1.6 Javert 23/10/10-24/10/10

Abaissé re-reads the novel in its entirety! All welcome, no matter whether you're reading in French or some other translation. Discussion topics for each step along the way.

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Re: 1.6 Javert 23/10/10-24/10/10

Postby meow139 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:19 pm

That's sort of funny that ONLY Javert cares about getting the real Valjean compared to the actual court who carry out the laws he's so dedicated to. That's why it annoys me when people call Javert a villian, because he's not. He's a cop going after a man who committed a crime- a good man, but still a criminal. The thing is in Les Misérables, there is no real villian except society, which all the characters are victimized by in one way or the other, and this scene represents that. The law is willing to put an innocent man behind bars despite weak evidence, and Javert relly only wants Valjean behind bars, except he doesn't know that Champmatheiu isn't Valjean at all.
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Re: 1.6 Javert 23/10/10-24/10/10

Postby humanracer » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:34 pm

Meow, that is a really good analysis. There doesn't seem to be many people discussing in the read through threads so thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

The following paragraphs come a little later in the book but I think they sum up Javert perfectly:

"Javert was in heaven at that moment. Without putting the thing clearly to himself, but with a confused intuition of the necessity of his presence and of his success, he, Javert, personified justice, light, and truth in their celestial function of crushing out evil. Behind him and around him, at an infinite distance, he had authority, reason, the case judged, the legal conscience, the public prosecution, all the stars; he was protecting order, he was causing the law to yield up its thunders, he was avenging society, he was lending a helping hand to the absolute, he was standing erect in the midst of a glory. There existed in his victory a remnant of defiance and of combat. Erect, haughty, brilliant, he flaunted abroad in open day the superhuman bestiality of a ferocious archangel. The terrible shadow of the action which he was accomplishing caused the vague flash of the social sword to be visible in his clenched fist; happy and indignant, he held his heel upon crime, vice, rebellion, perdition, hell; he was radiant, he exterminated, he smiled, and there was an incontestable grandeur in this monstrous Saint Michael.

Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him.

Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand: their majesty, the majesty peculiar to the human conscience, clings to them in the midst of horror; they are virtues which have one vice,--error. The honest, pitiless joy of a fanatic in the full flood of his atrocity preserves a certain lugubriously venerable radiance. Without himself suspecting the fact, Javert in his formidable happiness was to be pitied, as is every ignorant man who triumphs. Nothing could be so poignant and so terrible as this face, wherein was displayed all that may be designated as the evil of the good."

Thanks again

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