Similarities

Novels, poetry, non-fiction works. Anything bound in paper, pretty much.
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SylvieProuvaire1832
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Similarities

Postby SylvieProuvaire1832 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:43 am

So currently in school, we've been reading 'The Scarlet Letter' which is a really fantastic book, and it really struck me as funny how similair Hester Prynne and Fantine are. They both have children out of wedlock in time periods when it wasn't acceptable, both found themselves ostracized from society because of it, and both let themselves suffer in order to care for their children. When the book talked about how Hester dresses her little Pearl in all the fancy clothing, and is dressed soberly herself, it reminded me of the scene where Fantine is travelling with Cosette and she's dressed prettily beyond Fantine's means.

So, what do you think? Any other characters from other books that make you think of Les Mis? I just thought it would be an interesting thing to discuss. :)
Have courage for the greatest sorrows of life and patience for the small ones, and when you have labouriously acomplished your daily tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

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Postby Marianne » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:48 am

St. John Rivers from Jane Eyre could well be Enjolras' long-lost twin. It's kind of eerie. Except Enjolras doesn't have the scary-controlling, mold-your-life-around-me thing going on, no matter what fanon says.
[Dieu] entend ta voix, ô fille des hommes! aussi bien que celle des constellations; car rien n'est petit pour celui devant lequel rien n'est grand.
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Postby Sieglinde » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:53 pm

Uncle Tom's Cabin (one of my all-time-favourites): Tom is similarly saintly and Christ-like as Valjean, and suffers a lot, but he's totally innocent.

And Eliza shows some similarity to Fantine, although she has a happy ending.

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SylvieProuvaire1832
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Postby SylvieProuvaire1832 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:37 pm

Oooh, I totally agree about St. John! I remember reading the physical description of him and nearly giggling because it was Enjolras. It funny how they are so similar in their obsession and their chastity. I was so disapointed when he turned out to be so ...controlling and scary like you said.
Have courage for the greatest sorrows of life and patience for the small ones, and when you have labouriously acomplished your daily tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

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2BFREE
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Re: Similarities

Postby 2BFREE » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:07 am

Another old thread. But I have got to say A Tale of Two Cities's Sydney Carton is like an English Grantaire. They both like their drink, have lost faith in humanity, and have some kind of love for beautiful blonde people. Not to mention they both have death scenes that reduced me to a puddle of tears. :cry:

And I totally agree with Sylvie Prouvaire about how Hester and Fantine are very similiar. I got my friend to read both Les Misérables and The Scarlet Letter (however she's not obsessed in the least). When I asked her if she,too, thought that Hester and Fantine were alike, she replied "I didn't even understand The Scarlet Letter!" I was appalled.
A toast to bread, for without it we would not have toast...nor Les Misérables.

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Re: Similarities

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:34 pm

Jose Rizal's novel "El Filibusterismo" has characters who are in a radical student society (though they are more bohemian than idealistic).
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

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silverwhistle
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Re: Similarities

Postby silverwhistle » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:21 pm

SylvieProuvaire1832 wrote:So currently in school, we've been reading 'The Scarlet Letter' which is a really fantastic book, and it really struck me as funny how similair Hester Prynne and Fantine are. They both have children out of wedlock in time periods when it wasn't acceptable, both found themselves ostracized from society because of it, and both let themselves suffer in order to care for their children. When the book talked about how Hester dresses her little Pearl in all the fancy clothing, and is dressed soberly herself, it reminded me of the scene where Fantine is travelling with Cosette and she's dressed prettily beyond Fantine's means.

So, what do you think? Any other characters from other books that make you think of Les Mis? I just thought it would be an interesting thing to discuss. :)

Funny, because I had wondered if Hawthorne was a Hugo-fan for other (NDdP) reasons, what with Arthur being brilliant but sexually tormented and guilt-ridden and cutting up his chest…
- Entends-tu? je t'aime! cria-t-il encore.
- Quel amour! dit la malheureuse en frémissant.
Il reprit: - L'amour d'un damné.

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silverwhistle
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Re: Similarities

Postby silverwhistle » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:26 pm

Hardy makes more than a few nods to Les Mis in The Mayor of Casterbridge (the reprobate turned Mayor, with a past he cannot escape; the daughter who isn't a daughter; the wedding and the death/funeral), and some to NDdP in Far from the Madding Crowd (girl with different suitors; flashy soldier with classical name; introverted man who attacks soldier and goes mad).
- Entends-tu? je t'aime! cria-t-il encore.
- Quel amour! dit la malheureuse en frémissant.
Il reprit: - L'amour d'un damné.

Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris

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Kuehenberg
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Re: Similarities

Postby Kuehenberg » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:18 pm

I got a nerdy and freaky similarity: Les Misérables VS Lord of the Rings

:arrow: The battle at the barricade is similar to Helm´s Deep, because both are battles where the "good" side is sorrounded and outnumbered.
:arrow: Jean Valjean in the sewers carrying Marius is like Samsagaz in Mordor carrying Frodo. Thenárdier is a doorman as Gollum is a guide.
:arrow: Besides, there are more similarities between Thenárdier and Gollum, but the main similarity is that, being bad people, both have a providential role in the end.
:arrow: Gillenormand/Denethor, and his attitude towards Marius/Faramir.
:arrow: Tolkien´s physical description of Moria reminds me of Hugo´s moral descriptions of the society depths.
:arrow: Nazguls are multiplied sosias of Javert, as they are hunters, whereas the Ring can be a metaphor of the Guilt, both the internal of Valjean as the guilt before the justice Javert want to fullfill.
:arrow: May look rare, but Boromir looks me like Éponine, since he is a rude character who finally sacrificates himself for something he feels as precious, just like Éponine.
:arrow: Tom Bombadil looks like a kind of Gavroche. Both are happy and lords of their little kingdoms.
:arrow: Hobbiton is a kind of Montreuil-sur-Mer. Quiet and happy places from where the main character has to go in order to fullfill a mission.
:arrow: Fellowship of the Ring, specially hobbits, loosely inspired in the ABC friends, with Frodo as Marius, Aragorn as Enjolras, and Pippin as Grantaire.
:arrow: Myriel and Gandalf, both of them make a change on the main character at the beginning.
:arrow: The sense of Loss in both works, reflected mainly in the change from Fantine´s happy era/Middle Land´s Golden Age, to both ends.
:arrow: Tolkien´s metaphor of the Hobbits, little people, symbolizing the poor people. Even the littlest one can be a hero/even a poor one between the poor ones can be a hero (Valjean).

I am sure that more similarities can be found.

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Re: Similarities

Postby Phan_in_Mizland » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:37 am

Also, in the land of A Tale of Two Cities An old man was in a French Prison for a log time and lost himself.

THis conversation totally reminds me of me and my friends comparing Harry Potter to King Arthur.

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Saint Jolras
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Re: Similarities

Postby Saint Jolras » Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:47 am

A lot of these seem to be reaching pretty far, particularly the LotR ones.

"The battle at the barricade is similar to Helm´s Deep, because both are battles where the "good" side is sorrounded and outnumbered."

The same could be said about any book that features a war or battle. The ones that are doing the uprising are typically the ones in the minority. If they weren't the minority, they'd be doing the ruling.

"Nazguls are multiplied sosias of Javert, as they are hunters, whereas the Ring can be a metaphor of the Guilt, both the internal of Valjean as the guilt before the justice Javert want to fullfill."

I don't really understand this one. The Nazguls have little choice but to hunt the ring. Javert made his choice. Javert lives by his own code. The whole metaphor thing is really stretching the envelope.

There are similarities and then there are things that happen in just about every fantasy or fictional piece of work.

You could say that LotR was about a small group of people banding together to defeat the Big Bad. This doesn't hold up to Les Mis since the small group of people in Les Mis don't succeed, but there isn't a true Big Bad in the book. There are ideals that they want to overcome, there's a society that they want to overthrow, there are injustices to correct. It's more encompassing than having a final game end boss.

I don't mean to rag on just the LotR things, but similarities in appearances? Really? I'm sure there are thousands of pretty blonds sprinkled all throughout literature. I'm sure there are many big guys who wear chinwarmers and have the heart of a teddybear. I'm sure there are lots of of antiheroes who look severe. This doesn't mean they have anything in common with their Les Mis lookalikes.

Is this what the thread was originally going for? Perhaps I'm just confused as I thought it'd be delving deeper into concepts, ideas, characterizations, and other in-depth issues from society to the treatment of "less desirables", etc.
But I don't feel like dancin' when the old joanna plays
My heart could take a chance but my two feet can't find a way
You'd think that I could muster up a little soft shoe gentle sway
But I don't feel like dancin', no sir, no dancin' today.

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Re: Similarities

Postby MmeJavert » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:22 pm

...did someone pee in your cornflakes, Saint Jolras? Or am I just imagining you being negative for the sake of being negative, and not really contributing positively?

Yes, this is apparently what the thread was designed for. You don't have to read threads you don't like, you know. Instead of denigrating other people and their posts, you could simply walk away. May I point you towards Rule #1 again? If people want to have threads about similaries, even superficial ones, they're allowed and encouraged here. There are probably threads that go deeper into the similarities you thought of, or you could always add your own thoughts to the discussion, rather than just dissing other people's.
and to this day, she's glided on
always home but so far away
like a word misplaced
nothing said, what a waste

~pearl jam, "dissident"

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Saint Jolras
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Re: Similarities

Postby Saint Jolras » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:56 pm

My apologies. My comment wasn't meant to be negative solely for the sake of being negative. I had hoped that perhaps the ones making the similarities could offer a bit more depth and discussion, particularly since I never read the LotR books and mayhap there was something I was missing. Clearly, I failed.

That being said, and to keep from being passive aggressive, if I was being bitchy or overly negative and you call me out on it, is it commonplace to be negative right back? I ran the post via my gf to make sure I wasn't sounding overly aggressive and when she couldn't find anything wrong with it, I figured it was fine. Wrong on both counts, apparently.
But I don't feel like dancin' when the old joanna plays
My heart could take a chance but my two feet can't find a way
You'd think that I could muster up a little soft shoe gentle sway
But I don't feel like dancin', no sir, no dancin' today.

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TCRegan
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Re: Similarities

Postby TCRegan » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:08 am

Without meaning to add fuel to the fire of any kind here, I'll point out why I approve of Saint Jolras' arguments, though it being awhile since I've read LotR, I'm not sure how much I can expand on in similarities. I hate feeling like I have to add a disclaimer here, since I don't want to be asked if anyone's peed in my cornflakes, since I'm merely expressing an opinion.

As far as Helm's Deep goes. I don't wholly agree with the metaphor because they received reinforcements. Though I've yet to finish Les Mis, it's my understanding that the people of Paris did rise, but were beaten back by the National Guard that they didn't bother again. That would be like the Rohirrim going, "Oh well. We're outnumbered. Time to turn around. Sorry we couldn't help you." It kind of fits, but it's not a perfect metaphor for that reason.

I wouldn't liken Javert to the Nazgul. If you're using the metaphor of the Ring being guilt or being Valjean in that case, Gollum fits so much better. He had the ring, then he lost it. Then he continuously gets close to it through the books and in the end, it's his undoing. The Nazgul are slaves to the ring. As is Gollum, I suppose, but the joy that Gollum gets out of the ring is bittersweet, like Javert's final victory over Valjean. Oh and the whole ... falling to one's death is a nice parallel in my opinion.

I don't know if Lord of the Rings is the best comparison for Les Mis at all because you have Sauron, who is the big bad, and you have his armies. The hobbits don't care, so long as they're left alone. Same with the dwarves. The men fight, the elves join. It's a rather black and white battle between good vs evil which Les Mis decidedly isn't.

The metaphor would work better with something like the Star Wars extended universe. Yes, there is a big bad - the Emperor. (And/or Darth Vader here, but for intents of the metaphor we'll go with the Emperor) The empire is pretty much deemed as okay in a lot of parts. Now I said the extended universe because in the movies we only see the Rebellion's side of things. How bad the Empire can be, etc. But if you read the books, the Empire isn't wholly EVIL. Just as while the bourgeoisie were certainly... I don't know. Snobbish, I suppose. They weren't wholly evil. They didn't walk around spitting in the working man's face, I guess is the point I'm trying to make. Yet, the people who supported the Rebellion were feeling oppressed enough that they wanted to rise up and fight against them.

No one metaphor is going to fit because Les Mis, while allegorical, is extremely intricate and very unique.

I used to play the game of, "Which Harry Potter character is X most like," because that was my big fascination before Les Mis. I even tried it with Les Mis but it doesn't work. And when I tried going, "Which Les Mis character is X most like," I failed utterly.

Themes, however, are easier. But if we're talking similarities in themes from Les Mis to others, we'll be here forever. It boils down to humanity and hope in a nutshell.
However, this sceptic had one fantacism. This fantacism was neither a dogma, nor an art, nor a science; it was a man: Enjolras. Grantaire admired, loved and venerated Enjolras.

Grantaire, in whom writhed doubt, loved to watch faith soar in Enjolras.

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Saint Jolras
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Re: Similarities

Postby Saint Jolras » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:16 am

I should probably just add disclaimers to my posts now. :roll:

How do you feel about Gollum relating to Thenardier? I liked the bit where he served as the gatekeeper in both. If you wanted to go into more depth, I suppose you could argue that Thenardier opening up the gate for Valjean at the end in the sewers was symbolic in a way. Allowing Valjean his freedom somewhat, enough to get to the main goal and do what he feels he must do. In which Gollum (keep wanting to call him the gollum) helped lead Frodo to..

That volcano. Mordor? I'm faltering here.

But then I think something gets a little lost since Thenardier started out the book 'bad' while Gollum teetered between good and bad here and there. There was a personal struggle within him that Thenardier lacked. Thenardier, it seemed, was far more resolute.

I'm just pointing this out since the gatekeeper bit was a nice touch.

Disclaimer: The above post may contain a different opinion. The poster did not mean any hurt feelings by this post. If it would help, feel free to read the above post in a sing-songy manner.
But I don't feel like dancin' when the old joanna plays
My heart could take a chance but my two feet can't find a way
You'd think that I could muster up a little soft shoe gentle sway
But I don't feel like dancin', no sir, no dancin' today.


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