Free Study Guide for Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: "Les Mis"|
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LES MISERABLES: BOOK REPORT / ONLINE BOOK REVIEW
Although Marius thinks he has been clever enough to prevent discovery, the
man moves his and the girl’s sitting places close to the opposite end
of the popular walking area and he begins to come without the girl on
occasion. However, Valjean is trying to see to just what extent Marius
will follow. When Marius approaches if Cosette is there and keeps a greater
distance if it is just Valjean, Valjean feels that he has caught Marius
in the act of trying to flirt with Cosette. Soon Valjean and Cosette move
away, and leave no forwarding address.
The two stars are of course Marius and Cosette. Hugo includes a bit
of the comic in the naivete of the two young people. Marius pretends to
look at a book but Valjean sees through the ruse. Marius makes a fool
of himself in his precautions against discovery which actually do more
to reveal his intentions than if he had acted normally. Cosette, too,
is given an opportunity to play just a bit of the coquette. Before Valjean
brings the daily visits to a halt, Cosette makes a move by walking past
Marius and catching his eye. Cosette is becoming a young lady, is aware
of her charms and has very little opportunity to deploy them. The innocence
of the two make their “affair” both childishly sweet and romantically
We get a brief look at the dark side of Paris; according to the narrator,
“the only social peril is darkness.” A quartet of bandits named Claquesous,
Gueulemer, Babet, and Montparnasse rule the slums from 1830 to 1835. These
men call themselves the Patron-Minette and use a large variety of pseudonyms
both to carry out their own crimes and to hire out their services to anyone
who is willing to pay for a crime he or she wants committed. The prime
importance of this group is that Thenardier eventually uses their service
and finally joins them.
The existence of the criminal element brings in a little more of the Parisian
culture. The criminal underworld horrified the people of Paris even as
it intrigued them. Almost anyone could be a part of it due to the ease
with which people could disguise themselves and take on multiple identities.
Certain individuals, however, seem to have developed a pattern which police
began to recognize, and which individuals like Thenardier saw as an invitation
for a life of profitable crime for themselves. The idea of profit was
an illusion however; Thenardier, once he has lost his business, never
has anything else to show for himself.
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Ruff, Dr. Karen S. C., D. A.. "TheBestNotes on Les Miserables".
. 09 May 2017