Possible major or minor spoilers
Today is Veteran’s day. When it comes to this day, I tend to think about the June Rebellion of 1832 at times. People tend to think the uprising in Les Mis is the French Revolution, but it actually takes place after the Revolution. This took place on June 5th and 6th of 1832. and was very unsuccessful. As a matter of fact, Victor Hugo actually witnessed this rebellion.
This was the uprising that Victor Hugo decided to use in his masterpiece, Les Misérables. In the musical, the uprising consisted of a group of young college students. The reason why they started this uprising was due to the very weak government. General Lamarque was the only person in the government who showed compassion and kindness towards the poor. When the students decided to arrange this uprising, General Lamarque was dying of cholera.
This uprising was lead by the passionate leader, Enjolras. In total there were nine main members of this political student group. This group stayed passionate towards the end no matter what. There was a moment in the show where Valjean realized that Cosette loved Marius. Valjean was conflicted between if he should save Marius or should he not because of how much Cosette means to him. He decided to join the students in order to save Marius’ life.
The uprising mainly takes place in the second act. At the beginning, Eponine decides to join Marius at the barricades. She is disguised as a boy, but Marius recognizes her and asks her to deliver a letter to Cosette. Eponine loves Marius unrequitedly, but she does do what Marius asks of her. Marius sees Eponine as no more than a friend and only has eyes for Cosette. Marius only sent her away to protect her from the uprising and wants her safe.
Well, she does deliver the letter, but she still returns to the barricade. While climbing over the barricade, she gets shot and unfortunately her wound ends up being fatal. Despite knowing that she is dying, Eponine still climbs down the barricade to tell Marius that she delivered the letter. Marius has no clue that Eponine is dying at this point. He soon realizes after she collapsed in his arms. But Marius shows her compassion and stays with her till the end. This does leave Marius devastated because he truly cared about Eponine and was fully aware of how unhappy Eponine was. The fact that Eponine got to die in the arms of the man she loved actually gave her peace, comfort, and happiness for once. That is why the scene is so bittersweet and touching. I feel devastated that Eponine is dying, but feel joy knowing that she is happy for once in her life.
After Eponine died, the students realized how outnumbered they really were. Valjean joined soon after the first death. Even Valjean knew that there was a chance that Marius would not survive the battle. “Drink with Me” is a very sweet song, but the students truly felt hopeless during this number. They realized the situation they have put themselves because they already witnessed a death. Marius at this moment was still devastated at the loss of Eponine.
After the students decided to sleep for the night, Valjean prayed to God that Marius needs to live. This takes place during a very delicate and beautiful song, “Bring Him Home”. This song shows that Valjean would do anything for his adopted daughter even if it means losing her forever. Valjean realized he does not have much time left because he is old.
The next day, the students still felt hopeless, but yet still had the passion. Gavroche was the second person who died at the barricades. He jumped over the barricade to collect more ammunition, but was killed in the process. But he died a hero because he jumped over the barricade to collect more ammunition. This truly upset the students even more. The government was telling them they should just give up because they had no chance. They still fought despite what they were told. All of students including Enjolras died during the final battle, but they still stood up for what they believed in even though they lost.
Marius was the lucky one who survived thanks to Valjean. Marius was severely wounded and fell unconscious. Valjean carried Marius through the sewers in order to rescue him. If it wasn’t for Valjean, Marius would have died as well. Marius went through survivor’s guilt wishing he died too.
The June Rebellion may have been a forgotten piece of history, but it is still well known. All because of one book, the June Rebellion will always be remembered. The June Rebellion reflects the fact that France had a very weak government after the French Revolution. There were several rebellions and Victor Hugo actually witnessed the June Rebellion, which is why it is part of his famous novel.