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Thread: Anyone help me out?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Anyone help me out?

    I'm writing this summary for Les Mis, and I think it's great, but I would like a second pair of eyes to look over it to see if I've missed anything or if I have any inaccuracies. Since none of my family has read the book, this is my only resort. Help me out?

    "Jean Valjean has been released from prison after stealing a loaf of bread and all the inn’s in town reject him because of his status as an ex-convict. After M. Myriel lets him stay in a church, Valjean repays him by stealing. When authorities get into the problem, Myriel defends him and from then on Valjean struggles to become and honorable man. Years later, Valjean has become mayor under his new identity of Monsieur Madeline. The new name Valjean adopts is the key for him achieving all he wants to peruse. Soon after, a police officer named Javert, an old foe, attempts to arrest him. Valjean leaves the town before Javert can get near him though and in his effort to help the poverty-stricken, he meets a mother, Fantine, and her daughter, Cosette. The father, Tholomyès is no longer in the picture because he abandoned her after Cosette was born. Fantine was rather forced into sending Cosette to the Thenardiers, a family that owns an inn, and has turned to prostitution to pay the monthly “fee” they demanded of her. Now sick and about to die, she asks Valjean to get Cosette away from the family so she will be more safe. Javert finds that Madeline is truly Valjean and as he is with Fantine, Javert arrests him. Fantine dies from the shock. After Valjean escapes from prison, he stands by Fantine’s request and learns that the family that is “taking care” of Cosette wickedly abuses her and that they have very little money. Valjean snatches the little girl and raises her as if she were his true daughter. Cosette grows older and eventually she falls in love with a man named Marius Pontmercy. Marius in return ends up loving Cosette as well. Valjean soon has to deal with the pain of losing her, but all the same, the two marry and soon after, Valjean dies in the presence of both."
    Last edited by LauraEliz94; 01-04-2010 at 12:30 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hi, LauraEliz,

    I think it's great you write that summary of Les Miserablesand since it's quite a large volume it's not easy to summarize it. I tried to read your summarywith a critical eye not to dishearten you but to, maybe, help you to achieve an outstanding mark ;-).

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraEliz94 View Post
    "Jean Valjean has been released from prison after stealing a loaf of bread
    This sounds like he was RELEASED for stealing. He was, of course, imprisoned for stealing and sentenced to 19 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraEliz94 View Post
    and all the inn’s in town reject him because of his status as an ex-convict. After M. Myriel lets him stay in a church,
    I would recommend to explain who M. Myriel is (the bishop of Digne) and that he offers Valjean lodging in his own house.

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraEliz94 View Post
    Valjean repays him by stealing. When authorities get into the problem, Myriel defends him and from then on Valjean struggles to become and honorable man. Years later, Valjean has become mayor under his new identity of Monsieur Madeline. The new name Valjean adopts is the key for him achieving all he wants to peruse. Soon after, a police officer named Javert, an old foe, attempts to arrest him.
    It might be helpful to explain how Javert knew him: by the strength with which he liftened a runaway cart.

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraEliz94 View Post
    Valjean leaves the town before Javert can get near him though
    That's not exactly correct. Valjean offers himself at a court because Javert has arrested somebody else he believes to be Valjean. He manages to go to Fantine before he is arrested, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraEliz94 View Post
    and and in his effort to help the poverty-stricken, he meets a mother, Fantine, and her daughter, Cosette. The father, Tholomyès is no longer in the picture because he abandoned her after Cosette was born. Fantine was rather forced into sending Cosette to the Thenardiers, a family that owns an inn, and has turned to prostitution to pay the monthly “fee” they demanded of her. Now sick and about to die, she asks Valjean to get Cosette away from the family so she will be more safe. Javert finds that Madeline is truly Valjean and as he is with Fantine, Javert arrests him. Fantine dies from the shock. After Valjean escapes from prison, he stands by Fantine’s request and learns that the family that is “taking care” of Cosette wickedly abuses her and that they have very little money. Valjean snatches the little girl and raises her as if she were his true daughter. Cosette grows older and eventually she falls in love with a man named Marius Pontmercy. Marius in return ends up loving Cosette as well. Valjean soon has to deal with the pain of losing her, but all the same, the two marry and soon after, Valjean dies in the presence of both."
    This is if not accurate more or less correct. May I ask why you leave out the revolutionary students? Do you, perchance, have read a school's edition that's probably shortened a lot?

    Anyway, I think it's a good summary to introduce others who know virtually nothing about the book. :-)

  3. #3
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Hello, LauraEliz,

    Quote Originally Posted by Kemathenga View Post
    This sounds like he was RELEASED for stealing. He was, of course, imprisoned for stealing and sentenced to 19 years.
    While I agree with the argument that the sentence is not quite right, I don't agree with the rest. Jean Valjean was never sentenced to 19 years in one go, but was sentenced to (nonetheless a heavy) few years hard labour (in the words of Hugo somewhere in that book 'because the king needed people to row his galleys) and then tried to escape several times for which he as punished by more hard labour which in the end all came together in 19 years. It is still him who decided to make it 19 years, by escaping. In the end he just gave up (I think).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kemathenga View Post
    I would recommend to explain who M. Myriel is (the bishop of Digne) and that he offers Valjean lodging in his own house.
    I would also explain. I'd just put 'benevolent' bishop of Digne or something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kemathenga View Post
    It might be helpful to explain how Javert knew him: by the strength with which he liftened a runaway cart.
    That's not quite right. Javert was once Jean Valjean's jailer and so recognised him when Valjean as Mr Madeleine was compelled to lift that cart off Fauchelevant. However, Javert will change his mind later (see later on in this message).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kemathenga View Post
    That's not exactly correct. Valjean offers himself at a court because Javert has arrested somebody else he believes to be Valjean. He manages to go to Fantine before he is arrested, though.
    This is the continuation of the above: Javert did not arrest Champmathieu, but Champmathieu was arrested by the system because they were looking for Jean Valjean, possibl with a false identity (for the crime the coin that was stolen from Petit Gervais earlier in the novel). Their Interpol-system was not so efficient as it is now and so by chance someone came onto Champmathieu who they believed fitted the bill for this obscure case. Javert was surprised that Mr Madeleine was not Jean Valjean and even comes to appologise to his mayor.

    There is sadly a lot that is missing, but I suppose that a summary needs to be what it says and not another book . I think you did your best very well and I think it was deep choice for school!
    Last edited by kiki1982; 01-05-2010 at 03:20 PM.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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