Les Miserables

Les Miserables

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Cosette’s mother, a young, sweet girl from the provinces who is naïve and innocent. She falls into a love affair with Tholomyes and is ultimately betrayed by him and left with a child. This one event ends up causing her downfall, as she is fired from a factory when people find out about her bastard child, and she is forced to be a prostitute in order to support herself and her daughter. The narrator portrays Fantine as emblematic of social wretchedness, especially as it relates to women, and especially when it results from lack of compassion in society.
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Fantine Character Timeline in Les Miserables

The timeline below shows where the character Fantine appears in Les Miserables. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Volume 1, Book 3: In the Year 1817
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...bad. Their names are Felix Tholomyes, Listolier, Fameuil, and Blancheville, and each takes a mistress: Fantine, Dahlia, Zephine, and Favourite, respectively. The latter three are older and more experienced, while Fantine... (full context)
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...the west of Paris. They’re all in a good mood, beaming with youth and beauty. Fantine in particular is splendid-looking, with rosy lips, thick blond hair, an easy laugh, and a... (full context)
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Chapter 4 The other girls are open to the kisses of all the boys, but Fantine only has eyes for Tholomyes. After breakfast the party goes to see a newly arrived... (full context)
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...and he idolizes them all—he heaps compliments on each one of the four, saying of Fantine that she is a dreamer of youthful freshness, but that she does not see how... (full context)
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...Blancheville begins to sing, and Tholomyes proposes a toast to merriness. He calls out to Fantine to embrace him, but makes a mistake and embraces Favourite instead. (full context)
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...and the cart comes to a halt. Tholomyes sings out an ironic mourning song, as Fantine sighs, “Poor horse,” and the others laugh at her. It’s time for the surprise, Tholomyes... (full context)
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...the Champs-Elysées. They amuse themselves by watching the passers-by, the other women making fun of Fantine, who is awed by the simplest things. Then the waiter from dinner enters, saying he... (full context)
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...that it’s a funny farce, and quite the adventure. They burst out laughing, and while Fantine laughs too, she later weeps: Tholomyes was her first lover, and now she is pregnant... (full context)
Volume 1, Book 4: To Confide is Sometimes to Deliver Into a Person’s Power
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It is Fantine—still beautiful despite her wretchedness. In the months after Tholomyes had left, Fantine had lost her... (full context)
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Fantine had stopped before the vision of the two swinging girls and noticed how happy they... (full context)
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After a night spent at the inn, Fantine leaves in the morning, weeping. Thenardier (the husband) congratulates his wife, saying that he lacked... (full context)
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Chapter The Thenardiers promptly use all Fantine’s money to pay off their debts, and then begin to consider Cosette as a charity... (full context)
Volume 1, Book 5: The Descent
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Chapter 1 Meanwhile, Fantine has returned to M.-sur-M., which, while she’d been away, had grown from wretched to prosperous.... (full context)
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...possible. Meanwhile, the tax collection begins to increase exponentially—the sign of a prosperous place. When Fantine returns, she’s admitted to the women’s workroom and begins to earn her living. (full context)
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Chapter 8 The ability to earn her keep makes Fantine enormously happy, and she thinks only of Cosette and their future. She writes often, which... (full context)
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...wholly on the superintendent of the women’s workroom. No one in the neighborhood will hire Fantine as a servant, and her furniture dealer says that if she leaves he’ll have her... (full context)
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Chapter 10 In winter, lack of light means that Fantine earns too little. She has her hair cut off for 10 francs to buy a... (full context)
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Fantine works 17 hours a day for nearly nothing. She feels hunted, and finally, when Thenardier... (full context)
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Chapter 11 The narrator says that Fantine’s story is one of society purchasing a slave: prostitution pits man’s disgrace against woman’s grace... (full context)
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...12 It’s January 1823 and a man named M. Bamatabois is amusing himself by following Fantine up the street, making fun of her ugliness and heaping insults on her. Finally, he... (full context)
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Chapter 13 Upon arriving at the station, Fantine crouches down like a frightened dog. It’s a rare occasion for Javert to seem troubled... (full context)
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As the soldiers drag Fantine back up, the mayor—having slipped in without anyone’s notice—asks for a moment. Fantine laughs hysterically... (full context)
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...If she is telling the truth, he says, she has never ceased to be virtuous. Fantine can only exclaim, “Oh!” and then she faints. (full context)
Volume 1, Book 6: Javert
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Madeleine brings Fantine into the infirmary, and then goes out to make inquiries. When she awakens, he tells... (full context)
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Initially, the women in the infirmary are loath to take care of Fantine, but her humility and gentleness wins them over. However, she does not seem to be... (full context)
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...and failed in his duty, and he should be turned out. After the scene with Fantine, Javert says, he had informed against the mayor at the Prefecture of Police in Paris—due... (full context)
Volume 1, Book 7: The Champmathieu Affair
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Chapter 1 On the afternoon following his visit with Javert, Madeleine goes to see Fantine, and summons Sister Simplice, a gentle, austere old woman, known for never having told a... (full context)
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...stupor, finally recalling that he had resolved to inform against himself, before suddenly thinking of Fantine. (full context)
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Fantine adds a wrinkle to the ethics of Valjean’s plan—in fact, he’s been egotistical in only... (full context)
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Chapter 6 Fantine, on the other hand, feels joyful, despite having a painful night. She continually asks to... (full context)
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...usher through to the judge’s chamber—the entry to the courtroom. He looks around, thinking of Fantine and Cosette. He gazes at the door to the courtroom, terrified, and then suddenly wheels... (full context)
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M. Bamatabois (the dandy tormenting Fantine earlier) is one of the jurors, but Valjean cannot see Javert. The defense has just... (full context)
Volume 1, Book 8: A Counter-blow
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As the next day dawns, Valjean returns to Fantine. Sister Simplice says that Fantine will be upset not to see Cosette. Sister Simplice says... (full context)
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Chapter 2 Valjean is rendered speechless by Fantine’s certainty. She asks him again to bring Cosette into the room, but the doctor enters,... (full context)
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Suddenly Fantine turns silent and pale, and as Valjean turns around he sees Javert in the doorway. (full context)
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...sent Javert off to arrest Madeleine. Javert had seemed cool and calm, and upon reaching Fantine’s room his face took on the terrible aspect of the demon who has just found... (full context)
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Chapter 4 Fantine is terrified and shouts to Madeleine to save her, but he tells her that Javert... (full context)
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...a moment, and Javert trembles but stays still. For a few moments, Valjean speaks to Fantine. No one hears him, but to Sister Simplice it seems Fantine’s lips break into a... (full context)
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...and Valjean gives her money and asks her to use it for the funeral of Fantine. (full context)
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The priest responsible for the money that Valjean had given to Sister Simplice for Fantine’s proper burial believed he was doing right in not using all of it, since the... (full context)
Volume 2, Book 3: Accomplishment of the Promise Made to the Dead Woman
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...and Thenardier shivers in pleasure: but he draws out a letter written and signed by Fantine. He is shocked, but soon recovers and says that he must be paid for many... (full context)
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The stranger counts up out loud all the bills that Thenardier had sent to Fantine over the years: he says 1500 francs is more than enough. Thenardier, shocked but still... (full context)
Volume 2, Book 4: The Gorbeau Hovel
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...been mainly acquainted with the malice and misery of society: the fate of women through Fantine, and public authority through Javert. He had attempted to repress any new bitterness at being... (full context)
Volume 2, Book 5: For a Black Hunt, a Mute Pack
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...a child in Montfermeil: a small child named Cosette, the daughter of a woman named Fantine, had been stolen away by a stranger. Javert recognized the name Fantine, and remembered that... (full context)
Volume 3, Book 8: The Wicked Poor Man
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...it was the old man who came to his inn in 1823 and carried off Fantine’s child from him—a sanctimonious child-stealer who stole a girl from whom he could have extracted... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 9: Supreme Shadow, Supreme Dawn
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...forgive the Thenardiers, who were wicked, and he tells her the name of her mother, Fantine, and asks her to remember that name. He tells her to come nearer, and that... (full context)