Study Guide

Les Misérables Marriage

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Mawwiage is what bwings us together … unless it's driving us apart. In the first half of the book, marriage is just one more stick of suffering to add to the pile. The absence of marriage causes Fantine's suffering; the Thénardier's marriage doesn't seem to be bringing them much pleasure; and the happiest people we meet are the single ones. But, as with so many other themes, the second half of Les Misérables turns it all around to focus on getting Cosette and Marius hitched—and all they have to do is survive a bloody revolt in the process. Hm, it sounds like Hugo might think of marriage as the ultimate solution to a world in conflict with itself.

Questions About Marriage

  1. Do you buy the whole story about Tholomyès ditching Fantine while she's pregnant and treating it as a joke? Is anyone really this inconsiderate? Why or why not?
  2. Why does Marius' grandfather object to Marius' wedding with Cosette? What changes his mind?
  3. How does Jean Valjean first react to the idea of Marius marrying Cosette? Support your answer with evidence from the text.
  4. What sticky situation does Cosette's wedding put Jean Valjean in? How does he deal with it?

Chew on This

In Les Misérables, Victor Hugo shows us that whatever horrible things might happen to us in life, getting married can make them all better.

In Les Misérables, Victor Hugo shows us that marriage should give us a model for love that we should bring to all of our human relationships.

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