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Les Miserables > Les Mis - Cosette, Books 5-7

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message 1: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 1273 comments Phew! This was another wild ride with Javert! I was so nervous reading about this chase and it seemed certain that JV and Cosette would be captured! Fortuitous indeed that they were able to climb over the wall and then again that they just happened to find a friendly (and indebted) soul to shelter them. Providence continues to play a large role!

Then we have another abrupt transition to - life in a convent? I’m curious to see how this plays into the larger story. I wonder if the lifestyle described was accurate? If so I’m not surprised a few went mad!

message 2: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments There is a definite running theme of imprisonment, escape, and chase.

On the upper floors there were hoods over the windows like the ones used in prisons,

So now the convent is a prison or prison-like.

message 3: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments Love these section (and book) titles.

Book 5, Section II


Like this line too:

Hours of ecstasy are never more than a minute long.


message 4: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments More images of imprisonment in the first chapter in Book 6. The convent's walls, the bars, grills, shutters, and rooms like boxes.

message 5: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia Book 5:

Yes, the chase through the dark streets is very well done. I also liked the switch to understanding more about Javert: Hugo seems to be stressing the connection between the two men. It especially struck me at that moment of mutual recognition:

'Javert looked up as he did so, and JV's shock when he thought he recognised the policeman was no greater than Javert's when he thought he recognised JV.'

It's almost like the two men are psychically linked, or two facets of the same person.

message 6: by Hummingbirder (new)

Hummingbirder | 90 comments I liked 5 and 6. The chase was exciting, and yes, the convent sounded like a prison. It was a cloistered convent. The nuns' rooms were called cells, they didn't leave without the bishop's permission, and no one was allowed to enter.

I knew about that, and just did some research. Cloisters, as I call them, are outside city limits and lack security. No one in and no one out was for the protection of the nuns.

message 7: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia Perhaps the convent can also be a place of sanctuary, not just a prison?

message 8: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments Roman Clodia wrote: "Perhaps the convent can also be a place of sanctuary, not just a prison?"

It can. I guess everyone living behind those walls are protected from what lies on the other side, and in that sense it is sanctuary, but frankly the description of the daily chores and punishments for violating them makes it difficult for me to think of it as anything other than a prison. Their lives are as ordered as prisoners. They are disciplined like prisoners. But for JV and Cosette, maybe it's sanctuary.

And what's with wearing the bell -- a bit much, I dare say. Contamination if you come face to face with a man? That was over the top, IMO.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed the link back to JV’s good deed. He was discovered by Javert when rescuing Fauchelevent but it was worth it as this provides his means to evade capture with a Cosette.

The first section was a brilliant chase scene but I was a bit bemused by the lengthy descriptions of the convent. I wasn’t quite ready to leave the story for another diversion!

message 10: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia A little later, Hugo himself draws attention to the convent/prison parallels but concludes: 'For Valjean the convent was an island in a hostile sea' - right place, right time, I guess, for him and Cosette.

message 11: by Renee (new)

Renee | 23 comments The chase was exciting to read. I also loved the chapter about Javert. It was interesting seeing how he was trying to work everything out and figure out if Valjean really was still alive. I was wondering about that from the last book, why he didn't arrest Valjean when he recognised him. He doesn't want to do anything until he's absolutely positive it's Valjean, and since he's considered dead by the police he can't be too hasty about it. Javert is a really interesting character. Reading the book, his character is more fleshed out than in the movie, and I feel a little different about him now than when I first watched the movie.

The convent chapter went away from the story quite a bit, but I guess Hugo wanted to give a detailed description of the convent that Valjean and Cosette happened to find shelter at. It was interesting, but I didn't enjoy this chapter as much as the Waterloo chapter.

message 12: by Xan (last edited May 25, 2018 03:08AM) (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 251 comments Just finished last half of 6 and all of 7. Hugo didn't hold back his thoughts on monasticism, did he?

I enjoyed reading from a 21st century perspective Hugo's 19th century "modern day" perspective of a 16th century practice that he called an anachronism (monasticism/cloisters/convents). Too bad I won't be around to witness what 23rd century people think of 21st century "modern day" thinking of 19th century practices.

On to book 8.

message 13: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 456 comments Roman Clodia wrote: "It's almost like the two men are psychically linked, or two facets of the same person. "

Actually, I believe Hugo based the characters as two halves of the personality of one real person, though I don't recall who.

message 14: by Bron (new)

Bron (bron23) | 49 comments Like others, I loved the chase by Javert of JV and Cosette. When Hugo is telling the story it flows beautifully and I just want to keep reading. Then came book 6 and 7 and while some of the content was interesting I found myself skimming a bit, which is not something I usually do. When Hugo feels the need to say what he's about to relate takes us away from the story I wonder what his purpose is at times in including the details. However, saying that the section on Waterloo was a similar side 'book' but I found that more engaging than this section about the convent.

I couldn't imagine living life the way the nuns at the convent do. I guess back in that time however it may be one of very few choices about how to live a life with a roof over your head and food in your belly for a woman.

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