writing Patron-Minette?

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MmeBahorel
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby MmeBahorel » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:55 am

The musical conflates Brujon with Guelemer or else Brujon with his father (in large part because they tend, at least in the US, to use Brujon as a Valjean cover). Brujon in the novel is characterised as young/inexperienced enough to break if put in solitary, which puts him more on a level with Parnasse. I think the two characters could easily be combined, particularly if Guelemer is cut and/or Brujon's name used for him instead.

Also, doesn't Parnasse tell Gav that they need to get Thenardier out because of the Rue Plumet thing? Very easy to conflate characters based on that connection.

(I also haven't read the Patron Minette bits for ages and am somewhat tipsy, so this is more opinion than fact.)
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby collectingbees » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:24 am

In the 1934 French version, Montparnasse is very much Brujon in physical appearance and attitude. I think Lucien Nat did a marvelous job cross-breeding the two, because he still kept elements of dandy-ism in a gruff version of the character. Interestingly enough, I think that Brujon in the Brick resents Montparnasse, because Brujon is rather rude to him--probably because Brujon has also been an honest working (a roofer) who does crime on the side, while Montparnasse loathes any physical work. (Also, because of them both being young, there is some element of competition, I would only imagine).

Speaking of covers! Montparnasse is used quite often as a cover for Marius, from what I understand. That makes me chuckle to no end.

(You were also extremely coherent, for the record!)

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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby collectingbees » Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:51 am

Hammie and I were talking about this last night, and I just have to reiterate how Patron-Minette is introduced as this fearsome 4-headed monster, but upon further inspection, they are perpetually inept. It's kind of adorable, actually.

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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby Rowerrunner » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:29 am

MmeBahorel wrote:Montparnasse killed Bruce Wayne's parents in the alley behind the opera.

("hold-up" in this sense is "mugging" in late 20th c. US)


I literally just squealed because in a roleplay, I was Montparnasse and he actually did murder two middle-aged guys behind an opera house. Éponine was present because he needed an escort so it wouldn't look as suspicious, and he just like slit their throats and carved an M into one of their arms after taking all their money and valuables, then left them dead in a pool of blood before taking Éponine back to his apartment (we all know what happened then).

I write Montparnasse as being the sort of unofficial leader of Patron-Minette and putting up with the others because he realized that their were benefits to working with others. But he always does the murders.

I made a post elsewhere about my in-depth portrayal of Parnasse, but I can't be bothered to find it right now.

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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby meow139 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:02 pm

I actually have a question about Patron-Minette and Thenardier- I know I'm going to sound really, really stupid but I haven't gotten up to their part in the Brick yet, so I have to know-

What's the deal with Patron-Minette and Thenardier? I mean, we know that Parnasse and Éponine have some sort of thing going on, but what are the other men's loyalties to him? I heard they help him break out of prison and they help him out attacking Valjean... but why? What makes them do things for Thenardier? Do they need something in return? What's the deal? I would think these supposed criminal masterminds would look down on him.
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby WhoIam » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:06 pm

Well, they do look down on him to some degree, when they help him break out of prison, they say he must have gotten caught because he doesn't know anything about crime. But I think what gets them to work with him is that they just like committing crimes, and he's willing to conspire with them and give them a job or two that could be done, and I think that criminal loyalties are strong through that. It's actually a really good question. I'm not sure, to be honest.
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby Rachel » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:23 pm

They're totally willing to just abandon him, so it's not respect or anything. I honestly think it's just that he's willing to be really horrible and he'll pay them for their troubles.
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:30 pm

They see him as a small cog in the game; not necessary but you may as well look out for it since it wouldn't hurt too much to.
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby Rachel » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:32 pm

Aurelia Combeferre wrote:They see him as a small cog in the game; not necessary but you may as well look out for it since it wouldn't hurt too much to.


also he has a pretty hot daughter


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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby MmeBahorel » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:52 am

Don't look for too much logical realism with Hugo and crime - he decided that Patron-Minette control all the muggings and carriage-jackings in Paris and the suburbs. Seriously. Also that Montparnasse has multiple bodies behind him by the age of 19 but we never see him do anything violent and he gets totally pwned by Valjean when trying to mug him. So don't try to make his descriptions and his details hold together.

These men Hugo calls "criminal masterminds" never actually act in ways that would make them criminal masterminds (Vidocq would laugh so hard). But there's also a whole list of redshirts we never actually see, and Boulatruelle, who we do see but not quite with them. Thenardier seems likely to be at the Boulatruelle level - he does stuff when they need him or he comes up with stuff that's just profitable enough to be worth their time. After the rue Plumet job goes south, we never see him in their company again, even as he works on ways to scam money out of Marius now. I think that's the most obvious sign that he is not an actual part of Patron Minette.
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby SpiritOfDawn » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:02 pm

He's a part time associate, I guess, that's basically it.

And when it comes to the prison, they only help him out out of sheer coincidence, more or less. Thenardier does the escaping from his cell all by himself and then gets stuck somewhere, where the already fled patron-Minette finds them and helps them out, if I remember correctly.
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby meow139 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:23 pm

Okay, so I just went insane and wrote an essay on Montparnasse. I'm not sure if any of this makes sense because it's absurdly complicated and disjointed, but-

Okay, so it was in reply to this tumblr post:
One of the things I love so much about Montparnasse as a fictional character is the question if he actually is a bad human being.
Do bad acts make you bad?
Can you be considered a bad person if you’re still just a child?
Is it still bad when you have no other choice at all?

And to make your head burn some more: What about about Enjolras?


And I replied with this (brace yourselves, very long post!):

"Personally… I don’t think that Montparnasse is a bad person. At all. I think he’s just a kid who isn’t really sure how to grow up because he never really had anyone to look after him. All he knows is that he’s pretty- he was told that many, many times by many, many people, until he finally decided that if he wanted to get ahead in life then his ticket was his looks. So he became very, very vain. However, he had a problem- no resources. Hereby, he turned to crime. The way I see it, his life played out like a slow escalation- he started off stealing to survive, then he stole to look good, and then when stealing wasn’t enough anymore, for whatever reason- and I don’t doubt that the influence of the rest of Patron-Minette had anything to do with this- he turned to murder.

But why does he murder? Not because he enjoys it. Montparnasse is not evil. He is not sadistic. He doesn’t enjoy hurting people. Maybe he does get a bit of a thrill out of it, but so would anyone, right? Maybe he enjoys having the power over whether this well dressed bourgeois lives or dies, because for all of his life this man and people like him have held power over him. Now the cards are reversed. Still he doesn’t enjoy killing them. But he does enjoy looking nice, and that’s the whole thing- he want to look nice, and that’s why he does it. The people who die are just collateral damage in his quest to look good. Why should he care about them, anyhow? People who never gave half a damn about him, who wouldn’t care if he lived or died- why should he care about them? He isn’t a good person, by any means- he’s greedy and vain and has absolutely no value for human life.

He is not a monster, but he has learned to be cold. The sufferings of others do not bother him any more than the worms crawling in the dirt.

And on to these questions, which are really, REALLY interesting- is he a bad human being?

No. I don’t think he is. I think that’s exactly his problem- he doesn’t think enough, and he’s so quick to write himself off as bad that he doesn’t put in the effort to be good, because why should he? He sees himself as a bad person, and that’s all he’ll ever be. He embraces it, because as long as he has his looks and his clothes he really doesn’t need anything else. But even so he is capable of being selfless- he risks everyone’s asses to save useless Thenardier, treats Gavroche as an equal and even warns Éponine when he has a knife out.

Do his bad acts make him bad? Well, you can decide that for yourself, because I’ve already said enough above on that.

And Montparnasse is still just a child- like I said before, he’s a dumb kid. He’s what- eighteen, nineteen? He’s old enough to know the difference between good and bad, right and wrong- but like I said, he sees himself as being on the bad side. Is he really as bad as he thinks?

Also, he just doesn’t fit in with the other members of Patron-Minette. Three fourths of Patron-Minette are just stereotypical criminals- Guelemer as the big, brutish, stupid one; Babet, the intelligent, cunning one; Claquesous, the mysterious, unknowable one; and… the pretty one… Montparnasse isn’t like the others. Where they’re all stereotypes, Hugo had to actually think on Montparnasse and work on his character. He’s different from his gang, yet he still partakes in the violence all the same.

But then- does he have any other choice? Well, let’s look at his conversation with Valjean.

Valjean is so critical of him, and Valjean, while trying to scare him, INSISTS that his life doesn’t have to be like this. He tells him that he does have a choice. But let’s look at this objectively, because we’re obviously meant to side with Valjean here.

Parnasse has no family to help him out. He has no resources to get any higher job than a laborer- think Feuilly. Montparnasse could be Feuilly.

But we have to ask- how smart is he? Can he read or write? He’s obviously smart enough to get away with murder, but this sort of intelligence probably won’t get him that far. He can either become a laborer or a criminal. Either one sucks and he knows that. As a laborer, he’ll be doing basically the same hard work as in the galleys- the work that tans the skin, callouses the hands, hunches the back. He will hardly be rewarded for his work, and it takes away the only thing he has to be proud of- his looks. He chose to be a criminal to avoid that, because he sees being a criminal as his better option.

So Valjean lectures him, but does he actually help him? Does he give him an out of this life? He lectures him on how Parnasse will end up in prison, but all Montparnasse is thinking while he is hearing this is “what does he know? he doesn’t know me. What options do I have?” Montparnasse has already fell into the pit of criminality, and how can he crawl back out? Who will help him? No wonder he just mutters an insult in reply.

But even so, don’t start hating on Valjean just yet because Valjean DID in fact give him an out. In the purse- six napoleons and some loose change- more than 120 francs. That is, in fact, certainly enough to live on while looking for work. So Valjean did give Montparnasse an option. Valjean practically handed Montparnasse a chance at a new life, yet Montparnasse didn’t take immediate advantage of this and it slipped away. This is like most of what he has likely know his entire life- go for the opportunity fast before it’s taken. What would have happened if Montparnasse had held on to that purse? We don’t know.

Anyhow, so this is my take on these questions and holy hell this is long and confusing. I’m sorry, I suck so badly at this meta thing and this is probably the most disjointed thing you’ve ever read, but…. if anyone can make sense of this, good on you. This is just my take on the character of Montparnasse and don’t even get me started on Enjolras or else we’ll be here all day."

What do you guys think, because eventually I just started pouring out a bunch of Monty thoughts down here. Does any of it make any sense? More importantly, am I horrifically wrong in any of it?
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby WhoIam » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:22 pm

That was really insightful and awesome. :D
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby Gervais » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:30 pm

Oh man, thanks for that; now I really want to reread/skip to the Patron-Minette sections of the brick. :D From what I remember, though, I agree with pretty much everything you have here.
He is not a monster, but he has learned to be cold. The sufferings of others do not bother him any more than the worms crawling in the dirt.

This is probably a really good basic description of him, with the "dumb kid" comment a little later. All he really cares about now are clothes and his looks, because that's pretty much all he has. He may have some trust in the Patron-Minette, as his fellows, but from what I remember they really aren't friends, and the one closest to him in age is more of a rival than a comrade. He's cocky, he's somewhat lazy, he's vain. He also comes across as being fairly clever and being able to take care of himself decently well, though that may not be directly stated (it's been about a year, sorry), may or may not have some sort of thing with Éponine, and could have probably been a pretty bright kid in the more traditional sense if he had been born to a better family (this is based on assumption and poor memory, but makes sense that his family would've been lower class as well).

The one issue I have when thinking about him is that he pretty much kills for fashion. Where's the line between killing for that and killing for fun? It's probably the only life he's ever known, like you said, but still; he still kills and it's not entirely necessary.

Some random thoughts that someone who's read more recently might find multiple holes with, sorry.
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Re: writing Patron-Minette?

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:52 am

Interesting thoughts.

I see Montparnasse as an ambivalent character, the result of a system that doesn't do much good for forming persons. He does what he believes he has to do to survive and maintain some dignity about him, even if yes his actions are quite questionable. He's quite dangerous but may not be as hardened a person as he seems.

And am I glad to finally get to this discussion after all the bad Montparnasse fanon I've been subjected to.
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