Bring Him Home Analysis

Major Spoiler Alert:

“Bring Him Home” is a sung by Valjean at the barricades. As a bit of background, one of the main plot lines in Les Mis is the uprising arranged by college-age students. Marius, who loves Cosette, is one of the revolutionaries. A couple scenes back, Valjean has discovered that his adopted daughter, Cosette, loves Marius and because Valjean loves Cosette so much, he heads over to the barricades in order to protect Marius.

“Bring Him Home” is a prayer that Valjean sends to God in order to make sure that Marius survives the barricades. In “Drink With Me”, the song right before “Bring Him Home”, the students realize there is a high chance that most of them will be killed. After Eponine died, they realized just how outnumbered they really are and acknowledged the fact in “Drink With Me”. In “Bring Him Home”, Valjean brings up the fact that he would rather die than Marius because Marius is only a boy and still quite young and still has a future ahead of him. .

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This song can easily not be seemed that sad the first time around. But when seeing Les Mis a second time, this song becomes even sadder than what it appears. As a matter of fact, the rebellion ends up being a complete failure. Marius is the only survivor and with knowing that fact, it makes you realize during “Bring Hime Home” that the other students will not survive. As a matter of fact, Marius had to survive since he loves Cosette because Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light and if Marius didn’t survive, Cosette would not represent what she does in Les Mis. Valjean’s prayer at the barricades in a lot of ways is one of the places where spirituality shines through Les Mis even though the song is sadder than it appears and that is due to Valjean praying to God and throughout Les Mis, there is a love of God shown throughout.

Since it is Memorial Day, “Bring Him Home” can connect to the soldiers that families will hope survive even if they know there is a chance they might get killed. That sounds almost like Valjean’s situation. Valjean is getting older and he needs someone to continue caring and protecting Cosette.

What are your thoughts on “Bring Him Home”?

Parallels Between Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo

Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo are two of the most well-known authors. They have written some of my favorite classic books. But I cannot help, but see many parallels between their works, which might explain why I love both of these authors.

Dickens and Hugo tend to focus on the lower rungs of society. True, I read more Dickens books than Hugo, but it still is very obvious. The title, Les Misérables, means the downtrodden, the fugitives, and the outsiders. Les Misérables is home to the prostitute, Fantine, the criminals, the Thenardiers, the impoverished Eponine, daughter of the Thenardiers, and the orphan Cosette. Even though those are major characters, it does show impoverished citizens as well. Even in the case of the students, they fighting to stand up against the weak government since the government doesn’t care much about the poor.

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But in Dickens’, writing, two protagonists are actually poor. In Oliver Twist, Oliver is an orphan and was raised in poor conditions due to the poor conditions of the workhouses. And then later, after running away,  he comes across the two villains, Fagin and Bill Sikes, who hope to turn Oliver into a criminal. In Great Expectations as a matter of fact, Pip is also impoverished and he is the main character. While the main character in A Christmas Carol isn’t poor, the Cratchit family is very poor and that is difficult due to Tiny Tim being crippled. It is a bit hard to explain why Tale of Two Cities has the lower rungs of society.

So why do both authors tend to focus on criminals, the poor, prostitutes, orphans, and any person that would be on the lowest rungs of society? Well, when Dickens and Hugo wrote their books, both England and France were recovering from the most recent revolutions. England was recovering from the Revolutionary War and France was recovering from the French Revolution. In the time they wrote, they wrote in the style of Romanticism and one key aspect is the style liked to focus on the emotions. Both authors liked to focus on the them of redemption.

The reason why I am drawn to both Dickens and Hugo is because I have drawn to stories that focus on the lowest rungs of society due to a passion I have for helping that community. Dickens is much easier to read than Victor Hugo because Dickens doesn’t interrupt the plot with long history lessons. Hugo likes to constantly interrupt the plot with boring history lessons and that is the one downside to reading Victor Hugo. The next Hugo book I plan to read is Hunchback of Notre Dame and the next Dickens book I plan to read is Nicholas Nickleby.

Why do you think there are parallels between the two authors.

Experience of Loaves and Fishes

While some may know that I am a musical fanatic, there is another passion of mine that is equally important. I love to volunteer especially for those living in poverty. I grew up volunteering for that community. Later in high school when I did an dinner exercise at an outreach event, I realized that the vast majority of the world was living in poverty. Through that exercise, I learned that my main priority of volunteering was to help the poverty population. I also knew it was my calling to reach out to that community so in a way I developed a deep connection to the less fortunate.

Well today, I volunteered today with my dad at Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry for low-income families. It was founded by my church and originally was just a closet. Now it is like this mini grocery store where families of different sizes would come grocery shopping with one of the volunteers. Today was an especially busy day. I had to help by unfolding flat paper bags. I had to open up zip lock bags for someone to put chicken in. I had to help restock at times when donations came in and this time, Loaves and Fishes was given a big donation. We even had this big batch of families come in at once. Well after the family member shopped, us volunteers had to help load the cars and bring back the shopping cart. Usually in Loaves and Fishes, all I do usually is just help the families shop and load the cars and bring back the carts.

But due to number of clients coming in and a huge donation, it made all of us do even more than we typically end up dong. I have never seen volunteering as a sacrifice. Well I am helping those in need, I still have given something in return. You can see the gratitude they have for us reaching out. It gives me a feeling of reward and pleasure. In a lot of ways, volunteering is a huge part of my spiritual journey. My spiritual journey is very important to me due to being gifted with a strong spirit.

What Are Some Special Trips of Mine?

I have had such a fortunate life. Now, I want to share some of the best trips about my life and will share a bit of what makes them special.

  1. New York- In the picture below, it is in the year 2006 and I was 12 at the time. That trip consisted of just mom and me. That was a huge part of why the trip was meaningful to me. During this trip, my mom took me to see Wicked on Broadway. I don’t have many vivid memories of seeing Wicked, but I do remember that the song, Popular, was my favorite song from the musical. While I don’t have vivid memories of seeing Wicked, the impact clearly shows. Wicked sparked my love for musicals and it how I started to understand complexity in musical. It also was the beginning of understanding emotions as well and Elphaba became such a meaningful musical character in my life.

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2. Next up is Alaska. This was a trip that I went on in the year, 2011. I went with my extended family. We went through a group called Tauck Bridges. We got to explore nature a lot of times. It consisted of several hikes and a “glacier and whale” tour. I got to meet husky dogs. I even went panning for gold. This trip was basically a cruise, but instead of traveling by cruise trip, we traveled by bus.

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3. Costa Rica happened in 2014. I studied abroad for two weeks. Costa Rica like Alaska is another beautiful place to visit. I ended up staying with a host mom. The place we stayed at was Atenas. One special part was when we visited Monteverde.

Monteverde is a rain forest preserve. We hiked a lot when we were there. When we hiked the first time, it was fun being out in nature. The second round, I went on the canopy tour and at first, I didn’t know if I wanted to do it, but I decided to go on the canopy tour. The canopy tour is a zip-line above the canopy. Sometimes I got stuck in the middle, which was scary at times and a guide had to come get back and sometimes I had to go down with one.

We spent some time in the capitol of Costa Rica, which is San Jose. One time we spent the day exploring the place. Another day, we went to see a play, which was hard to understand since it was all in Spanish. But I was able to pick up on the fact that the show was comedy. Another thing we all did was visit a coffee plantation. Everything we did in Costa Rica was culture related.

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4. The same year, 2014, I went on another special trip. In December, I went on a plane by myself to spend a week with my grandma in St. Louis. That was one special trip and one very special part was seeing Annie. Annie was my favorite musical before seeing Wicked. I think I loved Annie so much as a kid due to Annie’s optimism and her relationship to Sandy.

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5. The most recent special trip I went on was England. Our church choir was in residence at Bristol Cathedral so England was a pilgrimage. The fact that the trip was a pilgrimage was a big reason why the trip was so meaningful. That year was 2015 in July and the pilgrimage began on the 31st. But the best part of the trip had nothing to do with the pilgrimage, but connected in some way.

The day before on July 30th, mom gave me a special treat. She actually took me to see Les Mis in London on the West End. It was my dream to see Les Mis in London. It was where the show truly began. At this performance, I had an understudy as Valjean. The cast I saw was brilliant and so was Adam Bayjou. I always get nervous when I hear I have understudies, but Adam has been the best Valjean I ever saw. In this cast, I finally felt for Javert due to how Jeremy Secomb portrayed him. The revolve was very effective and it helped with time change and was quite useful at the barricade. This production did make me cry and laugh and feel several emotions like I expected. Mom and I sat nine rows back from the stage.

Literally after hearing one note at this performance, I knew it was more than expected and I was speechless after both act I and act II and was one of the first ones to stand up at the end. That was how good the cast was. The entire cast was brilliant from ensemble to leads. Mom took me to the stage door afterwards and I met Adam and he signed my playbill. I think things came full circle with Les Mis because the West End is London’s version of Broadway. It came full circle because I saw Wicked on Broadway with my mom. Due to loving Wicked and Les Mis equally, it was quite fitting I saw one on Broadway and one in the West End.

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Les Mis was in a lot of ways connected to the pilgrimage. Les Mis is Valjean’s spiritual journey and the Bristol Pilgrimage was my spiritual journey. We went to three castles, which were Berkeley, Windsor, and Chepstow. We visited TinTern Abbey, Stonehenge. I saw ten church services at four different places. We saw them at WestMinster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Salisbuy Cathedral, and Bristol Cathedral.

At the last service at Bristol Cathedral, I truly knew how transforming the trip was. It was during the anthem and I actually cried and that that reaction was how I knew how transforming the trip was. Stonehenge was the mountain-top moment of the pilgrimage. But the best part of the pilgrimage was not one of the places we visited. it  It was actually the fellowship that was formed between all 72 pilgrims.

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So all of these trips were quite special. All of these trips had some sort of impact on my life. New York was impactful due to seeing Wicked on Broadway and I think that was a big reason why it has been the most meaningful musical of my life growing up. One trip was the best extended family trip I ever been on and was inedible spending time in nature. One trip made me learn about culture in Costa Rica and made me see nature in a new perspective especially due to a canopy tour. The last one was important to my spiritual journey and my journey with Les Mis.

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Les Mis Party 2017

Yesterday, I attended a Les Mis themed party. I came dressed up as Eponine, one of my favorite characters from the musical and one of the best characters of musical theatre. At this party, the house was decorated to be Les Mis themed. Outside of the house, Enjolras’ flag was there. On a flower bed the lyrics “rain will make the flowers” grow was there. Near the drinks, I saw the lyrics “drink with me to days gone by”. So those are just a few of the Les Mis references. A barricake was made and my mom brought a tart full of love. One of the many highlights of this party was doing Karaoke to Les Mis songs.

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Possible Spoilers:

In the picture above, I am dressed up as Eponine. I found all of these articles and pieces of clothing at Goodwill. I dirtied myself up using brown make up. Eponine is the eldest child of the neglectful and abusive Thenardiers. At first, she appeared to be loved by her parents, but after Cosette was taken away, the Thenardiers started mistreating Eponine and raised her to be a criminal. So she has a very empty life and not many good things are happening. Her family falls into extreme poverty. She has one source of light in her life, who is Marius and she loves him even though her love for him goes unrequited.

Eponine is brave, streetwise, tough, complex, and strong.  Despite being a Thenardier, she  does not grow up to be just as selfish and greedy as her parents. She still has a spark of good found within her, which might have something to do with Marius. That spark of good she has is a huge reason why I love Eponine. I love how despite her love for Marius being unrequited, she shows true love towards him. She loves Marius because of the kindness she shows her. He is her only light.

I love how her story ends even though her ending is tragic. She has disguised herself as a boy to be with Marius at the barricade. Marius wants to protect her from the uprising and in the stage show, he sends her away with a letter to Cosette only because he wants to protect her. She returns and gets shot, but her wounds are fatal. Even though Eponine knows she is dying, she still hopes to be with Marius. When Marius discovers that she is fatally wounded, he holds her in his arms until she dies. He is quite upset, but ultimately shows her compassion by never leaving her side.

Since I dressed up as Eponine, I will give you a more detailed analysis of Eponine.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/analysis-of-eponine/

What Caused Me to Love Classical Literature?

Well, as some may know that this summer I am reading Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. But what exactly is about the classics that makes me love them so much. I feel like part of the answer starts from how I was raised.

Well, I was raised watching A Christmas Carol every Christmas Break. So I was already exposed to at least one classic as a child. I learned to fall in love with the story early on so I think that is a big reason why I love the classics now.

But I honestly think a big reason why I love the classics might mostly have to do with Les Misérables. Yes, this list is talking about classical literature, but it is important to talk about the musical of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. Well, in December of 2012 my parents took me to the movie adaptation and little did I know that the musical was about to really change and impact my life in such a positive way.  The first time I saw the movie, I had no clue how to respond. I was confused and shocked when I realized it was a tragedy, which was figured out after the first death. As a result, I did not how to respond so due to that I had no clue if I liked the movie or not.

Despite that, I still started researching information about Victor Hugo and the musical. I soon decided that I just had to see the movie a second time. That was how I realized there was something special about the tragedy. I really wanted to know why it uplifts me in such a positive way despite all of the heartbreak I just felt. So I dug even deeper into the musical. I realized that it was a story of hope, love, compassion, forgiveness, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption.

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So I eventually decided that I just had to read the novel. I started with the abridged version. I enjoyed it that round, but felt like something was absolutely missing.  So I told myself that I needed to read the book again, but in the unabridged version. So when I read the unabridged version summer of 2015, I read the unabridged version and I did not skip over anything. The book truly felt like a masterpiece and the spirituality of the story was clearly shown. If it wasn’t for the spirituality of the story, I feel like I would be sick and tried of it by now. What was helpful in reading this book was my knowledge of the musical. Due to that, I could mark up major character and write in songs.

Due to loving Les Mis, my dad recommended me to read Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. So Les Mis led me to having the interest to read another classic. I read it and really enjoyed it. It was confusing at times because it was hard to tell if you were in France or in England. I enjoyed it, but couldn’t think of the reason why. It takes place during the French Revolution, which happens right before the events before Les Mis.

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Since Les Mis led to Tale of Two Cities, it also in a way led to Great Expectation. Because I learned to love Tale of Two Cities, the second Dickens story I fell in love with, I was recommended to read Great Expectations. I loved the character of Pip in Great Expectations and never could understand why I loved him. So Les Mis was essential to my love of the classics. If it wasn’t for Les Mis, I wouldn’t have wanted to read other Dickens books. I read Great Expectations Christmas of 2016. I wanted to review it on this blog, but couldn’t figure out why I enjoyed that book. The last Dickens book I was recommend is Nicholas Nickleby.

My dad also recommend me to check out Don Quixote. Les Mis did not lead me to Don Quixote, but led me to wanting to explore other classics. For a Spanish project at school, I choose Don Quixote to research since my dad recommended it to me. The moment I saw that Don Quixote was a tragicomic character, I knew I had to read the book. I loved the story of the knight errant righting all wrongs and the relationship to his squire. Well the school project did lead me to watching Man of La Mancha, the musical based off of Don Quixote. I actually read the book Summer of 2016 and I actually found it harder to read than Les Mis even though it was much shorter. That is due to hardly knowing Don Quixote at the time.

Now I am currently reading Oliver Twist, which I started last Saturday. I currently read close to 200 pages. I am loving the book as a matter of fact. I am especially fond of the character of Oliver. Last Christmas, I was going to read what classic I got. I asked for Oliver Twist or Hunchback of Notre Dame. What book I got would be the book I would read this summer and the other one would wait until Christmas. Dickens and Hugo have incredible parallels in their storylines, which I will talk about in another upcoming post of mine. After I finish Oliver Twist if I can come up with enough reasons why I loved it, I will review it.

So in a nutshell, A Christmas Carol did in a way shape my love for the classics since it was the first one I was exposed to. But Les Mis really brought out my love for the classics. I feel like I love the classics due to how challenging they are. All of them also seem to be well written. I read the classics in between semesters because I am able to find time to read them and focus on them. I feel like I might need to read some of the classics one more time, but in a longer amount of time. Les Mis and Christmas Carol were essential to falling in love with the classics.

What are your feelings on the classics?

Living in Christ

From darkness into shining light, to separate the day from night, the void transformed with loving might, by speaking from His Word.

A perfect sea on perfect sand, and al of this at His command, yet curdled in His loving head, as beauty clothes the world.

And so to man, created king, then traded love for suffering, when fall of the serpent’s sting, and darkness fills the earth.

But Lord could never turn away, nor see this precious world decay, without first, giving us the Way, this cleave ourselves to Him.

With guilty hearts as cold as ice, they mock, as Jesus pays the price, for all, the perfect sacrifice, as Love begins again.

-Neil Batty

I found this poem in a spiritual coloring book. It shows that God created this world. It is His creation and he made us in his image. All of us have the Holy Spirit within us. Later on this poem, it shows what Christ has done for us. He sacrificed himself to save us from our sins. When we live in Christ, it shows that we want to live in love and live by the example Christ gave us. In Christ, life is not as complicated and through Christ, there is way to climb out of darkness into light. Life is not just a thing of light, but also times of darkness hits. But there is always light shining and Christ is the guide towards the light.

Just to let you all, in this week and this upcoming week, there might be some days where I won’t write a post. That is due to  final exams starting next week.