Mirror Characters of Les Mis

One of the things that is interesting in “Les Mis” is how two of the characters are mirror images of each other. They are the characters of Cosette and Eponine and as they get older their previous situations get reversed. Cosette starts out with a bad life and Eponine starts out with a good life, but when they get older their situations get reversed.

Major Spoilers ahead:

As a child, Cosette was horribly abused by the Thenardiers. She hoped for a better life despite being a broken child. Than there is Eponine who was spoiled as a child and had a better life than Cosette. Things changed right after Valjean adopted Cosette and took her away from the Thenardiers. Cosette represents light and hope in the midst of all the tragic events going on at the time.

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As the two girls get older, their situations reverse. Cosette’s life improved and Eponine’s life got worse. Even though Cosette’s life got better because of her adopted life, she still lived a very sheltered life. Things changed when Cosette fell in love with Marius because she found a new purpose in life. After Valjean learned of her love for Marius, he went to the barricades to protect Marius and make sure he gets out of the barricade alive. Marius almost died at the barricades and Valjean heroically carried the unconscious Marius through the sewers in order to save his life. Cosette and Marius got married. During the wedding, Marius found out that it was Valjean that saved his life and they left the wedding to find Valjean and arrived just in time. Valjean was dying and he got to be with Cosette and Marius. This scene may have devastated Cosette, but at least she got to be with him.

In Eponine’s situation, her life gets much worse than where she started. The Thenardiers’ started mistreating her and raised her to be a criminal. The family fell into extreme poverty, which added to Eponine’s misery. Just like Cosette, she fell in love with Marius; however Eponine’s love for Marius was unrequited. I do not think Eponine would been as amazing as a character if she ended up with Marius. She helped Marius in anyway possible even if risked her life. She helped find Cosette for him after Marius asked her and was more loyal to him than her parents.

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Her life would eventually get worse after her father tried to rob Valjean’s house. She warned Valjean about the danger because she was trying to protect Marius. This led her father to disown her. She fully risked her life when she decided to be with Marius no matter what, which led her to the barricades. When Marius first saw her at the barricades, he tried to protect her by asking her to deliver a letter to Cosette. After delivering the letter, she went back to the barricades despite what Marius told her. She got fatally shot on the way back and died in Marius’ arms.

It was during her death scene where Marius finally realized that she was in love with him. Despite her death being painful, she did not think of the pain because Marius was there for her. This was in fact Eponine’s happiest moment of her life even though it is heartbreaking. The beauty of it is that she got to die the arms of the one that she loves, which is why it seemed less painful than it really was.

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Fresh Eyes on Musicals

I am surprised by how much musicals have changed over the years. They have been capable of things I never thought possible. Growing up, I was aware of spectacle, dance, the emotions of excitement, love, joy, and sad. I was aware of colorful costumes and lavish sets. I also had a strong connection to one of the musical characters. In addition, all musicals were happy. I also used full of life to describe all musicals and full of life was referring to a certain kind of song. They are the songs that tend to have dance involved and usually start out slow and quiet and eventually speed up and get more exciting. There was also an innocence.

In fact, now I formed a brand new perspective on musicals. The best way for me to make sense of the new world is to see musicals through joy and the happy musicals. Musicals have gained a vulnerability, which added to the emotional world. The happy musicals no longer were alone and I did not know how to respond. It was through “Les Mis” where everything I knew about musicals were tested and I discovered that tragic musicals and heartbreak exist. It showed me a different side of emotions because it added depth, insight, and truth into the emotions. I am able to see that musical through joy because it has a strong positive nature of inspiration. Despite being so sad, it still has themes such as hope, love, and redemption.

In fact calling all musicals joyful is better than calling all musicals happy. That is because using joyful is referring to the experience. It is the experience that matters the most. I go to the theatre to feel and to enjoy. I now use full of life to refer to something other than a particular song. Now full of life refers to the entire show because the story is coming to life even if a scene is death itself. Musicals are meant to be emotional and unique, but it is not easy describing the emotional world. Some common emotions are excitement, joy, love, sad, and heartbreak. I want musicals to have a mix of innocence and vulnerability, but at the same time there needs to be a balance between the positive and negative emotions. There is usually innocence in the dance and also in shows where there are children and where the kid in me comes out. The first time I see a new musical, there is always a strong innocence because you do not know what is going to happen to the characters. I still want the dance and spectacle to grow.

Surprising Things about Musicals

The musical world is full of things that I never thought would exist in a musical. Some of them were not quite as shocking as others. I responded to each of those things differently than some others. I developed a vision for what a musical should be like growing up which is a comedy full of innocence, spectacle, dance, color, fun sets and costumes, and positive and negative emotions. That was all that I had known, but now that I am older, musicals have gained some shocking things.

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The first one is that sad musicals actually exist. I am still not fully used to this fact yet especially because they were not with me since the beginning. The crazy thing about this is that it seems as if I should have figured this out in high school because that was when I found out about at least two sad musicals, but crazily enough it did not cross my mind that they actually would end up being tragic. However the sad shows were beneficial to the happy musicals. It gave them a bigger vulnerability and it gave me a new perspective on musicals.

I remember back in 2012, I started listening to songs from “Rent” through Pandora and fell in love without realizing it would turn out to be a sad show and I figured that out in 2013 after listening to the songs a good amount of times. “Rent” was not the most shocking musical regarding the sad musicals especially because I fell in love with it through the songs.

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I first heard about “Les Mis” in 2009 with the famous Susan Boyle “I Dreamed a Dream” thing and I had no idea what the title meant or what that song was about. I went to see the movie in December of 2012 without knowing it was going to be so tragic. I realized it was tragic right after the first death and I did not know how to cope and my mind went into shock and that emotion covered up the rest of the emotions. By the end of the movie, I was thinking “did I just like a tragedy?” I could not tell whether or not I actually liked it, but for some odd reason I went straight to researching the musical and decided to give the movie one more chance. At least the second time was easier, which made me fell the emotions on a deeper way. By that point, I already have listened to the songs a couple of times on Pandora and have already looked up information about the time period. “Les Mis” was the musical that taught me that there is more to tragedy than sadness. But than again, most musicals are happy.

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There is more than one thing about “Les Mis” that is surprising to the world of musicals. One of them is what some of the songs are about and I was shocked to discover that some musical songs are about death and I did learn to love the death scenes. It introduced me to musical emotions I never thought would actually exist which includes uncomfortable. “Les Mis” has been so meaningful because of what it is taught me and what it has helped me overcome. “Les Mis” teaches you how you can raise above your background and how to stand up for what you believe in. It teaches how to thrive in difficult situations.This musical was a shocker turned inspiration. The fact is each time I see the musical, it becomes more inspirational and becomes less sad. I see it as a story about humanity, hope, sacrifice, love,  compassion, forgiveness, and redemption even though it still has multiple deaths and lots of suffering. It shows what it means to be human and shows a strong vulnerability.

Another surprising thing about musicals is that there is a tragicomic character. He is Don Quixote from “Man of La Mancha”. I discovered that last year and I was trying to figure out how a character can be both. I had to look up what it means to be tragic and what it means to be comic. The main reason why this character is important is because he is tragicomic.

Sometimes a musical can be similar to what you were used to growing up, but adds a new layer to the same image. For instance, in Pippin it has a circus element, which allows the cast to break the fourth wall. You see people on the trapeze, flipping, balancing acts, and juggling. It also allows you to sing-along to one of the songs. In that song, they put the words up to the chorus. That is a kind of spectacle I never associated with musicals.

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Musicals continue to surprise me and I know shocking things will continue to happen in the future. But I still have the same view I had growing up. By using the view I had growing up, I am able to know if I discover something I never would of thought about. Because I developed a passion for musicals in college, I am having more fun discovering what I musical is capable of. That is a big reason why I love musicals. Because the characters can range from comic, dramatic, romantic, tragi-romantic, tragicomic, and tragic, it is difficult to interpret all of them. I said tragi-romantic to refer to the romantic character in tragic love stories, which includes a tragic love story in a musical comedy. The characters also live in different places in different times, have different personalities, and different lives. There is something more fun about discovering the emotional and vulnerable characters and these characters tend to be multi-layered. Also the shows with these characters always have sources of light and dark.

Seeing through the Looking Glass

Yesterday with Gardner Webb, I hiked “Looking Glass Rock”. The trail is in Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest. The reason why I love hiking is because it helps develop my spirituality. I can truly feel God’s presence when I hike especially when I reach the top. Sometimes whenever I hear the wind blowing or water flowing, I also am able to feel connected. The hike was very challenging, but very worth it in the end. The best part of hiking is getting to the top and looking out and seeing this amazing beautiful view. You can truly see God’s creation when you look out. This view looked like you see beyond what you are able to see. Hiking is an amazing way to escape the stress of college and makes you appreciate creation. Feeling connected to nature is very important to me and hiking allows me to grow.

Servant of Two Masters

Last night, I attended Gardner Webb’s “Servant of Two Masters”, a comic play. Even though my heart is with musicals, I still try to explore different kinds of theatre. I was required to go for class, but even if I wasn’t required I would still have gone. It was a show that was filled with lots of improvisation. The most improvisation came from the servant himself. Because he was serving two people, he had to make up things when it seemed he would get in trouble. The show was very interactive because they asked the audience questions and we had to come up with an answer.

The name of the servant was Traffaldino, who was played by Andy Bennett. He made me fall in love with the troublemaker. He had to improvise a lot because that is what his character called for. It was hard for Traffalidno to serve two masters and had to explain why he did not get things quite done yet. Sometime the guy would have two trunks and he had to explain why he had two. Of all the Gardner Webb shows I have seen, this was the second best. I loved the whole nature of it and how crazy the characters were. I love how Gardner Webb is giving me the opportunity to watch plays. I am slowly enjoying plays more and more, but still they will not be quite as special as musicals. Plays have a different nature and they move me in a different.

 

Nature of Love

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly,  but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love

– 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

 This passage reflects on the meaning of love. Love is more complicated than it seems. It is something that never ends. There are several different kinds of love ranging from love for a country, love for a friend, love for family, romantic love, and love for a child. These are all different kinds of love, but it still is love. Loving someone requires patience and kindness. It means being able to comfortably talk about yourself including things you would rather keep secret. The greatest gift of all is love because we manage to thrive through God’s love for us.
Love is the key to everything. It is the key to being human. It allows you to be vulnerable around others. Love exists for a reason and is the strongest force of all. Love is the key to fixing this broken world. The more love we show the more fixed this broken world will be. We must learn to love each other, which means do not judge one another and accept people for who they are. Nothing can be stronger than God’s love for us. Love is a big part of what it means to be human because we are meant to show compassion, love, and hope to all no matter what.

Harvesting of God

The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.

-Mark 4:26-29

The seed in this parable represents the good news of Jesus Christ, the soil represents the heart. It means that we have to spread the Gospel of Jesus. Scatter does not mean what it seems to mean. Scatter in this case represents the fact that we don’t know who will listen to the Gospel because we do not know what is in everyone’s heart.

The next step of the parable is the Harvest, which is God’s doing. If we get in his way, he might ruin part of his plan for us. It might be hard to know if we are in the way or not, but it still is best if at least try.

The last step is to “let go”. It means to “let go” of something we want to fix, but that might be in the way. If we want to fix a broken past, it may not happen. We just need to let go of the bad things that happened in the past even though we will always remember. It means to not let get in the way of your life.

We need to be patient for God when we are going through a rough time. We want to skip the growing and struggling in order to get immediate, but that is not the best way to handle those kind of situations. We must never give up and trust in the Lord no matter what. We are supposed to grow and strengthen during our sufferings even though it hurts, but he specifically wants things to happen in a certain order. Something must happen before something else does. That means it could take time in order to get out of a tough situation. We always want to be in control of our life, but we cannot control the Kingdom of God. Part of what happens to us is dealing with the Kingdom of God. If we get in the way of God’s doing, it means we are not being obedient to him.