Analysis of the Finale (Do You Hear the People Sing Reprise)

During the past two days, I have been working on a watercolor art project with my dad. It was inspired 100% by me and I knew I wanted it to be Les Mis themed and I actually did do about 95% of the work when painting. I found the picture in a page to screen Les Mis book that I had. It was hard to figure out how to create a gigantic crowd of people. In the case of the barricade, it took a while till it actually looked like a barricade. We first drew the buildings and the barricade in pencil and then inked on top and then painted them in. In the case of the barricade, it hardly looked like a barricade before it was painted. But as several kinds of brown were painted in, it finally was noticed as a barricade. This picture is from the finale of Les Mis in the movie of the musical.

Spoiler Alert:

To love another person is to see the face of God

Do you hear the people sing lost in the valley of the night. It is the music of the people who are climbing to the light. For the wretched of the earth there is flame that never dies. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will raise. They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord. They will walk behind the plough share. They will put away the sword. The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade who be strong and stand with me. Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?. Do you hear the people sing? Say do you hear the distant drums? It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes

Will you join in our crusade who be strong and stand with me. Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?. Do you hear the people sing? Say do you hear the distant drums? It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes…

Tomorrow comes

-Finale, Les Mis

fullsizeoutput_705This scene happens at the end of Les Mis. A few scenes back, Jean Valjean was dying and he died with Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius, his now son-in law, by his side. The spirit of Fantine appeared thanking him for raising Cosette. Marius thanked Valjean for saving his life at the barricade and seeing her adopted father die, Cosette was quite devastated.

The sad part is that Jean Valjean died on the night of Cosette’s wedding and by the end, Cosette and Marius have lost everyone that meant something to them except for each other. Once Valjean dies, the spirit of Fantine escorts him to heaven and at the entrance the bishop welcomes him. Valjean lived his entire life through the example the bishop showed him. That is why he agreed to raise Cosette, why he turned himself in when an innocent man was believed to be Valjean, why he was able to forgive Javert and why he went to the barricades to rescue Marius. All of Valjean’s actions makes his redemption feel so strong in the end.

The song, “Do You Hear the People Sing” appears twice in the show. The first time it is shown as a revolutionary anthem of hope sung by all the students. But when sung a second time, the song is still hopeful, but in my opinion represents heaven. All of the people who died during the uprising reappear as spirits and so does Fantine. The ending is one of the biggest reasons why Les Mis makes you feel uplifted. Valjean’s redemption is so strong at the end and he is welcomed into the kingdom of God. The characters in Les Mis show hope, sacrifice, love, and forgiveness to others.

The students represent a hope for a better future for France. All of them sacrificed their lives for a love of France. Even Gavroche who is just a kid was heroic at the barricades even though he died as well. Both Fantine and Eponine showed love for the one they loved the most and sacrificed their happiness to protect the one that they loved. Fantine did everything she could for Cosette and Eponine protected Marius and did everything she could to make him happy. Even though the love for him was unrequited, she still sacrificed her life for him. In the movie version, Marius was about to get shot, but when Eponine noticed this, she got in the way and took the fatal shot herself. Even Valjean sacrificed his happiness for the sake of others. He loved Cosette so much that he was willing to go the barricade in order to protect Marius because Cosette loves him. Through all of these actions, it shows just how much Les Mis is inspirational and why it is ultimately about humanity.

As a matter of fact, Fantine, Eponine, Gavroche, Enjolras and the Students, and Valjean did not die alone. Fantine died knowing that Cosette was going to be in good hands since Valjean was by her side and promised that he would raise Cosette as his own. Eponine got to die in the arms of the man she loved and it actually was the happiest moment of her because she really lived a very empty life and felt unloved and she got to spend the last moments of her life in the arms of Marius. Gavroche, Enjolras and the students all died with each other.

The finale to Les Mis is one of the most powerful and one of the most perfect ways to end a musical. Right before the reprise begins, Valjean, the Bishop and Fantine all sing the famous lyrics, “to love another person is to see the face of God. Feeling uplifted during the reprise of “Do You Hear the People Sing” makes you realize that feeling all of the misery and heartbreak was so worth it.

Letter to Eponine

Major Spoilers:

Dear Eponine,

I just want you to know that I have a growing love for you. I know reasons why I love you, but don’t know where this growing love comes from. I saw myself falling more in love with “On My Own” and even saw myself falling in love with the touching “A Little Fall of Rain”.

I still cannot believe your life had to be so dark and full of so much misery and sadness. I just love how you still manage to thrive despite all of that. You once were spoiled by your parents, the Thenardiers and your life was not as bad in your younger years. But once you became a teenager, you life became even worse. You had parents who used you to your advantage and terribly abused you. They dragged you into the criminal world and you had to be involved in your father’s schemes. Most people you are were around never once showed you an once of kindness. But for some reason, you were able to see the good in others despite who your parents are.

Than one day you fell in love with a revolutionary student, Marius. He was the only source of light in your miserable existence. You saw the good in him and that is why you fell in love with him. You have not once felt love from anyone and at least you are capable of falling in love. I know it truly hurt you when you saw him falling in love with Cosette. This love may have been unrequited, but Marius means the world to you. You just wanted to make sure he is happy and you showed true love despite never feeling love yourself.

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You allowed him to have his relationship with Cosette. I love how you still showed him where she lived. You even helped protect him from your father and his gang. When they tried to rob Valjean’s house, you stood up to your father in order to protect Marius and the love of his life. I know this made your father disown you. You had to completely fend for yourself because you had parents who never once cared about you.  You had to struggle through extreme poverty. You did eventually accept the fact that Marius will never be yours. Even though you hoped to be loved in return, at least there was some kind of light in your life.

This sounds crazy, but even your fate is wonderful. I find it so heartbreaking that you are going to die at the barricades. But the thing is at least it is going to be in the arms of Marius himself. You did everything you can be to be near Marius even if it means dressing up as a boy to be with him at the barricades. When Marius realized you were fatally shot, he stayed with you till the end. He offered you peace and comfort during these unfortunate moments and you were happy for once in your miserable life. True, this was not easy on Marius, but you finally realized just how much you mean to Marius. Marius truly cared about you and was completely aware of just how unhappy your life was. I just wish things could have been easier for you. You lived such a very short and miserable life. Even though you had to put up with extreme poverty, horrible parents, and unrequited love, you are still strong and still showed true love.

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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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Life of the Tragic Musicals

Even though they are still fresh, they have been an important addition to the world of musicals. Some have become a meaningful part of life and one has sort of kind of been a part of my life. It is hard to describe what they added to the world of musicals. They have only been part of my life for four years. Understanding their importance takes a lot of work.

The most meaningful tragic musical of my life is “Les Mis”. I have just loved my journey of that musical. It started four years ago and has changed my perspective on musical theatre. It is an epic, powerful, inspirational, emotionally-moving musical. It has a unique way to touch the soul at a very deep level, which is why the experience is so hard to describe. This musical taught me to love tragedies. I did not want tragedies to become a part of my life and did not want them to be part of musicals. I had gotten so used to the all comic world that I did not want anything to change. But “Les Mis” has impacted me in ways that I have a hard time describing them. Because the emotions of that musical are very strong and powerful, it has allowed the emotions in the other musicals to grow. “Les Mis” takes you through so many emotions and by the  end, you feel uplifted because it is a story of humanity, love, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, hope, and redemption. It may be filled with broken dreams, unrequited love, prostitution, misery, and death, but it is so much more.

The musical teaches you how you can change and impact other peoples lives. It is filled with brilliant songs that are designed for the soul. Even the storyline is for the soul and shows you a side of musicals you would not have thought possible. I thought musicals could never have so many emotions or be that powerful. Describing the score is so difficult because they connect me so much to the characters and make me laugh and cry. I have an obsession with the musical and I have no idea why. I understand why it is the sensation that it is.

There is something in it for everyone because there is something everyone can connect and relate to. I relate to the spirituality of the show because I have a strong spirituality. On top of that, I have a deep connection to those less fortunate than I. I love seeing how the characters change over time especially Jean Valjean. It is nice to see how a ex-convict can grow above exceptions. He grew into a compassionate, good-hearted, spiritual, saint-like man despite his criminal background. Besides Valjean, I also love the characters of young Cosette, Fantine,  Gavroche, Enjorlas, and Eponine. I especially love Eponine and I have no idea why I am growing an attachment to her. I am listening to “On My Own” and “A Little Fall of Rain” more often and I have no idea why. The thing I love about Eponine is how she somehow does not grow up to be like her parents and how her love for Marius made her a better person despite the love being unrequited. The other characters mange to thrive as well, despite everything they had to face.

During a period of four years, I have seen the stage show four times, watched the movie several times, and seen the 25th anniversary concert a couple of times. The best experience I had with “Les Mis” was when I saw the stage show in London last year and it was the best cast I ever saw and truly showed the power of all the different songs. Before seeing it in London, I never cared about Javert’s fate, but the actor was so effective in his role that by the time Javert sang his soliloquy, I cared, but I still do not like the character.

I found a new emotion in Eponine and felt more heartbroken for Fantine. The seats mom and I had were incredible because they were only nine rows back from the stage. I met the actor who played Valjean and he was the understudy.  I have read the abridged and the unabridged version of the book. The unabridged was more rewarding because I was able to finish it in less than one summer, which was the same summer I saw the show in London.

The unabridged made the musical better because it truly showed how inspirational the musical is and why the musical is filled with all the emotions it has. It made me feel deeper for the character of Fantine and helped me care a little bit for Javert. I also have a page to screen book. I know about the history of France in 19th Century and Victor Hugo. This obsession has truly changed what musicals mean to me. It turned a love into a passion and becomes stronger each time I see it. If it wasn’t for Victor’s Hugo’s wonderful book, it would  not have been as successful. He wrote a storyline that is meant for the soul and makes you care about the characters.The songs in the musical allow you to want to go on the character’s journeys. The musical just makes the storyline even better because of the amazing truth and realism behind the emotional songs. In fact, I hope to see the show in another language especially Spanish.

Thinking of “Les Mis”, there is a tragic musical that I know of that has a strong bond with “Les Mis”. That would be “Miss Saigon”, a tragic love story based off of Madame Butterfly. I barely know the show, but I am interested in knowing why the two are so connected. I did learn they are written by the same musical team. They both happen to be sung-through and tragic.I was trying to stay away from the songs when I found out about the musical in 2014. But I recently listened to two of the songs and fell in love with them. In some ways, this musical gives hope for the future of tragic musicals. Because I know if its existence, it helps. The musical is not meaningful yet because I have not see it yet at all. But if you put the word tragic in front of love story, the ending becomes too predictable.

Another sad musical is “Rent”. I fell in love with it in 2012 through the music. I already loved “Seasons of Love” because I heard it when I was younger, but did not know it was from musical. That made sense because of its adult themes in it which are very controversial. I love its message of living every moment as if its your last. It is sung through as well. The topics in this musical do not bother me that much because I learned to accept all humans no matter what. I have never seen it live, but seen a filmed version of the stage show. That was the last performance the show had on Broadway and I loved that particular production and am glad I got to somehow experience it.

Now on to the tragic musical that I do not like bringing up. It is “West Side Story”, the musical based off of “Romeo and Juliet”. I always had a hard time with that musical just because of what it is based of. Even after falling in love with a tragedy, I still ignored it and did not want to become part of my life. I soon had no choice but to see the movie in 2014 and I realized I liked it more than I originally thought. It was great, but there was nothing special about it. But I liked the music enough to buy the soundtrack later that year. As time went on, I started to love the songs more and more. It has two very addicting songs, which are “Somewhere” and “One Hand, One Heart”. Now I find some of them addicting and want to see the stage show. It is drawn through the dance and want to see how the dance works on stage. It has always been stuck between loving it and liking it. I always had a hard time deciding if I like it or love it. All this show wants is be included and accepted.

Overall, these tragedies have changed my perspective on musicals. They have helped strengthen the comedies. They have made the negative emotions more visible in the comedies. Those tragedies may still be so fresh, but I am so glad they became a part of my life. It really is “Les Mis” that had the most impact because of the strength it has given me and how it has taught me to love tragedies.I want them to continue to grow but musicals will remain mostly comic. I hope I can develop a love for “West Side Story” eventually and want to eventually see “Miss Saigon” in order to understand the bond it has for “Les Mis”.

Something I find interesting about tragic musicals is that most of them as of right now are sung-through. I wonder why that is the case, but I feel as if most are done that way because it as of now is probably the best way to portray a tragic musical. However “West Side Story” is drawn through the dance and still manages to bring out the best of the musical. I only saw the movie and did not fully pay attention the dance because I saw the movie reluctantly. But I do want to see the stage show live because I feel as if the dance will be more effective on stage.

It is hard to understand this, but the comedies and the tragedies rely on each other so much. If it was not for the comedies, I do not think I would have been able to learn to love the tragedies. The tragedies helped unlock the dark side of comedies. I know that is crazy to say, but the comedies did teach me that sad is a core emotion, but what I did not know is that the emotion can be really powerful, deep, and strong. There are times when I wish all musicals were comedies again, but than I realize what the tragedies have added to the world of musicals. I was able to realize the beauty for what the tragedies are. They want to truly become a part of musical theatre and I understand why. It just still feel like yesterday when all musicals were comedies. Discovering tragedy in high school, I was hoping a musical would not go that route, but I am glad they did.