Les Miserables

Les Miserables

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A convict from a poor provincial family, whose long and torturous transformation amounts to the most significant narrative arc of the novel. The 19 years spent by Valjean in the galleys transform him from a desperate boy into a hardened criminal—revealing, according to Hugo, the social evil of the prison system. Valjean is then transformed by his encounter with the Bishop of D---. After he steals from a small boy once more after that encounter, we never see him commit an evil act again. However, at several points throughout the novel we witness Valjean in severe internal struggle with his own conscience. He is constantly attempting to redeem himself for his past life, and one of the novel’s major questions is whether this is possible, especially because his past life never truly leaves him. He goes by several other names other than his own across the novel: M. Madeleine, Ultime Fauchelevent, and M. Leblanc.

Jean Valjean Quotes in Les Miserables

The Les Miserables quotes below are all either spoken by Jean Valjean or refer to Jean Valjean . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Redemption Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Canterbury Classics edition of Les Miserables published in 2015.
Volume 1, Book 2 Quotes

After having judged society, which had caused his unhappiness, he judged Providence, which had made society, and he condemned it also.

Related Characters: Jean Valjean
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

Jean Valjean had originally been sentenced to prison for stealing a loaf of bread when he was starving; after multiple escape attempts and increasingly harsher sentences, he ultimately served a total of nineteen years in prison. The narrator asks the reader to pause for a moment and consider how Jean Valjean was transformed from a weak, desperate adolescent into a hardened criminal. He traces Valjean's actions over the course of his life, and asks us to seek to understand rather than judge Valjean immediately. Judgment, in fact, is the choice Valjean makes as a result of being disillusioned and hardened in the galleys. The narrator shows how Valjean, while initially acknowledging that he did wrong, came to question the severity of his sentence and, ultimately, to decide that society itself was worthy of condemnation—and, since God created society, Valjean would condemn all of the divine as well.

The narrator has a difficult task here, since it is necessary to show both that there was injustice in the sentencing of Jean Valjean, but also that the proper response to such injustice is mercy rather than further hatred. This second step, we are told, is where Valjean went awry—and yet even so, we as readers are asked not to judge him ourselves, particularly because his situation was so unjust, and because we have yet to get a measure of his true character.

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Volume 1, Book 7 Quotes

Judges, clerks, gendarmes, a throng of cruelly curious heads, all these he had already beheld once, in days gone by, twenty-seven years before; he had encountered those fatal things once more; there they were; they move; they existed; it was no longer an effort of his memory, a mirage of his thought; they were real gendarmes and real judges, a real crowd, and real men of flesh and blood: it was all over; he beheld the monstrous aspects of his past reappear and live once more around him, with all that there is formidable in reality.

Related Characters: Jean Valjean
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:

Madeleine (Valjean) has been lurking behind the courtroom door, still undecided as to whether or not he will enter and reveal himself to be Jean Valjean, thus saving an innocent man from the galleys. Finally he bursts through the doors, only to witness a scene that makes him relive the most painful moments from his own time in the galleys and his own trial, events which remain acutely vivid to him even after 27 years. Through his new life of faith and good works as Father Madeleine, Valjean has convinced himself that he has paid for his past crimes, and that some kind of redemption exists for what he did in the past.

Now, it appears to him that what he has learned to think of as abstract, distant events are fully real and present. His past was not a dream or nightmare, but a reality from which he cannot escape. This powerful passage underlines for Valjean that, no matter what he does, the dream he has of redeeming his past sins remains tantalizingly out of reach. 

Volume 2, Book 4 Quotes

Only, as he was five and fifty, and Cosette eight years of age, all that might have been love in the whole course of his life flowed together into a sort of ineffable light. It was the second white apparition which he had encountered. The Bishop had caused the dawn of virtue to rise on his horizon; Cosette caused the dawn of love to rise.

Related Characters: Jean Valjean , Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel , Cosette
Related Symbols: Light and Darkness
Page Number: 379
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Jean Valjean's life is, as is often the case, portrayed as being divided into several stages, beginning with the darkness of his life in the galleys, before the “dawn” of his redemption through the Bishop. Now this dawn is further divided into two parts: that of virtue and that of love. Valjean, at 55 years old, has never had the chance to love someone as a wife, for instance, or as a child of his own. Cosette is almost too young to be his own daughter, and the wide age gap between them underlines how much Valjean has lived in the darkness without love or virtue in his life. However, his relationship to Cosette is meant to show that it is not, in fact, too late for him to gain some of what he has missed over the years. The “ineffable light” that characterizes his meeting with the child and will characterize his subsequent life with her suggests that there is, in fact, a possibility for Valjean’s past sins to be redeemed by taking care of someone who needs his help now.

Volume 2, Book 8 Quotes

The scaling of that wall, the passing of those barriers, the adventure accepted even at the risk of death, the painful and difficult ascent, all those efforts even, which he had made to escape from that other place of expiation, he had made in order to gain entrance into this one. Was this a symbol of his destiny? This house was a prison likewise and bore a melancholy resemblance to that other one whence he had fled, and yet he had never conceived an idea of anything similar.

Related Characters: Jean Valjean
Page Number: 495
Explanation and Analysis:

As Jean Valjean settles into life with Cosette at the convent, he thinks back on how they have arrived at this life and what it means in light of his own past. The two landed in the convent purely by accident—in a frantic, tense escape from Javert and his men, Valjean had managed to scramble over a wall and cart Colette with him before falling into the convent garden.

Of course, the "barriers" and "efforts" that Valjean mentions are also metaphorical in nature: they stand for all his struggles to redeem his past sins. Valjean muses on the irony of the fact that this convent bears some resemblance to a prison, which he attempted to escape in a similar way (scaling walls, for example) so many times: both are places shut out from the outside world, with their own rules and assumptions, even if those in the convent have chosen to be there. Still, Valjean wonders if the convent is not after all a sign that he will have a chance to redeem himself—or if, instead, it will only underline how little his love for Cosette can change his past. Valjean thus also sees the convent as, like the prison, a house of judgment and a decider of what passes for justice.

Volume 4, Book 3 Quotes

When Cosette went out with him, she leaned on his arm, proud and happy, in the plenitude of her heart. Jean Valjean felt his heart melt within him with delight, at all these sparks of a tenderness so exclusive, so wholly satisfied with himself alone. The poor man trembled, inundated with angelic joy; he declared to himself ecstatically that this would last all their lives; he told himself that he really had not suffered sufficiently to merit so radiant a bliss, and he thanked God, in the depths of his soul, for having permitted him to be loved thus, he, a wretch, by that innocent being.

Related Characters: Jean Valjean , Cosette
Page Number: 769
Explanation and Analysis:

Cosette and Jean Valjean have settled into yet another new life, this time on the Rue Plumet, and this time with Valjean going by the name of Ultime Fauchelevent. However, this time Valjean truly does allow himself to believe that he might be given the chance to love Cosette and to enjoy living with her, rather than having it all be snatched away from him as it nearly has so many times. 

Still, Valjean continues to feel a great unworthiness, a sense that he has not "suffered sufficiently" in order to be able to at last enjoy great happiness. The difference, here, is that he has chosen not to despair over the evil that has lurked inside him, but instead chooses to be grateful for the small loving family that he now has with Cosette. He may not believe that he has redeemed himself for past actions, but he simply enjoys what he has while it is present.

“Father, are they still men?”

Related Characters: Cosette (speaker), Jean Valjean
Page Number: 786
Explanation and Analysis:

Cosette and Jean Valjean are on one of their early-morning walks, when they come across a sorrowful procession of men tied to each other on their way to the galleys although when the light hits their faces they grow more jovial and begin to sing. Cosette doesn't understand what she is seeing, but she is frightened by the sight anyway. Valjean does explain to her who the men are and where they are going: it is at this point that she asks if they are "still men." Such a question is obviously excruciating for Valjean, who has lived through what the men they now watch are going through, although he can never tell anyone about this. Cosette's question reveals her own innocent but also immature mind, as well as the prejudices of society that have already influenced her, as she questions the very humanity of the prisoners. Still, Valjean ends up answering "sometimes" to her question, suggesting that one's humanity can be lost when condemned to the galleys. Cosette seems afraid rather than malicious or gleeful like other observers of the prisoners, but Valjean can now only wonder what she would think of him should she know his own past.

Volume 5, Book 3 Quotes

As he emerged from the water, he came in contact with a stone and fell upon his knees. He reflected that this was but just, and he remained there for some time, with his soul absorbed in words addressed to God. He rose to his feet, shivering, chilled, foul-smelling, bowed beneath the dying man whom he was dragging after him, all dripping with slime, and his soul filled with a strange light.

Related Characters: Jean Valjean , Marius
Related Symbols: Light and Darkness
Page Number: 1108
Explanation and Analysis:

This entire section of the book is both an adventure story, as Valjean drags Marius through the grime and mud of the sewers in an attempt to save him, and a metaphorical journey, as Valjean relives the darkness of his earlier life in a heroic struggle to reach the light. This is the moment at which all seems lost, as Valjean begins to struggle amid the quicksand and is brought down to his knees, fearing he might be drowned.

At the last moment, he strikes a hard surface, a stone. For Valjean this is not just a lucky coincidence but a sign that he should thank God, a direct result of God's providence and of the possibility that he might, after all, be redeemed. The rest of the passage paints a stark contrast between Valjean's physical state and his emotional and spiritual experience. As he gets to his feet, he is cold and "foul-smelling." He does not even know if Marius will survive this monumental attempt to drag him through the sewers to safety. However, the "strange light" that fills him both reflects how Valjean feels he has been saved by God and represents the new strength he feels that will allow him to carry on until the end.

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Jean Valjean Character Timeline in Les Miserables

The timeline below shows where the character Jean Valjean appears in Les Miserables. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Volume 1, Book 2: The Fall
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...serve him. The man protests, and after a back-and-forth, Jacquin says that the man is Jean Valjean, and that he had suspected something upon his arrival. “Go away!” he says. Jean... (full context)
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Jean Valjean approaches a public house, where men are drinking. He’s initially welcomed in to the... (full context)
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As night falls, Valjean catches sight of a hut in one of the gardens bordering the street. He climbs... (full context)
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As Valjean rests at a street corner, an old woman comes out of the church. She asks... (full context)
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Chapter 3 Jean Valjean enters, lit up by the fire on the hearth and frightening the two women.... (full context)
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Jean Valjean’s face is filled with doubt and joy. He stammers that he hasn’t slept in... (full context)
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The Bishop tells Jean Valjean that he is deserving of pity, and that God rejoices at a repentant sinner.... (full context)
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...a passage from one of Mademoiselle Baptistine’s letters to explain what happened at the table. Jean Valjean says that this is too good for him, but notes that others who refused... (full context)
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Chapter 5 The Bishop leads Valjean into the alcove, crossing through his bedroom first, as the house’s layout makes necessary. After... (full context)
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Chapter 6 Jean Valjean awakens in the middle of the night. He is originally from a poor peasant... (full context)
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In Toulon, Jean Valjean became only “number 24,601,” and no one troubled himself about his sister or the... (full context)
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Near the end of the fourth year, Jean Valjean’s comrades helped him escape. He wandered for two days before being captured. He escaped... (full context)
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Chapter 7 The narrator states that it’s important to look into Valjean’s soul, since society creates such men. He was not perfect, but withdrew into himself and... (full context)
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But the narrator stresses that Valjean was not evil, and asks if man, created good by God, can be turned wicked... (full context)
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Jean Valjean had enormous physical strength, the strength of four men, and became notorious for this,... (full context)
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Chapter 8 The narrator compares Valjean to a man fallen overboard, sinking and rising again to the surface, his shouts and... (full context)
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Chapter 9 Jean Valjean had been overwhelmed by the idea of liberty, but soon realized that a convict’s... (full context)
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Chapter 10 We return to the Bishop’s house, where Jean Valjean is awakened by his overly comfortable bed—he isn’t used to it. He feels troubled,... (full context)
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Chapter 11 Valjean slowly pushes open the door, shuddering at the noise of the hinge. His blood pumping,... (full context)
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...far more than to him. As he eats breakfast, a group of gendarmes arrive with Jean Valjean, who is hanging his head. But the Bishop asks why they’ve brought him back:... (full context)
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Chapter 13 Jean Valjean hurries out of town, feeling vaguely angry. He is simultaneously touched and humiliated. In... (full context)
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The sun has just set, and Jean Valjean begins breathing irregularly. He steps forward mechanically and catches sight of the 40-sou piece... (full context)
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After running off in Gervais’ direction, Valjean wanders all night calling out to him, and finally breaks down and cries for the... (full context)
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Now Valjean sees himself properly, and he is horrified. He compares the vision of himself to that... (full context)
Volume 1, Book 5: The Descent
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...children, so no one had thought to ask for his passport. He is called Father Madeleine. (full context)
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Chapter 2 By the end of his second year, Madeleine builds a large factory that can employ many who are hungry and poor. He separates... (full context)
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Chapter 3 Madeleine remains simple and largely in solitude, enjoying spending time alone reading. He’s known to be... (full context)
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...says, means he did not lack anything. The day after the announcement of his death, Madeleine begins to wear only mourning clothes. People conclude that he had some sort of relationship... (full context)
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Chapter 5 Slowly the townspeople lose their skepticism about Madeleine. One person, however, is instinctively against him—a policeman named Javert who watches him as though... (full context)
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Chapter 6 One morning Madeleine is passing through M.-sur-M. when an old man, Father Fauchelevent, falls beneath his cart, his... (full context)
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...man, a convict in the galleys, who was strong enough to lift such a thing. Madeleine turns pale, but at that moment Fauchelevent yells that he is being strangled. Madeleine smiles... (full context)
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Chapter 7 Madeleine takes Fauchelevent to the hospital. The next morning, Fauchelevent finds a 1,000-franc note, on which... (full context)
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Soon afterwards, Madeleine is appointed mayor, and Javert begins to avoid him as much as possible. Meanwhile, the... (full context)
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Chapter 9 Madeleine had heard nothing of this, for he relies wholly on the superintendent of the women’s... (full context)
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...notice—asks for a moment. Fantine laughs hysterically and spits in his face. Wiping it off, Madeleine tells Javert to set the woman free. Javert feels like he is going mad, and... (full context)
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Madeleine tells her he did not know that she had been dismissed. He says he will... (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,... (full context)
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...them over. However, she does not seem to be recovering her health. The doctor tells Madeleine that the child will need to come quickly. He sends another letter, signed by Fantine,... (full context)
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Chapter 2 One morning Madeleine is in his study preparing for his trip to Montfermeil, when Javert says he wants... (full context)
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Madeleine says he’s not interested in the details. He asks Javert to take care of several... (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... (full context)
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Chapter 2 That night, Madeleine asks at the town stable for a horse and cabriolet (carriage) that can travel 20... (full context)
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Chapter 3 The narrator suggests that the reader must already know that Madeleine is Jean Valjean. Man bears infinity within him, he says, and like Dante before the... (full context)
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Valjean first turns instinctively to self-preservation. That night, he is faced with his conscience and with... (full context)
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Valjean asks himself about his just-settled resolve, and confesses to himself that to “let things take... (full context)
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Valjean feels on the brink of another crisis and grand test. He thinks that perhaps Champmathieu... (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 thinking of himself. If he denounces himself, the... (full context)
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Valjean turns the key in his cupboard and takes out his knapsack, which contains the possessions... (full context)
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Chapter 4 Valjean falls asleep and has a nightmare in which he’s in a vast plain with no... (full context)
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Valjean goes to the window and thinks he sees low-hung stars, but they turn out to... (full context)
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Chapter 5 Early that morning, the postman notices Valjean’s cabriolet speeding towards Arras. Still, Valjean himself still doesn’t know what he’ll do. Whatever the... (full context)
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...the conversation and then ran off—returns with an old woman, who says she can let Valjean borrow her cabriolet. He shudders, but pays for the cart, and finally tells himself that... (full context)
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...the other hand, feels joyful, despite having a painful night. She continually asks to see Madeleine. At three o’clock, when he usually comes, she waits for him, and feels melancholy when... (full context)
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Chapter 7 Near nightfall Valjean arrives at an inn in Arras. He asks a citizen passing by with a lantern... (full context)
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Chapter 8 Madeleine is relatively well-known in the area, and the judge writes on the back of the... (full context)
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...soldiers, and others, lit up by smoky lamps and candles: they create a severe impression. Valjean catches sight of the defendant, and thinks he’s looking at himself grown old, though colored... (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 rested its case. The audience is excited by... (full context)
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The district attorney, in turn, had taken the opportunity to eloquently detail the monstrousness of Jean Valjean—including the fact that he would even dare to deny everything this time around, against... (full context)
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...to the district attorney’s and the judge’s questions, he continues to claim that he’s not Jean Valjean, finally bursting out that both of them are wicked, and that he does not... (full context)
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...Brevet, as well, is placed on the stand and swears that he recognizes Champmathieu as Valjean, with whom he worked in the galleys. Two other convicts, Chenildieu and Cochepaille, swear the... (full context)
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Chapter 11 At that moment, Madeleine enters the courtroom. In the hour since he’s arrived in Arras, his hair has turned... (full context)
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Suddenly, it becomes evident that the man is indeed Jean Valjean. No one moves, and Valjean says that he will withdraw since he’s not being... (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.... (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... (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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Chapter 3 Immediately after Valjean had left the court earlier that day, the district attorney had insisted the man was... (full context)
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Chapter 4 Fantine is terrified and shouts to Madeleine to save her, but he tells her that Javert has not come for her. Javert... (full context)
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Valjean says to Javert that he’s murdered her, but Javert angrily yells at him to follow... (full context)
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Chapter 5 Javert brings Valjean to prison. At the word “convict,” nearly everyone in town deserts him, forgetting all the... (full context)
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The first evening after his arrest, the porter prepares Madeleine’s room without thinking, then sighs at the realization that he’s gone. But at that moment... (full context)
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...all day. Javert ’s voice responds saying that there’s a light in the upstairs room. Valjean blows out the light, and Javert enters, as the nun is praying. Javert has great... (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... (full context)
Volume 2, Book 2: The Ship Orion
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Chapter 1 It is July 1823, and Jean Valjean has been recaptured. One article from the Drapeau Blanc newspaper notes that prior to... (full context)
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...someone grabs the treasure for himself, he dies within the month. Around the time of Valjean’s brief escape from Javert, an old road-laborer and ex-convict named Boulatruelle is noticed escaping into... (full context)
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...a boat and search for him, but he’s disappeared. His number is 9,430, his name Valjean. (full context)
Volume 2, Book 3: Accomplishment of the Promise Made to the Dead Woman
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Chapter 11 As we have seen, Valjean had not drowned by the ship at Orion, but had swum underwater until reaching a... (full context)
Volume 2, Book 4: The Gorbeau Hovel
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Chapter 2 Valjean stops in front of the Gorbeau house, takes a key, and opens the door, climbing... (full context)
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Chapter 3 For 25 years Valjean has not loved anything. Only at the age of 55 does love enter his life.... (full context)
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...gone to Montfermeil, he had told her he was a gentleman ruined by Spanish bonds. Valjean teaches Cosette to read, sometimes recalling how he had taught himself to read in prison... (full context)
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Until now, Valjean has been mainly acquainted with the malice and misery of society: the fate of women... (full context)
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Chapter 4 Valjean never goes out by day; at night he goes to church. He dresses poorly, but... (full context)
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Chapter 5 Valjean often gives some money to a poor man by a well near Saint-Medard’s church, a... (full context)
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At daybreak, Valjean hears a noise again, and looks through the keyhole. He sees a man, who passes... (full context)
Volume 2, Book 5: For a Black Hunt, a Mute Pack
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Valjean and Cosette move through the streets at night. Cosette asks no questions, having grown used... (full context)
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Chapter 2 Valjean and Cosette slip away towards the Jardin des Plantes. Valjean begins to carry Cosette. He... (full context)
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Continuing on, Valjean reaches a fork and takes the right path, which leads towards the open country. He... (full context)
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Chapter 4 Valjean looks up at the wall and realizes that he might be saved if he can... (full context)
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Chapter 5 Valjean glances around the corner and sees 7 or 8 soldiers advancing behind Javert. From his... (full context)
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...at the corner of the Rue Droit-Mur and Rue Petit-Picpus. It is wild and solitary. Valjean leads Cosette into the garden shed. Suddenly he hears women’s voices singing a hymn. Both... (full context)
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Chapter 7 In the middle of the night, Cosette awakens, shivering. Valjean wraps his coat around her and slips outside. He creeps along the large building and... (full context)
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Chapter 8 As Valjean watches Cosette sleep, he feels calmer. But then he looks out and sees someone in... (full context)
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Chapter 9 Valjean walks up to the man he had seen in the garden, and cries out, “100... (full context)
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...is lying asleep in the gardener’s bed, and Fauchelevent remarks that it is bad that Valjean forgets those whose lives he saves. (full context)
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Chapter 10 The narrator explains things from Javert’s perspective. When Valjean had escaped from the town jail, the police assumed he went to Paris. Javert had... (full context)
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...Javert that Cosette’s “grandfather,” Guillaume Lambert, had taken her away. Javert returned to Paris, convinced Valjean was really dead. (full context)
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...who had come from Montfermeil. Javert dressed up as a beggar, and believed he recognized Valjean when he stooped to give him money. But Valjean was supposedly dead. After Valjean and... (full context)
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Still, it was only in the Rue Pontoise that Javert positively recognized Valjean, thanks to a lamplight. He then asked for more reinforcements and followed the pair across... (full context)
Volume 2, Book 8: Cemeteries Take That Which is Committed Them
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Chapter 1 Valjean had “fallen from the sky” into this convent. Failing to sleep, he thinks about his... (full context)
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Fauchelevent stays up all night thinking about how he’ll keep Madeleine in the convent. In the morning, he says the two must not leave the room.... (full context)
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Chapter 4 As Fauchelevent enters his room, Valjean is explaining to Cosette how to hide and be silent in the basket. Fauchelevent frets... (full context)
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Valjean is far more used to escapes like this than Fauchelevent. He’s only troubled by what... (full context)
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The burial of Mother Crucifixion, Cosette’s exit, and Valjean’s introduction into the dead-room have all gone off with no problem. At the cemetery, Fauchelevent... (full context)
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Chapter 6 Meanwhile, Valjean is following along silently in the coffin, until he feels hands seize it and lower... (full context)
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Now Fauchelevent quietly calls to Madeleine, but hears nothing. He seizes his handle and pries open the lid of the coffin,... (full context)
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Chapter 8 Valjean and Cosette arrive at No. 62 Rue Petit-Picpus that night. Cosette, who had been hidden... (full context)
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...don’t notice how only the elder Fauchelevent ever goes outside on errands—not his supposed brother. Valjean lives and works in the old hut at the end of the garden. Cosette may... (full context)
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Thinking on the voluntary sequestration of the cloister, Valjean’s pride vanishes, and he grows grateful for the opportunity to again try to be good... (full context)
Volume 3, Book 1: Paris Studied in Its Atom
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Chapter 13 Eight years have passed since Valjean’s arrival to the convent. A little boy of 11 or 12 years of age is... (full context)
Volume 3, Book 6: The Conjunction of Two Stars
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...for this passion. He continues to go to the park, and the old man, “M. Leblanc,” starts to notice: he moves places, or sometimes comes without the girl and sees that... (full context)
Volume 3, Book 8: The Wicked Poor Man
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...like a workingman in the Boulevard des Invalides, whose white hair reminds him of M. Leblanc. But Marius cannot get a better look, and finally decides he was seeing things. (full context)
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...of his woes and his debts of sixty francs for his rent (a lie). M. Leblanc throws five francs on the table, and says he will return that evening at six... (full context)
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...When she departs, his sole desire is to follow her, but he realizes that M. Leblanc will see him. Still, Marius decides to take the risk and run out the door... (full context)
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...exclaim that he is sure he recognizes the man. Perhaps Jondrette is speaking of M. Leblanc, Marius thinks, and he springs back up to the peep-hole. (full context)
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Chapter 18 Six o’clock strikes, and Jondrette begins to pace. Then M. Leblanc arrives and lays the sixty francs on the table. Leblanc sits down, and Marius feels... (full context)
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Chapter 2 0 Leblanc asks after the younger, wounded girl, and Jondrette says she’s very bad, but will return... (full context)
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Jondrette sweetly asks Leblanc for 1,000 crowns for the picture. Leblanc springs up. In a plaintive tone, Jondrette continues... (full context)
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...and three masked men enter. Jondrette asks if everything’s ready, and they say it is. Leblanc has turned pale, and is scrutinizing the room around him. Three of the original men... (full context)
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...of his father’s last wish, and yet, shuddering, he knows that if he doesn’t fire, Leblanc will be sacrificed. Should he ignore his father’s testament or allow for a crime to... (full context)
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...laughs at the man’s gullibility in going along with his ruse. Thenardier pauses, panting, and Leblanc says only that he is mistaken—he is a poor man rather than a millionaire, and... (full context)
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...no more doubt on his identity. He looks at the picture that Thenardier had told Leblanc to purchase: he can recognize a battleground and a man carrying another—it’s Pontmercy and Thenardier... (full context)
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Leblanc has followed all Thenardier’s movements. Suddenly he overturns the table and chair and leaps into... (full context)
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Thenardier tells Leblanc that he assumes the Lark really is his daughter. The girl will follow his wife... (full context)
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...from the fire, and brandishes it. Later, a large sou piece cut into a knife (Valjean’s hidden tool to escape his chains) would be found in the apartment. But he’s still... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 3: The House in the Rue Plumet
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...was in, and after some repairs moved in with a young girl and elderly maid: Valjean, Cosette, and a woman named Toussaint, whom Valjean had saved from poverty. At the convent,... (full context)
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Valjean now lives under the name Ultime Fauchelevent. He has two other Paris dwellings, so that... (full context)
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Chapter 2 At the Rue Plumet Valjean tells Toussaint that Cosette is the mistress of the house. Cosette manages their small budget,... (full context)
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Cosette adores Valjean. She enjoys asking him why he prefers to keep a cold, severe room and eat... (full context)
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...next morning, she tells herself she was imagining things. But then she overhears Toussaint telling Valjean how beautiful she’s grown, and she feels a secret delight. Yet Valjean feels wounded by... (full context)
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Soon Cosette, whom Valjean never refuses anything, develops a taste for fashion and style and becomes a well-dressed Parisienne.... (full context)
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Chapter 7 Slowly, Valjean begins to notice Marius in the Luxembourg. Only once does he mention him, saying that... (full context)
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After realizing that Marius has followed them home, Valjean stops the trips to the Luxembourg. Cosette doesn’t complain or ask questions, but grows sad,... (full context)
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...feels anguished at Marius’s disappearance, though she tries to put on a sweet face for Valjean. For the first time, they suffer side by side, though without anger, and smiling all... (full context)
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Chapter 8 Since youth has its own radiance even in suffering, Valjean is more unhappy than Cosette is, especially as he lacks a total proof that Cosette... (full context)
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Valjean seems to be seeing a vision. He tries to escape but is unable to move... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 4: Succor From Below May Turn Out to Be Succor From On High
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Chapter 1 The main joy that now remains to Cosette and Valjean is to carry bread to the hungry and clothing to the cold. On the day... (full context)
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...and convalescing. As spring comes, she feels happier herself, and one day when she convinces Valjean to spend a full 15 minutes in the garden, she laughs and frolics. He thinks... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 5: The End of Which Does Not Resemble the Beginning
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Chapter 2 In April, Valjean takes one of his habitual journeys of one or two days—going somewhere that not even... (full context)
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The next day Cosette tells Valjean, who’s just returned, what happened; though he reassures her he grows anxious himself. Valjean passes... (full context)
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Chapter 3 One evening later that month, Valjean has gone out, and Cosette is sitting on the garden bench thinking. She stands up... (full context)
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Chapter 6 That evening Valjean goes out and Cosette makes herself up more prettily than usual, though she’s not expecting... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 8: Enchantments and Desolations
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Chapter 3 With Cosette happy again, Valjean suspects nothing and is content himself. The couple hides in the garden for hours, and... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 9: Whither Are They Going?
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Chapter 1 That same day, Valjean sits alone in the Champ-de-Mars, thinking about how often he’s seen Thenardier prowling the neighborhood... (full context)
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Chapter 3 M. Mabeuf has continued his downward spiral, despite Valjean’s purse fallen from the sky, which he deposited at the police office. He has had... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 14: The Grandeurs of Despair
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...week. It had all been Eponine’s doing. She had disguised herself as a man, given Valjean the warning to leave his house, and had taken a letter from Cosette, who thought... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 15: The Rue de l’Homme Armé
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Chapter 1 At that moment, Jean Valjean is experiencing interior convulsions comparable with the external convulsions of Paris. Cosette had resisted... (full context)
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Now, Valjean—who has lost and sacrificed everything, and remained calm and stoic in every circumstance—seems finally, definitively... (full context)
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Chapter 2 Valjean pauses at his doorpost in despair, and is only shaken out of it by hearing... (full context)
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Warming to Valjean, Gavroche asks him where No. 7 is. An idea coming to him, Valjean asks if... (full context)
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Chapter 3 Valjean goes inside with Marius’ letter and reads only “I die. When thou readest this, my... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 1: The War Between Four Walls
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...to quarrel over who will stay, but at once a fifth falls onto the ground: Valjean has just entered the barricade. Bossuet asks who he is, and Marius says gravely that... (full context)
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...had been feeling as if he were already dead, but now he wonders why Fauchelevent (Valjean) is here. Meanwhile, Enjolras enters to give Javert a drink. Javert asks to be bound... (full context)
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...the letter to the porter who was asleep. Marius asks if he knows that man (Valjean), and Gavroche lies and says no. Meanwhile, an infantry company appears at the end of... (full context)
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...One old woman had placed her mattress in front of her window, foreseeing the bullets. Valjean fires at the ropes holding it up, and the mattress falls into the street, though... (full context)
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Chapter 11 The army continues to fire, hoping to exhaust the insurgents’ ammunition. Valjean shoots the helmet off one sentinel perched on a chimney, terrifying him into descending. Bossuet... (full context)
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...is in danger, and this leads to swift action—including the execution of an insurgent like Jean Prouvaire after just five minutes. (full context)
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...head, and Courfeyrac bandages it when he returns. Combeferre whispers to Enjolras that the man (Valjean) finds an odd way of defending the barricade even while refraining from killing anyone. It’s... (full context)
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...from the tavern to the barricade. The last man to leave will smash Javert’s skull. Valjean steps forward and asks to be one the one to kill him, and Enjolras doesn’t... (full context)
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Chapter 19 Valjean is left alone with Javert. He unties the rope. Valjean drags him out of the... (full context)
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Javert remains open-mouthed as Valjean tells him his address, in case he should escape. Javert, snarling, buttons up his coat... (full context)
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...answered Javert. Marius had sprung to his feet, but then heard the pistol shot and Valjean’s declaration that “It is done.” Marius then felt a gloomy chill. (full context)
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Chapter 24 At the moment of losing consciousness, Marius had felt the grasp of Jean Valjean, whose role in the battle was only to search out and care for the... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 3: Mud But the Soul
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Chapter 1 It is in these sewers that Valjean finds himself, passing from midday light to pure darkness. He is blinded by it, but... (full context)
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As Valjean drags Marius, he can feel the latter’s breath on his cheek, confirming that he’s still... (full context)
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At some point Valjean realizes that he’s returning to the peaceful part of the city, and hears vehicles and... (full context)
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...to be searched, since it was assumed that the insurgents might take refuge there. While Valjean can see the patrol through their lantern, he remains in the shadow. The sergeant gives... (full context)
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Chapter 4 Valjean resumes his march, stumbling along in the darkness. His monumental strength finally begins to give... (full context)
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Valjean stops to rest a little further on, and he puts his hand on Marius’s heart,... (full context)
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Chapter 5 The narrator compares Valjean to a walker along a beach who slowly realizes that it’s grown more difficult to... (full context)
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Chapter 6 Valjean now finds himself in such an area of the sewer, as a result of the... (full context)
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Chapter 7 Valjean sets out again, though he’s exhausted by this effort. After a hundred paces, he raises... (full context)
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Valjean lays Marius down by the wall and seizes each bar, but none of them move.... (full context)
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Chapter 8 Suddenly a hand is laid of Valjean’s shoulder, and a low voice says to him, “Half shares.” Valjean thinks he’s dreaming, but... (full context)
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Chapter 9 All at once, Valjean can breathe easily again. Night is coming on and a few stars can be seen... (full context)
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Chapter 11 Valjean wants to tell Cosette where Marius is and to warn her of what is to... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 4: Javert Derailed
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Chapter 1 Javert walks down Valjean’s street, his head drooping. He takes the shortest way to the Seine, stopping at the... (full context)
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Javert cannot understand Valjean through the values that have guided his life. Javert recalls Madeleine, and begins, against his... (full context)
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...of anarchy. He sees only two ways of escaping his despair. One is to recapture Valjean and send him back to the galleys. (full context)
Volume 5, Book 5: Grandson and Grandfather
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...1 Some time after this, Boulatruelle (the convict from Montfermeil who had attempted to follow Valjean into the forest) has taken up a job as a road-mender, largely abandoning his thefts.... (full context)
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Chapter 4 Cosette arrives at Marius’s room, delighted and afraid, followed by Jean Valjean. The porter cannot recognize in this man the haggard, muddy figure that had arrived... (full context)
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...in an annuity, meaning that they won’t have much to live on after he dies. Valjean says that “Euphrasie Fauchelevent” possesses 600,000 francs, and opens the package on the table. The... (full context)
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Chapter 5 The narrator assumes the reader has gathered how Valjean had been able to bury the sum previously deposited at Laffitte’s in the forest of... (full context)
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Chapter 6 Valjean and Gillenormand prepare the wedding. Valjean concocts a whole deceased family for Cosette, in which... (full context)
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Chapter 7 Cosette and Marius see each other every day, accompanied by Fauchelevent/Valjean. Marius doesn’t entirely understand the man, and he asks himself whether he might have seen... (full context)
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...the affair up. Marius wonders what has become of this agent. One day, speaking with Valjean and Cosette, he exclaims how sublime this man must have been, to have traveled more... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 6: The Sleepless Night
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...place in Gillenormand’s house on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Lent begins). The prior evening, Valjean gives the 600,000 francs to Marius, and a chamber in the Gillenormand house is set... (full context)
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Chapter 3 Earlier, Valjean had gone up to the antechamber, where he’d arrived with Marius eight months before. He... (full context)
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Chapter 4 The narrator stresses how many times we’ve seen Valjean struggle against his conscience, beg for mercy, and resist darkness. He feels he is now... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 7: The Last Draught from the Cup
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...father). He asks that Basque not mention his name—he wants it to be a surprise. Valjean waits in the drawing room, which is still in disorder from the wedding party. Marius... (full context)
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Valjean interrupts Marius and says he must tell him something: he is an ex-convict. There is... (full context)
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Valjean tells Marius that Cosette was an orphan, and she needed him. He fulfilled this duty... (full context)
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Valjean says that there is a silence that lies, a kind of cowardice and treason that... (full context)
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Marius says he will ask his grandfather’s friends to attain Valjean’s pardon, but Valjean says he is supposed to be dead. The only pardon he needs... (full context)
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...the door is shut, Marius shakes his head, saying “Poor Cosette, when she finds out…” Valjean trembles and says he hadn’t thought that he would tell Cosette. He begins to sob.... (full context)
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Then Marius asks himself why Valjean came to the barricade, and he recalls Valjean dragging Javert down the street, as well... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 8: Fading Away of the Twilight
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Chapter 1 The next day, Valjean arrives at Gillenormand’s and waits in the antechamber on the ground floor. Basque accompanies Cosette... (full context)
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Cosette exclaims that recently she can’t understand either Marius or Valjean. She asks if he’s angry at her because she is happy. It is a simple... (full context)
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Chapter 2 The next day Valjean returns, and Cosette no longer questions these changes, though she seems slightly diminished. In the... (full context)
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Chapter 3 After this last time, Cosette never again calls Valjean “father.” His only joy, however, continues to be in the hour he sees her each... (full context)
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One day, Cosette tells Valjean that Marius had said something odd to her: whether she’d be brave enough to live... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 9: Supreme Shadow, Supreme Dawn
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...of the 600,000 francs before learning their origin. Cosette, meanwhile, remains at heart attached to Valjean. She sometimes exclaims at his long absence to Marius, but she loves her husband even... (full context)
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Chapter 2 One day, Valjean returns from his short walk, and doesn’t leave his apartment the next day. Then he... (full context)
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Chapter 3 One evening, Valjean gains the strength to sit up in bed, fetch the valise, and spread Cosette’s small... (full context)
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...for free: there is a thief and assassin living in his home, whose name is Jean Valjean—an ex-convict. Marius says coldly that he knows it. (full context)
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The stranger grows incensed, and finally says he will sell the secret about Valjean’s fortune. But Marius says he knows this as well. He calls the man “Thenardier.” He... (full context)
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...Cosette. Marius says that he’ll reveal the other “secrets.” In 1822, a man named M. Madeleine made the fortune of a whole city and had founded hospitals, opened schools, and done... (full context)
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...a conquered man, but then smiles. He says that they’re on the wrong track. First, Valjean didn’t rob Madeleine—they are the same person. Second, Javert himself killed Javert. He draws several... (full context)
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But Thenardier exclaims that Valjean is, in fact, an assassin and thief. Marius grows distraught once again, as Thenardier makes... (full context)
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Marius begins to shout that Thenardier is a liar and villain—he wanted to ruin Valjean but only glorified him. Marius flings 1,000 francs at Thenardier and tells him to get... (full context)
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...call a carriage. She thinks he’s gone mad, but follows him, joyful once he utters Valjean’s address. Marius tells Cosette that Valjean went to the barricade to save him, and that... (full context)
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Chapter 5 Valjean feebly calls out that the knocker may enter. Cosette and Marius rush into the room.... (full context)
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Valjean says that it would certainly be charming to live together, but it is a pity.... (full context)
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Valjean rises to his feet, detaches a small crucifix from the wall, and lays it next... (full context)
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Valjean’s breath grows intermittent, and he beckons to Cosette and to Marius, exclaiming how good it... (full context)