Friday, January 18, 2013

Le Caractére de Jean Valjean

        In all of literature and stage their are few characters who can match the character displayed by Jean Valjean in Les Miserable.  His begins the story as a recently released convict who is shunned everywhere he goes because of his criminal record which he gained merely for stealing a loaf of bread.  He is hardened by the world, and even after he is taken in by a priest he dcideds to steal all the holy man's sliver.  However, he is quickly caught and brought back before the priest, and a life in prison seems almost certain.  Instead, in an act of incredible grace the priest says that he gave him the silver.  Moved and transformed by this act of kindness, Jean Valjean decides to change his ways and live a life that will honor God.  

       From that point on he never fails to display a loving and forgiving spirit.  After a worker in his factory, Fontine, dies, he takes it upon himself to take care of her daughter.  The loss of her job at the factory had made Fontine turn to prostitution in order to support her daughter, and it is Jean Valjean alone who has compassion for her.  After learning it was her unfair firing from his own factory that led her to this life, Jean Valjean feels responsible for the daughter, Cossette, that she leaves behind.  For the rest of his life Jean Valjean does everything he can to provide I good life for Cossette, even if it means disregarding all of his personal welfare.
        At the same time he is being pursued by Inspector Javert, a lawman obsessed with arresting Jean Valjean for breaking his parole.  Javert's refusal to forgive directly contrasts Jean Valjean's compassionate nature.  Jean Valjean also tried to give himself up to be arrested after learning a man would be arrested for his crimes, when he could have said nothing and gotten off scott free, and would have done so were not for his commitment to taking care of Cossette.  Jean Valjean's ultimate act of kindness comes when he spares the life of Javert.  Javert even promises he will continue to pursue him if his life is spared, but Jean Valjean lets him go anyway.  These acts of love and forgiveness make Jean Valjean a character that will live on for generations in the minds of viewers of the play and movie, as well as readers of the book.  I thought Hugh Jackman's portrayal of the character was masterful.  He did a brilliant job of expressing the character's raw emotion and pain.  It's a performance he may and probably should win an Academy award for.

                My soul belongs to God, I know I made that bargain long ago. He gave me hope, when hope was gone. He gave me strength to journey on.

This quote from the song "Who am I?" shows Jan Valjean's commitment to doing what is right, even if it means a return to jail.  His new found loving and kind spirit cannot allow him let an innocent man go to jail in his stead, even though he has done no real wrong either.

Le Luttes de Jean Valjean - Chad Hunter

Le luttes de Jean Valjean

Jean Valjean is the protagonists of Victor Hugo's 1862 story called Les Misérables. Hugo depicts the character's nineteen year long struggle to lead a normal life after serving a prison sentence for stealing bread to feed his starving family during a time of economic depression. Valjean, while on the run, meets a woman named Fantine who became a prostitute to take care of her daughter. She becomes very ill and before she dies he promises her that he will take care of her daughter. Throughout the story a Police Inspector named Javert repeatedly encounters Valjean and attempts to return him to prison. After eight years of being on the run, Valjean becomes a mayor and then changes his name to Monsieur Madeleine. The story ends with Javert killing himself and Jean Valjean dying as an almost saint. I definitely think Javerts death was influenced by Valjean because Javert could not handle the mercy that Valjean showed to him.

Jean Valjean's overall character overview was that he was a good and a bad character. This is because in the beginning he was a criminal and hated the world because he thought the world owed him something. He then turns into a good character when he is on the run and becomes humble, giving, and sincere. This was a very important thing to notice in the novel because the whole thing is based around how he changed from bad to good.

This is a picture of Javert (left) and JeanValjean (right) when Valjean was on the run and at the time the mayor.

Le Courageux Gavroche

    Gavroche, a character in Les Misérables, leads a brief but significant life. He is the oldest son of the Thénardiers and has two sisters and two brothers. The parents are not pleasant to him and encourage him to become a street urchin at a very young age. There are many children without homes in France during this period of the early 1800’s. Gavroche and other young kids sleep in an unfinished elephant-shaped statue that Napoleon had started building.
     Gavroche is quite a different child from so many of his street companions. Throughout the movie, Gavroche displays his character of helpfulness and cheerfulness to everyone. He takes a note from Marius to Cosette although he knows little about their relationship. Gavroche just realizes how important it is for Marius to get his letter delivered to Cosette, and he readily offers to do so.  During the delivery of the letter, Gavroche meets Jean Valjean. Jean Valjean advises Gavroche to stay away from the revolutionaries so he would not get himself killed. The two do not meet again until the end is near.
     Gavroche never appears sad and is quite inspirational to others. He is always willing to help and goes out of his way to accommodate the needs of those less fortunate than even he. His demeanour is one of cheerfulness, and he never appears to think of himself as a “victim”. One would never classify Gavroche as a “normal” street person.
     Gavroche’s character represents courage and fortitude. He willingly gives his all to help others and to fight for the rights of the people during the French Revolution. It is reported that he died on June 5th of 1832. His age at the time of death is estimated to be 12- 13 years old. Gavroche fought side by side with many other students in Paris, and when the ammunition was gone, he gallantly risks his life to retrieve ammo from the fallen enemy soldiers. While doing so, true to his nature, he sings an uplifting tune as though he doesn’t fear the inevitable.
     From beginning to end, Gavroche displays an even-keeled, uplifting nature. He brings spirit and hope to everyone around him. His character is very noble and inspiring without being showy. His actions are motivated from his heart and not from a need for personal gain or recognition. Gavroche represents what everyone should strive to be, a generous individual who selflessly gives his all for the betterment of those around him. Gavroche represents the ultimate sacrifice for freedom of many innocent people during the French Revolution.

"And little people know, when little people fight, we may look easy pickings but we've got some bite! So never kick a dog because he's just a pup - we'll fight like twenty armies and we won't give up. So you'd better run for cover when the pup grows up!"

Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People

Gavroche was chosen to resemble the young boy in Liberty Leading the People.


Les Mis

“C’est une terrible chose d’être heureux”
“It is a terrible thing to be happy.”

Je pense que la citation de Les mis parle d’aider les autres personnes avant vous vous aidez. Si vous aidez les personne avant vous vous aidez vous êtes une bonne personne. Il pourrait ne pas vous laisser aller après vos rêves. Il parle aussi comment si vous êtes content vous pouvez être égoïste. Voulez-vous aider les personne qui ont besoin d’aide ou voulez-vous vous aider?

Cette citation pourrait s'appliquer à Jean Valjean. Après sa révélation avec l'évêque à l'église, Jean Valjean commença à mettre les autres avant ses besoins. Il a fait rien des choses d’aider les autres personnes. Il ne pense pas à son bonheur. Il se rappelait les difficultés de sa vie avant rencontre avec l'évêque.

Cette citation pourrait s'appliquer à tout le monde. Nous continuons à chercher pour le bonheur. Nous avons fou parce que nous n'arrêtons pas de. Nous ne serons jamais satisfaits parce que nous voulons toujours plus.

Overall, the movie was pretty good. I haven’t read the books or seen any of the other versions of Les Mis, so I have nothing to compare it to. The first half of the movie was tolerable, but the second half never seemed to end. While I was watching Les Mis, it seemed to go on infinitely. I really liked Jean Valjean. He showed endless mercy to every one. The scene that moved me the most was when Eponine died in Marius’s arms because it was so sad and she seemed so happy with saving him.  I do not like musicals but the music in this one wasn’t bad at all. I really liked the song in the beginning with Jean Valjean when he was pulling a ship as a prisoner. I also liked the song in the scene Fantene cut her hair and had her teeth pulled. I learned that the revolutions led to counter revolutions and unsuccessful monarchs and leaders. I noticed the revolutionary’s color was red. 

Les Misérables: Eponine le mal-aimé

     As a young girl, Eponine is spoiled by her mother and father who are innkeepers living in France. She has a younger brother Gavroche whom we do not know is her brother (in the movie), and Cosette who lives with their family. She was always wearing the highest quality of clothing but since her parents were thieves, they could not afford those kinds of things forever. They get kicked out of their inn and move to Paris to live in the streets there where they continue to con people out of money.
     When Eponine gets older, she is a young woman, very thin and apart of the rebellion. She represents poverty and hard times of common people in that time period. She also represents tragedy because she is in love with Marius but he does not feel the same way about her. She is willing to do just about anything and follow him anywhere but he never sees her as more than just a friend. I thought her death was sadder than any other one because she has to die not knowing or being loved by her parents or  Marius. Shes dying because she saved someone else. Dying for someone you love is the ultimate sacrifice but to him she was just a friend. She wishes they could be together but knows  it will never happen.
     Eponine influences Marius because she knows who Cosette is and helps him to find her. As Cosette and Marius fall in love, Eponine is left to watch them on the street brokenhearted. She saves Marius from being shot in the movie and he holds her as she dies. She is able to finally tell him that she loves him and sings "a little fall of rain" with him. Right before she dies she is able to let go of the letter that Cosette wrote to him because she only wants him to be happy even if that means not loving her back. Eponine always had the best intentions and was mainly good. She was always getting the short end of things no matter how hard she tried. At least in her death Marius is there to comfort her and tell her that she is loved. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Barricades de la Révolution Française

Barricades were first implemented in Paris, of course, when Parisians rebelled against King Henry III in 1588 on the Day of the Barricades. The people littered the streets with so much debris that the king’s troops could not march to their destination. The debris’ intended purpose was to mock the king by trashing the streets, but it served as a military device hindering troops from reaching their positions quickly.

Since that day, the knowledge and success of barricades spread throughout France and the rest of Europe. Barricades were the popular tool used by the revolting peasants The peasants would gather anything they could find to construct these big impediments. They would throw chairs, tables, doors, etc. into a huge pile creating a big obstruction that would force troops to find another way to march to their destination or be forced to spend days deconstructing it. Either way, barricades resulted in delaying troops from reaching their target. Barricades would never completely prevent troops from advancing but they would deferral the troops so that the rebels could regroup and plan an attack.

Barricades had a deeper meaning in revolutions like the French Revolution in Les Misérables. In these battles, they represent all the peasants have is being used to revolt against the king. The peasants and lower class are so opposed to the king that they would use literally everything they own to get rid of him. The barricade in Les Mis is a prime example of that fact. All the people’s belongings went into making that barricade. They didn’t care what happened to their stuff as long as the king was overthrown. They were so intent on getting rid on the king they would do anything like throw away all their possessions.

In modern day warfare, barricades are not used very much. As war progressed and evolved, trenches replaced barricades because they accomplished the task of impeding troops without all the raw materials. Basically, all trenches required were shovels. In this day and age of technology, wars are fought over long distances through missiles and aerial assaults, with no need for barricades.