Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Any discussion related to any production or staging of Boublil and Schönberg's Les Misérables.
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Juliet24601
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Juliet24601 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:21 pm

Thanks for this - I know how difficult it can be to find particular Brick passages once they pop into your head! :) That fits pretty nicely with the Rue Plumet song, although it is sadder. I like that dimension to the story and the idea that Fantine would be watching over her daughter if she possibly could.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Gervais » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:36 pm

No problem--Online Lit Network has a pretty good text search that made it a million times easier. :D
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Rachel » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:01 pm

"In the rain, the pavement shines like silver", but I can't think of what it actually means!

Like, when she's singing OMO, she points out three things at the beginning that are beautiful to her, the trees full of starlight, the misty lights in the river, and the pavement that shines like silver, and the pavement is the only one she doesn't cast away as a fantasy. So, that suggests to me that there's something inherently beautiful and wonderful about the pavement shining like silver. And what's physically making it shine is the rain, the cold wet sensation that will probably make her sick and cold and take her ages to dry off. So, unless Éponine has completely lost it (which, to be fair, at this point is a definite possibility) it's not that. Maybe it's that something unpleasant like rain can still be beautiful, and that sounds an awful lot like how Hugo describes Éponine at one point.

He raised his eyes, and recognized that wretched child who had come to him one morning, the elder of the Thenardier daughters, Éponine; he knew her name now. Strange to say, she had grown poorer and prettier, two steps which it had not seemed within her power to take. She had accomplished a double progress, towards the light and towards distress. She was barefooted and in rags, as on the day when she had so resolutely entered his chamber, only her rags were two months older now, the holes were larger, the tatters more sordid. It was the same harsh voice, the same brow dimmed and wrinkled with tan, the same free, wild, and vacillating glance. She had besides, more than formerly, in her face that indescribably terrified and lamentable something which sojourn in a prison adds to wretchedness.

She had bits of straw and hay in her hair, not like Ophelia through having gone mad from the contagion of Hamlet's madness, but because she had slept in the loft of some stable.

And in spite of it all, she was beautiful. What a star art thou, O youth!


(on the other hand, I'm sort of distressed because I can't find my copy of Les Mis, and from this excerpt I prefer the Denny to the Hapgood, just based on how awkward that last sentence sounds)
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby YoungStudentMarius » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:02 pm

Gervais wrote:
Juliet24601 wrote:Hello!

I'm not sure if this is a deeper meaning exactly, but I love the bit in 'In My Life' when Cosette sings 'there are times when I catch in the silence the sigh of a faraway song' because I think it's as if Fantine is singing to her from somewhere!

x J x

It's probably unintional, but either way, it would go along well with a passage of the brick that mentions the possibility of Fantine's ghost watching Cosette in the Rue Plumet garden. I'll look up the passage later.

ETA: Found it! It's not quite how I remembered it, though.
In the garden, near the railing on the street, there was a stone bench, screened from the eyes of the curious by a plantation of yoke-elms, but which could, in case of necessity, be reached by an arm from the outside, past the trees and the gate.

One evening during that same month of April, Jean Valjean had gone out; Cosette had seated herself on this bench after sundown. The breeze was blowing briskly in the trees, Cosette was meditating; an objectless sadness was taking possession of her little by little, that invincible sadness evoked by the evening, and which arises, perhaps, who knows, from the mystery of the tomb which is ajar at that hour.

Perhaps Fantine was within that shadow.



I actually really like this idea. I hadn't thought of it before, but it's kind of...I don't know, I can't quite find the words, but I want to say, 'fulfilling.'
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Juliet24601 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:06 pm

Rachel wrote:"In the rain, the pavement shines like silver", but I can't think of what it actually means!

Like, when she's singing OMO, she points out three things at the beginning that are beautiful to her, the trees full of starlight, the misty lights in the river, and the pavement that shines like silver, and the pavement is the only one she doesn't cast away as a fantasy. So, that suggests to me that there's something inherently beautiful and wonderful about the pavement shining like silver. And what's physically making it shine is the rain, the cold wet sensation that will probably make her sick and cold and take her ages to dry off. So, unless Éponine has completely lost it (which, to be fair, at this point is a definite possibility) it's not that. Maybe it's that something unpleasant like rain can still be beautiful, and that sounds an awful lot like how Hugo describes Éponine at one point.

He raised his eyes, and recognized that wretched child who had come to him one morning, the elder of the Thenardier daughters, Éponine; he knew her name now. Strange to say, she had grown poorer and prettier, two steps which it had not seemed within her power to take. She had accomplished a double progress, towards the light and towards distress. She was barefooted and in rags, as on the day when she had so resolutely entered his chamber, only her rags were two months older now, the holes were larger, the tatters more sordid. It was the same harsh voice, the same brow dimmed and wrinkled with tan, the same free, wild, and vacillating glance. She had besides, more than formerly, in her face that indescribably terrified and lamentable something which sojourn in a prison adds to wretchedness.

She had bits of straw and hay in her hair, not like Ophelia through having gone mad from the contagion of Hamlet's madness, but because she had slept in the loft of some stable.

And in spite of it all, she was beautiful. What a star art thou, O youth!


(on the other hand, I'm sort of distressed because I can't find my copy of Les Mis, and from this excerpt I prefer the Denny to the Hapgood, just based on how awkward that last sentence sounds)


I've thought about the 'silver' line too, it's so beautiful. I wonder whether the choice of silver is deliberate, in the sense that it has connotations of money in contrast to the deprivation Éponine actually lives in. Maybe it's what you said about her having such an impoverished, difficult life that she has to derive her sense of beauty from something like rain which is actually unpleasant, with the idea of silver and riches serving to emphasise that poverty.
x J x

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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby YoungStudentMarius » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:16 am

Contrary to your interpretation, Rachel, I always felt like in those lines of Éponine's,
"In the rain, the pavement shines like silver,
All the lights are misty in the river
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight,
And all I see is him and me, forever and forever."
she was going though several things that would normally hurt her, and making them beautiful. The pavement, I thought, would be hard and ugly, and not a very hospitable place, especially if she had to stay out on it all the time. The lights represent places of security and warmth, which she doesn't have, and thus, would hurt her through her jealousy, and the river would be a sort of obstacle, and something cold. This is obviously in summer, but I kind of always imagined, irrational as it is, that for the "trees are full of starlight," that starlight would only shine though if the trees had lost their leaves, which would mean that she could be looking back on winter, when it's freezing cold out, and yet she was finding small beauty in the fact that everything was dead, but I know, that's probably ridiculously far-fetched. And then there's the rain, which is soaking her, probably making her sick, and something she can't escape from, and yet it seems to be making all of these things beautiful, so I kind of took it as that in the darkness of dreams, she could distort all the things that were normally harsh and cold in reality and pretend that she loves them. But that was just my crazy-rambley thought-process.

Also, in A Heart Full of Love, maybe this isn't exactly deeper meaning, but I always kind of thought that Marius says, "And you must never go away...Cosette, Cosette!" simply because he's still so dumbstruck with the shock and joy of actually finding her name that he's semi-overwhelmed by it, and just wants to hear the sound of it over and over again.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Rachel » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:46 am

Hm, yours is interesting. Truthfully, mine was not a very thought-out interpretation, I was unsure of what I thought it meant when I started writing and wrote my way through it. So you could be right.


Or maybe they just rhymed
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby YoungStudentMarius » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:11 am

Oh, I think mine was just a bunch of crazy ideas that bombarded my head once when I wasn't expecting it. If I'd really thought it out, I'd obviously have found a way of making it more concise. :roll: :wink:

And well, yeah, the truth is, they probably did it because it sounds nice. Though, rhyme? I suppose technically it does, I guess, but in my opinion, it doesn't rhyme well. :wink:
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby freedomlover » Wed May 29, 2013 10:39 pm

"Child without a friend."- Valjean talking about Fantine, but also Cosette.

"Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?"- in the finale, I believe they may be talking about heaven :shock: I know on earth they were talking about how they can make France a better place, but "beyond the barricade" in the finale was their eternal resting place I think.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Rachel » Wed May 29, 2013 10:43 pm

freedomlover wrote:"Child without a friend."- Valjean talking about Fantine, but also Cosette.

"Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?"- in the finale, I believe they may be talking about heaven :shock: I know on earth they were talking about how they can make France a better place, but "beyond the barricade" in the finale was their eternal resting place I think.


Hang on, with the first one, I always thought he was just talking about Cosette! Because he hears Fantine talking about her daughter, and he's telling Javert that if he arrests Fantine that Cosette will basically be damned.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby freedomlover » Wed May 29, 2013 10:48 pm

For some reason I thought he was talking about Fantine =P I guess it is Cosette.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Gervais » Wed May 29, 2013 10:59 pm

I've always thought it was Fantine that was the "child without a friend." She's still a somewhat young woman, after all, and is about as helpless as a child at this point.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Rachel » Wed May 29, 2013 11:03 pm

I always saw it as Valjean saying that Cosette will suffer from it. As a thing to persuade Javert, I don't know, that Cosette was totally innocent and going to suffer for Fantine's "mistake".
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby YoungStudentMarius » Wed May 29, 2013 11:05 pm

Oh, that's funny; I never realised there were different perceptions of that line! I'd always thought that he was talking about Cosette, and that the question was addressed to Fantine, asking her to explain about her child who's "but that high," and what's wrong with her, and all, just being the kind old mayor who wants to help others' lives. But it could actually make some sense as being Fantine, too. Actually, now that I think about it, there's a goodly number of similarities between Fantine and Cosette at this moment. The main difference would be in innocence, probably, but other than that, there's a lot that's the same.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Gervais » Wed May 29, 2013 11:14 pm

I think part of why I think of it differently is because it took awhile for me to even watch it on YouTube after I first listened to it, and imagined Valjean saying it directly to Javert. When I did finally see it on video, it was the concerts first; when I saw a video of the performance, I thought he was examining Fantine while talking to Javert, and doesn't speak directly to her until "I've seen your face before."

Someone needs to do a post in Compare/Con on Fantine and Cosette. :D *Goes off to do so*
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