woman,” Madame Thénardier lives with her husband and two young daughters in their inn at Montfermeil (43).
Thénardier agrees to let Cosette stay in his inn, so he can pay a debt with the money for her care.
The Thénardiers' daughter, Eponine, does not abuse Cosette, but she considers her to be like a household dog.
When she is two years old, her mother, Fantine, leaves Cosette with the Thénardier family at their inn.
However, the Thénardiers treatCosette like their slave: she cleans, eats her meals underneath the table, and takes Madame Thénardiers' abuse.
One evening, Jean Valjean arrives at the inn and pays to take Cosette with him.
Interested students may find more detail on these characters within Victor Hugo's book, Les Misérables, which I cited for the character descriptions. I would highly recommend reading this book to experience the historical accuracy, depth, and drama of Victor Hugo's original text.
Here is the information for the
particular edition of Les Misérables that I have used for quotations within this Prezi:

Hugo, Victor. Les Misérables. New York: POCKET BOOKS, 2005. Print.
Fearing that Javert the police inspector is chasing them, Valjean and Cosette hide in Convent of Petit Picpus where Valjean assumes the role of assistant gardener and Cosette begins attending the convent school.
After Valjean carries Marius home from the barricade, Cosette and Marius reunite, and they are given permission to marry each other.
Jean Valjean, a former convict, served nineteen years in the galleys for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving children.
Marius visits his grandfather to receive a blessing before asking for Cosette's hand in marriage, but returns to Cosette's house only to find her gone. He leaves for the barricade thinking he must die.
Upon his release, he spends the night at the Bishop's house where he awakes early in the morning and steals the Bishop's silver plates. The French police catch Valjean and bring him back to the Bishop's home.
Valjean travels to M— sur m—, succeeds greatly in the local manufacturing and eventually becomes the mayor of the town whom everyone calls Father Madeleine. He saves Fantine from being arrested by Javert and takes the ill woman into his house.
Meanwhile, Javert approaches Monsieur Madeleine to apologize for accusing Monsieur Madeleine of being Jean Valjean before the Prefacture of Police in Paris, assures Monsieur Madeleine that the authorities have discovered the "real" Jean Valjean, and states that he is going to testify against the man in trial the next day.
After a deep struggle, Valjean journeys to the trial and reveals his true identity to the court. When no one arrests him, he travels back to M— sur m— where he sits by Fantine's side until Javert arrives to arrest him. Javert's presence terrorizes Fantine to death, and Javert takes Valjean back to prison.
After saving a fellow convict from death, Valjean stumbles and falls into the ocean where he supposedly drowns. In actuality, Valjean swims to safety and travels to Montfermeil where finds Cosette at the Thénardiers' inn. He pays the Thénardiers' for the expenses of taking care of Cosette and takes her away from those horrid people.
However, instead of prosecuting Jean Valjean, the Bishop gives him the silver as a gift and insisted he take the silver candlesticks and promise to become an honest man.
Being seen and then chased by Javert,
Valjean retreats to the Convent of the Petit Picpus where begins serving as an assistant gardener and Cosette begins attending the convent school.
Five years later, Valjean and Cosette leave the convent and move into a house on the rue Plumet. They live modestly and walk in the Luxembourg everyday until Valjean becomes aware of Marius' interest in Cosette and moves to a different house suddenly.
After discovering a message from Cosette to Marius, Valjean unselfishly travels to the barricade to ensure that Marius returns alive. At the barricade, Valjean offers to execute Javert, but, instead, spares his life when they are alone.
After seeing Marius become wounded, Valjean carries him to safety through the sewers of France. When they emerge from the sewer, they see Javert who is waiting for Thénardier, but instead he prepares to arrest Valjean. Before that, however, he allows Valjean to return Marius to his grandfather's house and return to his own home where he leaves Valjean.
Valjean takes Cosette to Marius and gives his permission for their marriage. He tells Marius his about his past and explains that he must not remain involved in their lives to prevent Cosette from experiencing disgrace.
He retreats to a house in which he begins to die. Only minutes before his death, Cosette and Marius arrive in repentence for letting him go out of their lives.
Fantine, a fifteen-year-old orphan, travels to Paris seeking riches; instead, she falls in love and becomes pregnant.
While seeking a job, Fantine leaves her young daughter Cosette with the Thénardiers. Upon the discovery of Cosette's existance, the overseer releases Fantine from her job, so, to pay for Cosette's care, Fantine sells her hair, her incisors, and eventually her body.
•After some months, Javert arrests her because he mistakenly sees her "harrassing" a man on the street. Though Javert sentences Fantine to prison for six months, Monsieur Madeleine, who witnessed the event, demands that Javert release Fantine since it was not her fault.

Upon her release, Monsieur Madeleine promises Fantine that he will bring to Cosette to her. Being ill, Fantine faints, and Monsieur Madeleine transports to her his house where he procures a doctor.
•When Monsieur Madeleine returns to her, Fantine asserts her eagerness to see her child. Subsequently, Javert enters to arrest Javert, and Fantine, who cannot manage Javert's presence and news, dies.
In M— sur m—, Javert suspects that Father Madeleine is Jean Valjean, but denounces him to authorities without any proof.
•He mistakenly arrests Fantine for “attacking” a man. When Monsieur Madeleine insists she go free, Javert leaves wounded.
When he faces Monsieur Madeleine again, he requests the mayor to relief him of his position for his accusations on Madeleine's identity informs Monsieur Madeleine that Valjean
had been captured and will be tried that the next day.
•After seeing Valjean and Cosette, Javert pursues the pair, but they cleverly discover their refuge in the convent.
Javert is a police inspector who possesses an incredible “respect for authority and hatred of rebellion.”
Freedom Fighters
Knowing Valjean is alive, Javert begins
watching for Valjean. He narrowly misses finding Valjean when he arrives to arrest Patron-Minette and Thénardier when they try to sabotage Valjean .
During Enjolras' revolution, Javert spies upon the barricade, but the insurgents capture him. Later, Valjean arrives at the barricade and offers to execute Javert. Instead of murdering Javert though, Valjean grants him mercy.
Javert returns to his post and watches the sewer's exit, waiting for Thénardier to appear. However, it is Valjean who emerges. Intending to arrest Valjean, Javert first stops at the house of Marius' grandfather and then at Valjean's house. takes Valjean to Marius’ house, and then to Valjean’s house where he leaves Valjean. Greatly startled by Valjean's mercy, Javert commits suicide.
"He asked himself, 'This convict, this desperate man, whom I have pursued even to persecution, and who has had me beneath this feet, and could have avenged himself, and who ought to have done so, as well as for his revenge as for his security, in granting me life, in sparing me, what has he done? His duty? No. Something more. And I, in sparing him in my turn, what have I done? My duty? No. Something more. There is then something more than duty.'"
Although it is not mentioned in the Les Miserables Broadway musical or the newly released 2012 movie, Victor Hugo clearly writes that Gavroche is the son of the Thénardiers.
They abandon and neglect by him as a child, so Gavroche lives on the streets and fends for himself.
•Though Thénardier allows Cosette to stay with her family, Madame Thénardier mistreats Cosette horribly. At one point, she even gives her a black eye.
•She gives birth to Gavroche, but neglects him. Years later, while living in the Gorbeau tenements, she helps her husband sabotage Jean Valjean. Javert arrests her, and Marius later discovers that she dies in prison.

When others would not give Jean Valjean a place to stay, the bishop invites Valjean inside, feeds Valjean using his fine silver, and provides him with a bed for the night. To Valjean’s surprise, the bishop addresses him as “My Brother” and does not fear Valjean’s supposed “dangerous” character.
•Although the French police arrest Valjean for stealing the silver, the bishop graciously pardons Valjean and gives the silver candlesticks to him as well. He requests that Valjean use the silver to “become an honest man” (34).
“Jean Valjean, my brother, you belong no longer to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I am buying for you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!” (34).
--The Bishop
During Enjolras' revolution, Gavroche joins the older boys at the barricade where assists by identifying Javert as a spy and delivering a message to Cosette.
Upon his return, Gavroche begins collecting bullet cartidges on the street while sharpshooters from the French army begin shooting at him. Fearlessly, Gavroche begins singing a song and dodging the bullets being shot at him.
"Gavroche had fallen only to rise again; he sat up, a long stream of blood rolled down his face, he raised both arms in the air, looked in the direction whence the shot came, and began to sing:... He did not finish. A second ball from the same marksman cut him short. This time he fell with his face upon the pavement and did not stir again. That great little soul had taken flight" (487-88).
--Victor Hugo
Years later, living in the Gorbeau tenements, Eponine assists her father in begging for money. She goes next-door to ask Marius for money.
Eponine helps Marius by finding where Cosette lives.
She is present at the barricade and saves Marius from being shot. When he finds her dying on the ground, she delivers a letter to him from Cosette and requests that he kiss her forehead after she dies.
...she slowly opened her eyes in which the gloomy deepness of death appeared, and said to him with an accent the sweetness of which already seemed to come from another world:
"And then, do you know, Monsieur Marius, I believe I was a little in love with you."
She essayed to smile again and expired.
--Victor Hugo
When Valjean arrives to save Cosette, Thénardier falsely acts like he cannot part with her as he debates with Valjean for the price to take Cosette away.
In the Gorbeau tenements, Thénardier and his family survive by begging for money under different aliases.
Thénardier opens the exit door of the sewers of France for Valjean as Valjean carries Marius to safety. Since he assumes Valjean to be a murderer, Thénardier takes part of Marius' coat as a piece of evidence. He later arrives at Marius' house to accuse Valjean of murder, but Marius realizes the truth and literally throws money at Thénardier as he tells him to sail to America.
When Valjean unknowingly comes to help him, Thénardier sets up a trap for Valjean with the help of a group named Patron-Minette. Thanks to Marius, Javert arrests Thénardier and Patron-Minette. However, later, with the help of Gavroche, the captured men escape from prison.
"Let us finish with this man at once. Two days after the events which we are now relating, he left, through Marius' care, for America, under a false name, with his daughter Azelma, provided with a draft upon New York for twenty thousand francs. Thénardier, the moral misery of the Thénardier, the broken-down boureois, was irremediable; he was in America what he had been in Europe. The touch of a wicedma if often enough to corrupt a good deed and to make an evil result spring from it. With Marius' money, Thénardier became a slaver."
-Victor Hugo
"Pardon me, I am here. My heart is bursting. I could not live as I was, I have come. Have you read what I placed there, on this seat? Do you recognize me at all? Do not be afraid of me. It is a long tine now. Do you remember the day when you looked upon me? It was at the Luxembourg
near the Gladiator. And the day when you passed before me? Ot was the 16th of June and the 2nd of July. It will soon be a year. For a very long time now, I have not seen you at all. At night, I come here. Do not be afraid; nobody sees me. I come for a near look at your windows. I walk very softly that you may not hear, for perhaps you would be afraid. Once I heard you sing. I was happy. Does it disturb you that I should hear you sing through the shutter? It can do you no harm. It cannot, can it? See, you are my angel, let me come sometimes; I believe I am going to die. If you but knew! I adore you! Pardon me, I am talking to you, I do not know what I am saying to you, perhaps, I annoy you; do I annoy you?"
-Marius Pontmercy
"Who is there?"
At the same time they heard the click of the leveled muskets.
Enjolras answered in a lofty and ringing tone:
"French Revolution!"
-Victor Hugo
Quotation References:
Javert's quote can be found on page 531.
"Jean Valjean took Fantine's head in his hands and
arranged it on the pillow, as a mother would have done for her child, then fastened the string of her nightdress, and replaced her hair beneath her cap. This done, he closed her eyes.
The face of Fantine, at this instant, seemed strangely illumined.
Death is the entrance into the great light."
-Victor Hugo
"...it seemed to him that it was no longer the same girl. The woman whom he now saw was a noble, beautiful creature, with all the most bewitching outlines of woman, at the precise moment at which they are yet combined with all the most charming graces of childhood--that pure and fleeting moment which can only be translated by these two words: sweet fifteen."
-Victor Hugo
Fantine's quote can be found on page 134.
Cosette's quote can be found on pages 270-217.
"Cosette and Marius fell on their knees,
overwhelemed, choked with tears, each graspin one of Jean Valjean's hands. Those august hands moved no more.
He had fallen backward, the light from the candlesticks fell upon him; his white face looked up toward heaven, he let Cosette and Marius cover his hands with kisses; he was dead.
The night was starless and very dark. Without doubt, in the gloom some
mighty angel was standing, with outstretched wings, awaiting the soul."
-Victor Hugo
Valjean's quote can be found on page 594.
Marius meets Cosette during his walks along the Luxembourg. Though she disappears for a time, Marius sees her again when her father and she appear at the Thénardiers house. Having overheard the plans, Marius informs Inspector Javert concerning Thénardier's plan to sabotage Valjean.
Eponine leads him to Cosette's house where the two meet until Cosette informs him of her father's plans to leave. Marius goes to his grandfather's house to ask permission to make Cosette his wife; however, when he returns, Cosette has left.
He goes to the barricade where many die. Although he also receives a wound, Valjean carries him through the sewers. After his recovery, he marries Cosette and later listens as Valjean explains why he must go away.
After Thénardier accuses Valjean of being a murderer, Marius realizes that Valjean saved him and rushes
Cosette to Valjean's deathbed.
He is one of the initiators of a small revolution after General Lamarque's death. The people build a barricade, and the French army comes to surpress the citizens.
Ultimately, the barricade falls and the soldiers shoot Enjolras and Grantaire die side-by-side.
Thénardier's quote can be found on page 586.
Madame Thénardier's quote can be found on page 303.
Eponine's quote can be found on page 455.
Gavroche's quote can be found on pages 487-488
The Bishop's quote can be found on page 34.
Marius' quote can be found on pages 368-369.
Enjolras' quote can be found on page 443.
"'I tell you it is she. You will see.'
At this absolute affirmation, the woman raised her big red
and blonde face and looked at the ceiling with a hideous expression. At that moment she appeared to Marius still more terrible than her husband. She was a swine with the look of a tigress.
'What!' she resumed. 'This horrible beautiful young lady who looked at my girls with the appearance of pity, can she be that beggar!'"
Reflection for Assignment: My initial goal for Prezi that I wrote down reads: “I would like to become more proficient in using Prezi. Actually, before taking this class. I had never even heard of Prezi.” Now, that goal is not actually clear at all. What I really meant by this statement was more akin to: “I would like to learn how Prezi works, how I may navigate the website, and how to create projects in the program myself.” I began by watching tutorial videos found on Prezi’s website to understand the purpose of the program. I read several articles and watched tutorials before actually working with the program instead of figuring out the program through trial and error. I learned the importance of pre-planning the canvas and minimizing the camera bouncing from frame to frame. In addition, learning how to create invisible frames and use a few of the shortcut keys really helped me out.Practically, I learned to be careful when choosing an idea. In Luke 14:28-30, Jesus says, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” In the beginning, I wanted to create a character description of the Les Misérables characters and include elements of symbolism present in their lives. I ended up revising my goal to be only the character descriptions, but I decided not to use citations. Even so, it probably took me at least fifteen hours or more to complete. Still, I really enjoyed learning how to use Prezi.
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