Surviving the Barricades

Any discussion related to Victor's Hugo's Les Misérables, in any language.
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Surviving the Barricades

Postby meow139 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:12 pm

I've been thinking recently: it was obvious in the book that they were all doomed pretty much after Le Cabuc's execution- Enjolras said it and Combeferre agreed. Hugo states that once they sent the five men out, they were all trapped.

But let us say that, hypothetically, some men did escape the barricade- perhaps some of those random nameless, faceless other twenty or so men there at the end. Should they have escaped the whole death thing, how would they have done it?

I'm just thinking about this because I'm right at the chapter before Orestes Fasting and Pylades Drunk in the brick- obviously those two don't escape. but Valjean makes it through the sewers- could any other men have gone that way? This is historical too, so if anyone knows anything like that- how does one survive a barricade, specifically one like the Rue de Chanvrerrie one?

I was thinking that a grand rooftop escape might be possible, say, like the one in one of AMarguerite's fics. But how would one actually survive a barricade? Were they all just condemned to death the moment they blocked that last passage out, as the book implies, or...
I change barricade boyfriends by the day.

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Re: Surviving the Barricades

Postby deHavilland » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:00 pm

In reality, many of the barricades weren't physically inescapable the way Hugo describes this one. By the time the barricade closing the Faubourg Saint-Antoine was taken, a lot of the insurgents decided to flee from the smaller ones using whatever means was available to them. In some cases this might mean an alleyway that had been left open to use as an escape route or for messengers from other barricades, or yes, traveling across rooftops as Amarguerite suggested in Some Friendlier Sky.

The biggest difference between Hugo's representation and actual history is that in actual history the guardsmen took prisoners. When they overtook the barricades they killed anyone who defended themselves, but a surrender meant being taken captive. (Then you could later plea "oh, no, sorry, I got caught on the wrong side of the barricade!" which apparently was common and effective. Most of the insurgents taken captive alongside Charles Jeanne, for example, were eventually released.)

Not that Hugo specifically says "they killed everyone in cold blood!" since Bahorel certainly wasn't about to surrender in the moments before they shanked him with bayonets. But had some of them surrendered, they probably would have lived.

(And don't forget that after the barricades were all taken care of, the National Guard started to conduct house-to-house searches to see if they could round up any more escaped would-be revolutionaries. So once you've physically made it away from the barricades, you'd best find yourself an alibi and/or a hiding spot.)
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

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Re: Surviving the Barricades

Postby MmeBahorel » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:57 am

If you aren't too covered in gunpowder (ha, good luck with that), you might be able to get into a corner of a cellar and when they find you claim you were hiding all night from the insurgents. (basically, if you're to survive Hugo's barricade, get yourself into the cellar or high-tail it to the attic, which is where the last of them were taken.) If you're pretty obviously a participant, you'll have to surrender, get arrested, and try to beg off in court (this is what happened to most people).

They did search house to house, they did arrest people who were harbouring fugitives as well as the fugitives - note the directive the doctor does not follow when treating Marius. The city would be put under curfew and anyone in the streets was liable to get arrested (in 1848, Alexander Herzen went out touristing during the June Days and got marched back home to retrieve his passport receipt and have the servants vouch that he was a stupid foreign national who just wanted to see what was going on rather than someone materially supporting the insurgents).

If you want to avoid any time in a holding cell, you'll have to go sewers, probably. Getting someone to open up for you so you can get down from rooftops or hide in their house is much riskier. Your best option is to suck it up, surrender, and do your best in court.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: Surviving the Barricades

Postby CeridwenLynne » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:20 pm

I think that the only way anyone could have survived was to have somehow managed to get to a safe house and hidden out until the situation calmed down. All were probably wounded and in need of medical attention but going to a hospital would have been out of the question. They would have been recognized as one of the rebels and taken to prison. They would have needed to have their injuries treated by the people hiding them. My fanfiction is based on this scenario.

I've always thought that if any of the students had surrendered they would have been imprisoned and likely hanged as a traitor to the king. That is why they refused to give up when offered the opportunity and instead fought to the death. It is far better to die facing the bullets from the soldiers guns than be hanged or beheaded as a traitor.
" He makes no vain sacrifice who fights for a cause. All here are ready to die so that our brothers may live as free men. Liberty... sweet liberty... come fight with those who defend you." ----Enjolras.

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