Les Amis: Ages and Religions

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Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby meow139 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:21 am

I know these topics have been discussed elsewhere, but I felt that there was so much potential for discussion that it deserved its own thread.

In the brick, Enjolras' age is stated as being 22 before the year-jump, so he would have been around 27 when he died (in my mind he will always be 22 for some reason. I like to think that Hugo imagined this as well and intended for Enjolras to be this age when he died. It just seems more fitting to me somehow). I'm not sure if any of the other Amis ages are specifically stated. In my headcanon, Jehan is the youngest specifically because his friends refer to him by his first name more than any of the other Amis, who go by last name alone. Such is the case with Marius when he was seventeen. I imagine Courfeyrac to be roughly the same age as Enjolras, and Combeferre to be about 24 when first introduced, because I could see him being one of the oldest Amis as he is, after all, the guide.

And religion- there is a fair amount of religious subtext in the brick. Hugo had a lot of history with Catholicism, although I know very little on Hugo himself. The Bishop's biograpy was supposed to be a jab at the clergy of today (back then today, I mean) and was supposed to say "this is how you SHOULD be doing it."

I find Combeferre, to me, to be... not an atheist, persay. To me, he's the type that would be religious, yet follow no specific religion. My Combeferre believes in a God, but not the Christian views, or Jewish or Buddhist or anything else. He just believes. I see Prouvaire as being raised Protestant but really having no idea anymore. I have little to no idea for the others- Courfeyrac, maybe Catholic? Not sure. I would love to hear some more views on these subjects.
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:51 am

Joly's age was specified as being 23 when he is first introduced. Bahorel is one of the oldest, not quite 30.

I imagine some of the boys as having been Deists.
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby WhoIam » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:14 pm

Meow... your headcanon Combeferre sounds like me. :shock:

Laigle has to be 25 or older, because that's when he starts going bald. :D
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby Rachelle » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:28 pm

Despite the fact that Joly is described as one of the oldest. I always imagined him as younger.
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby freedomlover » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:57 pm

I see the amis as all early 20s, although I see a couple as 19-- possibly Jehan.

My religion headcanons;
Valjean= either Evangelical Catholic or Protestant
Javert= Traditional Roman Catholic
Éponine= For some reason I see her as Agnostic or questioning.
Grantaire= Atheist, but not sure-- critical of many religions.
Thernardier= Egoism (self worship)
Courfeyrac= Catholic
Combeferre= Deist?
Enjolras= Protestant, although sometimes sounding like a Deist. Perhaps a hi-bred-- "once Jesus saves you from your sins, you can help improve the political world. Freedom and liberty!"
Bahorel= Deist
Jehan= Romantic
Feuilly= have not created one for him... pretty much finding his own way, with its of Christianity (the most common religion in the canon era)
Joly= not sure
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby Rachel » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:38 am

I feel like no one knows Grantaire's age. He just doesn't tell any of the Amis, and they never think to ask. Also, he believes in no God, but he is willing (desperate) to have Enjolras convince him otherwise.
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby meow139 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:06 am

freedomlover wrote:I see the amis as all early 20s, although I see a couple as 19-- possibly Jehan.

My religion headcanons;
Valjean= either Evangelical Catholic or Protestant
Javert= Traditional Roman Catholic
Éponine= For some reason I see her as Agnostic or questioning.
Grantaire= Atheist, but not sure-- critical of many religions.
Thernardier= Egoism (self worship)
Courfeyrac= Catholic
Combeferre= Deist?
Enjolras= Protestant, although sometimes sounding like a Deist. Perhaps a hi-bred-- "once Jesus saves you from your sins, you can help improve the political world. Freedom and liberty!"
Bahorel= Deist
Jehan= Romantic
Feuilly= have not created one for him... pretty much finding his own way, with its of Christianity (the most common religion in the canon era)
Joly= not sure


Is Romanticism a religion? I mean, I know that they have their own abstract beliefs on the world, but does that apply to religion as well? Excuse me, because I know next to nothing about Romantics.
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby MmeBahorel » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:08 am

I don't want to say "everyone is Catholic", but let's keep in mind it's France in 1832: you might get one protestant, if that. Everyone in this book is Catholic. No one is likely hardcore (what with the way the ultra right-wing co-opted the Church), but they are Catholic.

There's been some discussion that Prouvaire, because of his masonic connections and possibly with his reading interests might be Protestant, probably Calvinist based on geography (Agrippa d'Aubigné was a Huguenot poet; somewhat more emphasis on the Old Testament). But that's fandom speculation, not something Hugo necessarily put in. Protestants are such a minority that they're generally mentioned as such and rarely portrayed anyway.

Just remember that the Church hasn't changed in a lot of ways - you have your people who got baptised at birth and never enter a church again, the people who take communion at Easter, the people who join lay societies, and every variation in between. Always have, always will. They're still Catholic, and they'll say as much.
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby Rachel » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:35 am

I don't know, Mme Bahorel, Grantaire could very easily be an atheist.
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby MmeBahorel » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:00 am

Point. But then, I always wonder how much he just says and how much of what he says he actually believes. He was almost certainly raised catholic; more of it may have stuck than he could necessarily identify. ("may" being the key word there)
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby Rachel » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:19 am

MmeBahorel wrote:Point. But then, I always wonder how much he just says and how much of what he says he actually believes. He was almost certainly raised catholic; more of it may have stuck than he could necessarily identify. ("may" being the key word there)


True, but he believes in nothing, in my copy of the Brick, it says Grantaire "had one fanatical devotion, not for an idea, a creed, an art or a science." So, if my Brick's correct, then if he has a religion, it's not a strong one.

Both the Hapgood and Wilbour say "dogma" instead of "creed", but I'm relatively sure that the context here is religious laws. And I've just checked the original Brick, and it's dogma.

Anyway, if he has a religion, it's not one he cares for very much.
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby deHavilland » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:52 am

Rachel wrote:
MmeBahorel wrote:Point. But then, I always wonder how much he just says and how much of what he says he actually believes. He was almost certainly raised catholic; more of it may have stuck than he could necessarily identify. ("may" being the key word there)


True, but he believes in nothing, in my copy of the Brick, it says Grantaire "had one fanatical devotion, not for an idea, a creed, an art or a science." So, if my Brick's correct, then if he has a religion, it's not a strong one.


Ah, but Hugo doesn't say he believes in nothing, he says "Grantaire était un homme qui se gardait bien de croire à quelque chose." He says "Grantaire was a man who knew better than to believe in anything," or, as my F/M translates it "who took great care not to believe in anything." Not that he physically believes in nothing like he might say that Enjolras' eyes are blue or that Joly is a hypochondriac by way of physical description of the character. Just that he actively chooses to avoid doing so.

Which is in many ways more interesting.
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby Rachel » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:02 am

deHavilland wrote:
Rachel wrote:
MmeBahorel wrote:Point. But then, I always wonder how much he just says and how much of what he says he actually believes. He was almost certainly raised catholic; more of it may have stuck than he could necessarily identify. ("may" being the key word there)


True, but he believes in nothing, in my copy of the Brick, it says Grantaire "had one fanatical devotion, not for an idea, a creed, an art or a science." So, if my Brick's correct, then if he has a religion, it's not a strong one.


Ah, but Hugo doesn't say he believes in nothing, he says "Grantaire était un homme qui se gardait bien de croire à quelque chose." He says "Grantaire was a man who knew better than to believe in anything," or, as my F/M translates it "who took great care not to believe in anything." Not that he physically believes in nothing like he might say that Enjolras' eyes are blue or that Joly is a hypochondriac by way of physical description of the character. Just that he actively chooses to avoid doing so.

Which is in many ways more interesting.


Whoops, sorry. And that is definitely more interesting. Because then he's letting his guard up for one thing, and that's Enjolras...
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby Acaila » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:39 am

MmeBahorel wrote:I don't want to say "everyone is Catholic", but let's keep in mind it's France in 1832: you might get one protestant, if that. Everyone in this book is Catholic. No one is likely hardcore (what with the way the ultra right-wing co-opted the Church), but they are Catholic.

There's been some discussion that Prouvaire, because of his masonic connections and possibly with his reading interests might be Protestant, probably Calvinist based on geography (Agrippa d'Aubigné was a Huguenot poet; somewhat more emphasis on the Old Testament). But that's fandom speculation, not something Hugo necessarily put in. Protestants are such a minority that they're generally mentioned as such and rarely portrayed anyway.

Just remember that the Church hasn't changed in a lot of ways - you have your people who got baptised at birth and never enter a church again, the people who take communion at Easter, the people who join lay societies, and every variation in between. Always have, always will. They're still Catholic, and they'll say as much.


This is pretty much where my opinion lies. There just wasn't the range of options some people seem to expect and other ideas feel like fanon, guesswork, projection and treating the characters as neatly differentiated symbols rather than characters from a particular setting. And I love doing symbolism in Les Mis but I like to have some textual or contextual evidence.
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Re: Les Amis: Ages and Religions

Postby between4walls » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:25 pm

MmeBahorel wrote:I don't want to say "everyone is Catholic", but let's keep in mind it's France in 1832: you might get one protestant, if that. Everyone in this book is Catholic. No one is likely hardcore (what with the way the ultra right-wing co-opted the Church), but they are Catholic.

There's been some discussion that Prouvaire, because of his masonic connections and possibly with his reading interests might be Protestant, probably Calvinist based on geography (Agrippa d'Aubigné was a Huguenot poet; somewhat more emphasis on the Old Testament). But that's fandom speculation, not something Hugo necessarily put in. Protestants are such a minority that they're generally mentioned as such and rarely portrayed anyway.

Just remember that the Church hasn't changed in a lot of ways - you have your people who got baptised at birth and never enter a church again, the people who take communion at Easter, the people who join lay societies, and every variation in between. Always have, always will. They're still Catholic, and they'll say as much.


I think you will also have freethinkers, Deists, and outright atheists, though on a much small scale than today. But what you won't have that many of is Protestants, and all the attendant variety of Protestant groups. However, it should be pointed out that Guizot, one of the most prominent politicians at this time, is a Protestant.

The major divide in traditionally Catholic societies generally isn't between different religions or denominations but the clerical vs. anticlerical spectrum. Most atheists are anticlerical, but that doesn't go vice versa- many anticlerical types do believe in God.

I summarized the anticlerical attitude here, re Bahorel:

"Bahorel with his anti-clericalism is a very recognizable "type" in majority-Catholic countries: enraged by the Church's political and social influence, skeptical about priests and the Pope, and feeling the Church needs to be taken down a peg or two, but probably not considering any religion other than Catholicism. He reminds me of some of my relatives."

They're still Catholic, and they'll say as much.


In a way there would be less of a need to say as much, to identify at all, in a majority-Catholic country like France, than there traditionally has been in traditionally-Protestant America where Catholics were a distrusted minority for quite some time and where its associated with particular ethnic groups.
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