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Question about Les Miserables?

Enjolras says, "This barricade is made neither of paving stones, not of timbers, not of iron; it is made of two mounds, a mound of ideas and a mound of sorrows." Choose 2 of the characters who exemplify this statement and explain why they became invovled in the uprising at the barricade.

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    I'm taking "mound of ideas" to mean hopes and dreams and "mound of sorrows" to mean the crashing down of those dreams...

    Eponine - dreams of a better life materially, a relationship with Marius, and she believes those will bring her happiness. It doesn't, and she dies...

    Fantine - before her summer fling and subsequent pregnancy and fall into the destitution of prostitution, Fantine dreams of a happily-ever-after life with her soldier lover. He goes away, she gives up that dream, falls on bad-luck after bad-luck, loses her child, her means for caring for said child or herself, loses her dignity, loses her health, and finally, loses her life.

    These are the two sorriest characters in the story, without a doubt. Even Valjean is free at the end, and he enjoys privilege for a good while.

    Les Miserables is a masterful story, and although it does let loose the idea of hope, every instance of hope is surrounded by misfortune, sacrifice and sorrow. It's probably much closer to reality than many other stories in the same genre.

    Edit: oops, didn't read the last part of the question...Eponine becomes involved in the uprising because she's in love with Marius. Fantine is not directly involved in the uprising, so...

    OK, let's stretch - her indirect involvement is to inspire Valjean to, out of compassion, care for and raise Cosette. Cosette falls in love with Marius, and it is this love that inspires Marius to be brave and stand up for his beliefs and go out to fight in the uprising. It is Fantine's life of constant and complete sacrifice that has far-reaching effects on many characters, thereby indirectly affecting their decisions to participate in the uprising, case in point, the Thenardiers - at first they profit from Fantine's misfortunes, but later it comes back and bites them in the butt when Valjean rescues Cosette from their cruel tutelage. They fall into misfortune and end up in Paris at the time of the uprising - if that hadn't happened, they never would have had to live in Paris, Eponine would never have been there, and never would have died in the uprising.

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