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Cosette

Cosette

Cosette, like Valjean, grows up in an atmosphere of poverty and fear, but she is rescued from this life before her innocence gives way to cynicism. Though she spends a number of years under the tyrannical care of the Thénardiers, she never adopts their cruel views, which indicates that she possesses a fundamental decency and goodness that they lack. Once Valjean takes charge of Cosette’s upbringing, she quickly transforms from a dirty, unhappy child into a lovely, well-educated young woman. For Hugo, this transformation is so natural that he does not even bother to walk us through it and instead skips several years ahead.

Though she is obedient and fiercely loyal to her adoptive father, Cosette also has her own personality, which emerges as she enters adolescence and begins to hunger for a less sheltered life. In this period of their lives, Valjean’s role temporarily changes from Cosette’s savior to her jailer. Cosette’s ability to truly love Marius, however, is due in large part to Valjean, who has taught her to trust and love. In the end, Cosette remains true to her upbringing, and her love for Marius becomes her way of applying to her own life what she has learned from Valjean.

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COSETTE QUIZ

What makes Valjean a hard and hateful man?
Prison
Poverty
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Les Miserables Analysis

by Adi31415, March 28, 2013

Les Miserables is based around the turning point in French history, and it explores the nature of this change in terms of society, and uses this as a basis for explaining the revolution. It explains how the ‘miserables’, or ‘victims’, damned into a life of thievery and being the scum of the Earth aren’t inherently bad. The society which has not given them a chance forces them to be bad, or do bad things. Instead of understanding their inner goodness and their plight to change their ways, or giving them some kindness or hope, they a... Read more

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Correction to Note 1 in Study Section

by IleneRM, October 24, 2013

It says: "Fantine falls in love with Tholomyès, a debonair upper-class student who obeys upper-class social customs and leaves Fantine even though she is pregnant with his child." This is wrong. Fantine was not pregnant. Ten months after the affair ended, Cosette was almost 3 years old; therefore she was already born when he left Fantine.

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12 out of 20 people found this helpful

Study Questions - error in #1

by IleneRM, October 24, 2013

It says: "Fantine falls in love with Tholomyès, a debonair upper-class student who obeys upper-class social customs and leaves Fantine even though she is pregnant with his child." This is wrong. Fantine was not pregnant. Ten months after the affair ended, Cosette was almost 3 years old; therefore she was already born when he left Fantine.

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