thjazi: Sketch of goofy smiling Enjolras (Default)
[personal profile] thjazi
Wow it's really quiet around here.




(it's either that or I start trying to talk about Communion Meal parallels between dinner at the Bishop's and breakfast at the Corinth which is admittedly my current focus but I'm not sure how to even launch into that)

(if this were Tumblr I could tagnatter as I flee but it's not so BALL'S IN YOUR COURT GEN)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
I have been unexpectedly finding myself spending a lot of brain-cycles on Montparnasse lately (possibly I have found my inner homicidal teenager at last) and I keep getting stuck on the Montparnasse/Eponine relationship.

A lot of the recent meta I've seen, and to some extent Hugo as well, implies that it's at least somewhat transactional, that Thenardier has essentially sold his daughter to Patron-Minette in exchange for favor - the "unofficial son-in-law" bit and so on - but the problem is, I can't figure out what Montparnasse would be getting out of it, in that case.

Thenardier is shown as being at best incompetent as a criminal and mostly peripheral to Patron-Minette, who are the premier criminals of Paris, and Montparnasse clearly doesn't give two shakes about Thenardier's criminal career, given he skips out on the kidnapping to canoodle with Eponine, so it's not about having Thenardier attached to the gang. Is he really so desperate to have a place to dip his wick that he's willing to be saddled with Thenardier deciding he's a son-in-law? He's the dandy of the sepulchre and she's canonically described as unattractive at that point; surely he can find someone to tumble who doesn't have an annoying father tagging along after.

So this leaves me with a couple thoughts on what the basis of their relationship might actually be, that line up more or less as:

1. Montparnasse is a lot of things, but he's also a teenage boy, and makes stupid decisions when it comes to sex: he really is just that desperate to dip his wick.
2. Hugo has no clue what he's talking about re: the relative power structures between Thenardier and Patron-Minette and we should look closer at what *happens* in those scenes rather than what Hugo tells us to figure out how they work.
3. Hugo has no clue and Eponine is actually objectively beautiful and a total catch by the standards of the underworld, fuck you and your equating virtue with beauty, Hugo.
4. Montparnasse wants Eponine for her own sake, for some reason or another, and M. Thenardier is only relevant to it to the extent that Montparnasse is willing to put up with him in order to get access to his daughter.
5. Montparnasse isn't actually interested in girls at all but needs to appear so because of Things, so having an arrangement with Thenardier via his daughter is a low-effort way to keep up appearances.

I was shoveling show this afternoon thinking about this, and I found myself intrigued by two directions those thoughts took me:

First, that Thenardier is clearly pretty terrible at the kind of crime Patron-Minette does - the violent kidnapping of Valjean is basically a farce from beginning to end, as is the planned robbery at the Rue Plumet - but that doesn't seem to be his specialty: his specialty, from what we can see, is running low-stakes con jobs, and in particular, writing letters. And suddenly it occurred to me that it makes sense that Thenardier's value to Patron-Minette is literacy: he reads and writes, and this gives him access to stuff that most people in that stratum don't have access to, and it's his reading and writing that he's depending on for his income, when we see him in Paris.

And Eponine reads and writes, too, and we see her being pitifully proud of her ability when she shows it off to Marius. Maybe what Montparnasse sees in Eponine is somebody who will provide him access to the world of literacy (...and as a bonus is also a not-terrible lay.)

But the other thing I was thinking about is that there's really only one character other than himself that Montparnasse shows any respect at all for, and that's Gavroche. It's pretty clear that Montparnasse knows very well that Gavroche is Eponine's sister and Thenardier's son even if Thenardier forgets sometimes, and he seems to have a sort of nostalgic brotherly relationship with him, to the extent that Montparnasse is capable of having an emotional relationship with anything other than his own wardrobe.

Bearing in mind that Montparnasse is within a couple of years of Eponine's age, it seems reasonable within the book's portrayal that Montparnasse has known the Thenardier kids since before he was the Dandy of the Sepulchre, that he first met them when he was a ragged street kid Gavroche's age, and I have visions of baby Montparnasse showing off for the new girls by teaching them the ways of the street and their first words of argot. He's not Thenardier's unofficial son-in-law because of the sexual relationship with Eponine, he's Thenardier's son-in-law because he's been a sort of a sibling to the Thenardier kids since he was small, and he's with Eponine because he and Eponine grew up together and fell into it naturally.

Weirdly, while Montparnasse is unquestionably a terrible, amoral person who is violent and probably sociopathic and exceptionally self-absorbed and certainly not relationship material, he does seem to have a sort of something resembling loyalty toward the people he considers his, even if he doesn't actually respect anyone but Gavroche: and that group seems to include basically just Patron-Minette and the Thenardiers. I feel like that's something I need to figure out before I can figure out Montparnasse as a character.

genarti: Fountain pen lying on blank paper, nib in close focus. ([misc] ink on the page)
[personal profile] genarti
Okay, I have a question for the Catholics and/or historical scholars around these parts! I am working on a fic, and the one scene that's keeping it from being finished is hung up on the fact that I know nothing about what confession would have been like for a Sister of Charity in France in the 1820s. I don't mean the exact rite -- I can find the Latin, but I can also write around that part; what I need to figure out are the relevant attitudes.

Google is no help, or I am insufficiently good at Google, because all I can find are a) very general modern explanations of confession, or b) equally modern encouragements for Catholics to go to confession more often. And being raised Episcopalian is in this case no use at all. So I turn to fandom at large.

My question is, of course, about Sister Simplice. My story picks up right after she tells her one major lie on Valjean's behalf, and covers some time afterwards, and it necessarily involves her going directly to talk to the curé of the parish about Valjean's money and Fantine and so forth. I don't need to write the confession scene, necessarily, but I need to know if she would have immediately taken confession about her lie, or what.

How does this work if you repent the sin but don't regret the act? What counts as contrition for this purpose? Are there other dimensions to consider in the church structure, with a non-cloistered nun and a parish priest, which would affect the timing or the fact of the confession? HOW DOES THIS WORK I DON'T KNOOOOW. I don't need 100% certainty, but I do need general plausibility, and I don't feel at all secure about what is and isn't plausible. All assistance gratefully welcomed! (All tangents also welcomed, on general principles.)
genarti: Valjean holding the Bishop's candlesticks, looking mulish and bewildered, with text "I have bought your soul for God." ([les mis] the wages of sin)
[personal profile] genarti
This is a crosspost from tumblr, edited slightly to be a coherent single post instead of a reblogging reply. (There's a thing called Brick!Club which is people reading through the book, one chapter per week, and blogging about their thoughts and meta and so forth; this comes from that.) The question that spurred it was about the fact that Valjean stays (reluctantly) in the honeymoon suite at the Thénardiers' inn when he comes to retrieve Cosette. The gist was (from [ profile] vivelafizz and [ profile] pilferingapples) along the lines of "Oh geez, does that mean what I think it means, if so that's UNNECESSARY AND SKEEVY, HUGO."

And then I waxed long-winded in reply, and thought it might be worth porting over here too:

My long-winded rambling musings on the subject of nuptial symbolism here )


Jun. 29th, 2013 01:23 pm
miss_morland: (capable of being terrible)
[personal profile] miss_morland
I normally don't pay much attention to genderswap (nothing against it, just not a trope that grabs me), but it occurred to me that it might be interesting to discuss what various Les Mis characters would be like if genderswapped -- they are all shaped by their circumstances, but how would different circumstances (due to different gender roles) affect them? Would they still be recognisable as their canon selves?

For instance, 63!Valjean would not have been sent to a bagne. Would she end up spending 19 years in prison? Would she be able to build a Madeleine-like life for herself with the aid of the Bishop's silver? (I'm not up on the French rules for unmarried women owning property during this period.) 63!Fantine is hard for me to imagine to begin with, because Fantine's storyline is so specifically about the unfair way society treats unmarried women -- though I think I could believe in a story about 63!Fantine being a poor youth taking care of his little sister and being forced to become a male prostitute, if done well.

As for 63!Javert, I can see her turning into a typical stern spinster -- the sort who keeps a sharp eye on troublemakers and delinquents in her neighbourhood -- earning her daily bread in some low-paying but honest job. I'm not sure it would occur to her that a woman could join the police, because Javert is so preoccupied with following the norms of "respectable society"; the thought of a woman passing as a man and doing a man's work would probably shock her, though I think it's definitely an interesting scenario.

These are just some examples, though I'd love to see others. Also, these are just some hasty thoughts; feel free to disagree or elaborate!
stripysockette: (Default)
[personal profile] stripysockette

A little piece of meta on the necessity of Enjolras's death under the cut.

Read more... )

skygiants: Enjolras from Les Mis shouting revolution-tastically (la resistance lives on)
[personal profile] skygiants
So I keep wondering why Enjolras expects Marius to show up and be helpful in the Barriere du Maine scene; after all, we're told that after the Great Napoleon Debacle, Marius essentially storms off in a huff and never goes back to revolutionland again. Also, he is Marius. Myself, I can think of about four reasons:

1. Unreliable/ambiguous narrator: Marius had been hanging out with the gang before Napoleongate way more than the text implies.

2. Marius has not been hanging out with the gang, but Courfeyrac trusts him enough that he asks him to run errands sometimes when it would be useful to have an unfamiliar face show up, which he does because of the debt he feels he owes Courfeyrac, and Enjolras interprets this as Marius being way more interested in revolution than he actually is. This would actually be an interesting fic-premise -- Marius Pontmercies his way through a revolutionary errand he knows nothing about; hijinks ensue!

3. Enjolras really is JUST THAT DESPERATE. Maybe all the redshirt revolutionaries have gone home for the summer holidays. Or are dying of cholera.

4. Enjolras is not actually talking about our Marius at all, but about a friend of his named Jean or Pierre or Guifford Marius. Jean Marius has been very lax about showing up to meetings recently and we are VERY DISAPPOINTED in him.
lannamichaels: "Orestes fasting. Pylades drunk." (les mis - orestes pylades)
[personal profile] lannamichaels
I've got a weekend family thing happening, so naturally I want to bring the Brick with me and hopefully finish the parts of it I haven't read yet. I've been reading the Hapgood translation on Project Gutenburg, but that's an ebook. I've got the following dead tree translations on hold at the library and was wondering which is considered the best/you like better?

  • Charles E. Wilbour
  • Julie Rose
  • Norman Denny
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
I have just conquered Waterloo!

What Hugo seems to be trying to say in these chapters, as best I can tell (in that he says it outright over and over in slightly different words, although this being Hugo he also says many other things some of which are contradictory) is that the outcome of the battle was due, not to one general being better than another or one army being stronger, but due to the fact that Fate had turned against Napoleon (fate/destiny/luck/the will of God/natural law/the Force/narrative causality/the balance of the universe/whatever you want to call it.)

And ignoring if I can the question of actual reality - which apparently has only a loose relationship to Hugo's Waterloo anyway - I am fascinated by this argument, and especially the way we get it right after Valjean's desperate ride to Arras. )

Anyway! I have many thoughts on Waterloo! Does anyone have any thoughts on Waterloo to share?

(Also other people should post other stuff to this comm or else it'll just be me going on about Waterloo until I'm worse than Victor Hugo! I can post on Waterloo all week if you make me. I HAVE THE MATERIAL.)


les_miserables: Cosette with a tricolor background, ie the musical logo (Default)
Let's all be miserable together!

May 2014



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