Dak Reads Les Misérables / FANTINE: Book 3

About: Dak reads Les Misérables and recaps it here, so that she may better retain the information. Things not to expect: deep literary analysis. Things to expect: Spoilers. All the spoilers.


Book 3:
In Which We Are Introduced to Fantine and her Posse

So, let’s leave Jean ValJean behind for a while and learn all about the names and places and fashions and events/political climate of the time. The time is 1817. Seriously, the names and events come flying at you fast and furiously in the beginning of this chapter as the scene is set.

We meet Fantine near Paris, a rather mysterious young lady whose origins are unclear. She only bears one name, having no known family. She works as a seamstress and is having an affair with a thirty year old student named Felix Tholomyès who seems to be crumbling apart at the seams, decrepit before his time, but at least he has good humour about it. She is young and beautiful *Let me stress that Fantine is beautiful here* and in love with him though.

And he’s just having fun. Yep. It’s that old story.

One day, Felix comes up with a brilliant idea. He and his friends are going to surprise the ladies! Oh, how nice — Is what I would be saying if I did not know the main plot points of this story already. In any case, he and his friends take Fantine and her friends for a Sunday outing. It’s a scene that I’d like to imagine looks something like a Renoir painting…y’know if Renoir had been painting stuff at the time. (I am aware that this takes place 20 some years prior to his birth, before someone is kind enough to point that out for me.)

Well, they are having a jolly good time, and the men are in especially fine spirits. Felix talks and talks and talks (He even talks about how the girls probably shouldn’t want to get married, which is a gigantic red flag if I ever saw one. They are pretty much clueless, and everybody thinks Felix is charming and wonderful.) Basically, only a horse dying in the street gets him to finally shut-up. The girls request their surprise, and they’re really excited about it, which makes me rather sad.

The guys wander off, and Fantine makes note of a coach stopping along the road. She thinks it odd, and her pals think she’s just not worldly enough to know that is a regular thing. They laugh it off. It’s a tiny detail, but I’m going to assume that this coach contained their guys who are totally ditching them where they stand. They are probably laughing it up and patting Felix on the back for this brilliance.

The girls only find out that they’ve been dumped an hour later when a kid comes out and hands them a letter of explanation.

Yes, my friends, they have been broken up with by text. Group text.

The men, it seems, have gone back to their families to be proper gentlemen or something, and the ladies should be grateful for them having spent time together at all. What a packet of assholes!

Fantine goes home heartbroken, because this guy was her first love.

Oh, and by the way? She’s got a kid with him.


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