Catching up on Classics (and lots more!) discussion

Les Misérables
This topic is about Les Misérables
84 views
Victor Hugo Collection > Les Miserables: Part 1 Book 2

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Trisha (new) - added it

Trisha | 492 comments Post comments here for this section. Don't worry if you fall behind or start late, you can just post as you go :-)


message 2: by Mel (new) - added it

Mel Fouch (melfouch) | 10 comments I'm glad to say I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first one. I feel as though the story is actually getting started.

While Valjean's character and thoughts are explored in great depth I found it added to the story rather than being a substitute for one as it occasionally seemed in the first book.

I liked the fact Hugo condemns what happened to Valjean without condoning the things Valjean does, and I found it convincing that the Bishop's kindness initially causes confusion and distress rather than an instant conversion to goodness.


Travis (disneytrav) | 4 comments Book Two is definitely moving along a bit more quickly, and I enjoy Hugo's description of Valjean's character - I find myself drawn to him, sympathizing with him for the way he is rejected by the townspeople, but at the same time appalled by his actions. Hugo paints him as very "human" with all his flaws, and without this vivid detail, Valjean would come across as shallow. Can't wait to delve deeper!


Jane(Janelba) (janelba) Book Two was most enjoyable. Loved Hugo's portrayal of Valjean. I agree with Mel about Hugo's method of condeming the treatment of Valjean by the other townspeople but also without approving of Valjean's actions. I was particularly absorbed by the scene with the young boy Gervais whom he stole money from. Looking forward to book three.


message 5: by Trisha (new) - added it

Trisha | 492 comments I definitely felt like the plotline picked up with this section. I loved how Hugo described Valjean, it was so vivid and heartbreaking. I can't even imagine the lengths that I would go to if my own children were starving, and for his prison sentence to be so long after all of his escape attempts, when the whole thing was over a loaf of bread!
Hugo's description really brought Valjean to life. It was so sad how he was treated in the towns, but I wonder if I would treat an ex-convict who showed up in my neighborhood. I doubt that I would be as accepting as the Bishop.
The interactions between Valjean and the Bishop was so well written, as was Valjean's inner struggle. I was a little nervous after the first chapter, but I am really enjoying it so far!


message 6: by Mandy (new) - added it

Mandy Enjoying it so far....
Bishop has behaved just as you would expect a man of God to - with forgiveness, offering ValJean the chance to redeem himself.
ValJean shows old habits hard to break with Little Gervaise, but the shame and guilt seem to haunt him when he realises what he has become.
Definately feel sorry for ValJean, but also understand other towns people reaction to him. It is very clever that Hugo presents all his characters so far in such a way you relate or understand their behaviour - even if you dont like it.


Robin (rbressette) | 3 comments I enjoyed The Fall immensely, and was very surprised with the change of pace from the previous section. I was immediately drawn to Valjean, and was able to empathize with his struggles prior to being sent to the gallows and his action that led there. It made it easier to relate to Valjean while he abused the Bishops compassion.
One of the things that I enjoyed the most was how we got to experience the Bishop from the other side of the relationship. Instead of being on the side of selflessness, we experienced life as the selfish party. I liked experiencing firsthand how the Bishops actions and general nature affects those he helps and sacrifices for, and the emotions he invokes in others.


message 8: by Brenda (new)

Brenda G | 9 comments I just joined this group - so I am doing some catch up. I have wanted to re-read Le Mis, but have not had the courage to tackle it. When I saw this group - it was all the I needed. I needed to reread the first section a second time. The first time through I was getting a feel for the way Hugo writes and sorting out names. The second time through went much smoother. I really like the Bishop. There were several great quotes that I would like to share with some of our leaders of today. I think they could learn a thing or two. I do have to keep reminding myself not to skim....there are too many great lines hidden in some of the descriptions.


message 9: by Brenda (new)

Brenda G | 9 comments I just joined this group - so I am doing some catch up. I have wanted to re-read Le Mis, but have not had the courage to tackle it. When I saw this group - it was all the I needed. I needed to reread the first section a second time. The first time through I was getting a feel for the way Hugo writes and sorting out names. The second time through went much smoother. I really like the Bishop. There were several great quotes that I would like to share with some of our leaders of today. I think they could learn a thing or two. I do have to keep reminding myself not to skim....there are too many great lines hidden in some of the descriptions.


message 10: by Brenda (new)

Brenda G | 9 comments oops - I guess that last post should have been in a different section. I really enjoyed "The Fall". Hugo let us see into Jean ValJean and how his incarceration changed him. I loved the analogy where a person drowning in the sea was compared to a person "drowning" in society. I think much of what Hugo says can be applied to our society today - for better or worse.


Travis (disneytrav) | 4 comments Brenda wrote: "oops - I guess that last post should have been in a different section. I really enjoyed "The Fall". Hugo let us see into Jean ValJean and how his incarceration changed him. I loved the analogy ..."

Hi Brenda! Welcome to the club! I complete agree with you - it was almost uncanny how appropriate some of those quotes fit the world situation today!


message 12: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 9439 comments Mod
Just started this section. I am behind -- hope to catch up soon. This book is slow going for me.


Alexander Frost | 2 comments As everyone else has already mentioned, this part really started to grip me. What I was really impressed with is how complicated a character Jean already is - I think I'm going to like this guy!


message 14: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine | 1217 comments I just finished The Fall, and I am still loving this book. Hugo puts such detail into these characters that they really seem to come alive. I appreciate the way he tells the story with all the shades of gray that reality usually has, but he still has a definite viewpoint that comes across.

ValJean's story is just tragic so far. I felt such pity for him, and anger at the townspeople who seemed so cruel. But then I asked myself, how would I react if I was told a dangerous criminal had been released in my area, and then he knocked on my front door? This book certainly gives one a lot of food for thought, that being just one small example.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments Now things have picked up after book 1. We are getting to know JVJ and see firsthand how he is treated.

I don't mean to excuse the theft from the Bishop or From Little Gervaise, but it seems as though freedom from incarceration is not the end of the sentence.

However, I think that I might be nervous if someone with a dangerous past moved into my neighborhood.

I liked the metaphor (I hope I'm using this word correctly!) of the ocean as society. After I read this chapter, I thought that the ocean was society, but I didn't trust my understanding, so I read it again.


back to top