Who is Jean Valjean?

Jean Valjean is the protagonist of the musical, Les Misérables. He is one of the most complex protagonists in musical theatre who goes on quite a journey from the beginning of the musical to the end.

Jean Valjean is an ex-convict who stole a loaf of bread to feed his loaf, which put him to prison for 5 years, but for trying to escape 14 more years. So for a minor crime, he was imprisoned for 19 years. He entered prison as a good man, but being in prison hardened him, and he left prison full of hate and anger. Jean Valjean is known is known for his physical strength

Once he realized how unfairly society treats him, his soul fills up with even more anger and hates society even more. But he is given kindness by the bishop. Despite being given food and shelter, Valjean still steals from him. But the bishop forgives him and says all the silver was a gift.

So due to the mercy given by the bishop, Valjean realizes that he can change. He starts to treat people with compassion. He opens up a factory and shows compassion to the poor. So Valjean’s transformation begins to show. Valjean’s journey is a spiritual one. Valjean ends up helping Fantine, one of his former factory workers, Fantine, who has unjustly been fired from his factory. She had to turn to prostitution to provide for her daughter. Valjean prevents her from being arrested and sends her to the hospital. Valjean even turns himself in when an innocent man is believed to be “Valjean”. In an act of compassion, Valjean actually agrees to care for Fantine’s daughter,Cosette. So Valjean continues to act by the example set by the bishop.

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Cosette is the first person Valjean loved after being released. He feels like a true father to Cosette. Cosette was a broken child before. Valjean knows that caring for Cosette will be dangerous due to being an ex-convict, but he keeps to his word. Yes, he over-protects and shelters her, but I do not blame him in the danger of being sent back to prison. His love for Cosette makes him a kinder and better person person. His love for Cosette is shown in different ways. He goes as far as rescuing Marius, who Cosette loves, from the barricades to show his love for his adopted daughter. This act of sacrifice shows that Valjean has some kind of courage. He may not tell Cosette about his past, but he is an incredible father. He saves Marius from being killed at the barricades.

He does shows the importance of forgiving our enemies. In one scene, he forgives Javert. In that scene, he was supposed to kill Javert, but instead lets Javert go and shows Javert forgiveness and mercy. This happened at the barricades.

In the end, even though Valjean dies, he dies with Cosette and Marius, his now son-in-law by his side. Jean Valjean is an incredible character. He starts out as this harsh, angry, and hateful man and turns into this compassionate, loving, and caring man. Becoming a father to Cosette was such an important to his journey. One word for his journey: redemption. Valjean’s journey is a huge reason why I love Les Misérables.

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Eponine’s Strong Love for Marius

It is quite fitting that for the series, I would go straight to a character from Les Mis. That is because Wicked and Les Mis are my top two favorite musicals. For today, I decided to talk about why I love Eponine. It actually took me almost an entire year to know why I love Eponine.

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Major Spoilers:

Eponine is the eldest child of the Thenardiers. She started out as being a spoiled child, but also appeared to be loved by her parents. But soon after Cosette was taken away, Eponine’s life becomes even worse. She becomes horribly abused and unloved by her parents and falls into extreme poverty. She eventually falls in love with Marius so deeply because of the kindness he shows her, but that love falls unrequited. So where does my love of Eponine fall into all of this?

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She has to take part in her parent’s schemes because she was forced into them at times. But the interesting thing about Eponine is that she is not as despicable or as selfish as her parents. Her loyalty towards Marius shows just how different she is when it comes to her parents. She would rather be loyal towards Marius than towards her parents. That is an interesting part about Eponine. She shows how you can raise above her upbringing.

She is strong and brave and complex. A lot of my love for her comes from how she responds to her unrequited love for Marius. She will do anything for him even if it means losing him forever. She is the girl who helps him find Cosette. She risks everything for Marius. That shows her bravery and strength. Her love for Marius is quite strong. She continues to hold on because he is the light of her life. You might think her love for Marius is a weakness, but it actually is her greatest strength even though it leads to “A Little Fall of Rain”.

Her love for Marius does lead her to the barricade. At the barricade, in order to try to protect Eponine, he sends her to deliver a letter to Cosette. As she sings “On My Own”, she accepts that Marius will never love her and you can feel the level of depth her love for Marius goes and the song is very powerful. She will continue to love him no matter what. Without Marius, her life would be much darker.

She eventually gets killed at the barricade after sacrificing her life for him. She gets to die happy due to being in the arms of Marius. Marius shows compassion to her by holding and comforting her while she dies. If you understand how dark her life was and how strong she loves Marius, it makes you understand why dying in the arms of Marius makes her happy for once.

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So a lot of my love for Eponine comes from she responds to her love for Marius. You see her level of strength and bravery through her love for him. At least she gets to die in the arms of Marius due to how dark her life was. Her death does make Marius feel devastated, but despite that he still stays with her till the end.

What is Romance?

This poem is coming from someone who has never been in love before. My knowledge comes from musicals and seeing couples in real life.

What is Romance?

It is like a bridge with two paths

One leads to paradise

The other leads to a dark cloud

When young, it can be magical

But at the same time innocent

Love can be strong and courageous

Or filled with such depth and maturity

No matter what path it takes

The dark cloud is tough

And feels like you have been hit by a pile of bricks

But true love can still spring from that cloud

Even when at paradise

Romance is filled with not getting along

Fighting is a factor but yet you still love

Both paradise and the dark cloud are crazy

The dark cloud makes you feel vulnerable and fragile

But even the level of paradise makes you feel those

Romance leads to sacrifice

But not all the time

Sacrifice is risking yourself for the sake of the other

Even if it breaks you

Or even if it leads to death

But it shows true love towards the other

Due to seeing them happy

That dark cloud is otherwise known as heartbreak

The paradise is the place where two really love each other

This is the nature of romance

The World Will Know-Newsies

Yesterday, I finally owned the original Broadway soundtrack of Newsies. Newsies is the newest musical of my life and is meaningful. It is a Disney musical about the newsboy strike of 1899. To understand the strike, it is important to understand the life of these Newsies. A lot of the newsies are either orphans, homeless, or runaways. They survive off of selling the newspapers. But they are not allowed to sell back their papers. Before the strike, the distribution price was fifty cents per one hundred papers. However Pulitzer raised the price of their papers to sixty cents per paper, which is unfair to the Newsies and makes their jobs harder. To stand up to Pulitzer, the Newsies decided to go on strike.

As far as the musical Newsies goes, the main character is Jack Kelly, who is kind of like a father to the other Newsies in the stage show. He has quite a special relationship to Crutchie, who is more vulnerable than the other Newsies. Crutchie has a bum leg and has to walk around with the aid of a crutch. Jack is kind of protective of Crutchie and does not him to be sent to the Refuge. Jack knows firsthand how bad the Refuge is and knows just how vulnerable Crutchie will be there. Jack Kelly even has a talent for art.

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Other Newsies you get you know are Davey and Les, who are Newsies who actually have families, but who join them to help support their family. The strike happens in the same manner as the real strike. Pulitzer does raise the praise of their papers and these fictional characters create a union and go on strike.

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Another memorable character is Katherine Plumber and she is not in the movie. She ends up writing the article for the strike and becomes a love interest for Jack. At the end of act two, Jack has this inner conflict because he just saw Crutchie being arrested and knows that he will be sent to the Refuge. Jack was about ready to just give up on the strike, but in the second act Katherine helps Jack rejoin his brothers in the strike. Some people think romance is just thrown into a musical and is only there to add time. But romance in musicals is a wonderful thing because it transitions well to song.

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I think one of the main things that makes the story so strong is that it is actually based off of a true story.This show is filled with mind-blowing dance, memorable characters and a wonderful score. The score does have both positive and negative emotions. Some memorable songs include “Something to Believe In”, “Carrying the Banner”, “The World Will Know”, “Santa Fe”, and of course the anthem of the musical, “Seize the Day”. In any musical, the songs truly help bring out the emotion and in Newsies, the songs bring out both positive and negative emotions and when a show has both sets of emotions, it makes a musical much more real and gives real strength to the plot. Even the dance adds something special to Newsies. One of my favorite lines in Newsies is “courage cannot erase our fear. courage is when we face our fear”.

 

Strength of being Brave, Strong, and Smart

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think

-Unknown

Humans are a very unique species. Sometimes we don’t believe in ourselves as much as we should. Sometimes it is easy to truly know how brave or strong or smart we really are. We are one of the most advanced species on this planet. As a college student, it is easy to forget how hard college is. To get through college, you have to get though academics and the social experience. Sometimes you have to do things outside your comfort zone.

The quote above is so true when it comes to life. Sometimes in dark times, it is hard to see the strength inside of us. In college, it is easy to forget how smart we are. Studying can drive you nuts in college and it can be hard to find the right motivation. You have to be so independent in order to thrive at college. Sometimes you even have to have courage during a really tough assignment. Courage means something different to everyone. Courage can mean taking risks in times of danger or it can mean to do things outside your comfort zone.

Next time, you don’t really believe in yourself or feel weak or feel not that smart, just remember the quote above. I know that I am braver I think I am and stronger than I think I am. I know I am a smart. determined, hardworking, optimistic student. Sometimes college just pulls you down and makes you feel less smart than you really are. Don’t let anyone stop you from being who you really are.

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Love in the midst of Darkness

Love rocks. Where there is love, there is no darkness

-Unknown

This is a lovely quote. One day at a school event, there was a station to make bookmarks. I picked a stamp and this quote was on that stamp. There is a lot of truth in that quote even though it doesn’t seem like that.

Love is the most powerful force of all. Even though there is always darkness, there is always less when there is love. Feeling love is important in life because it helps us thrive in dark times. Love makes us survive fearful and scary times in life. It still is hard to describe how there is no darkness when it comes to love. But I understand the importance of love. Everyone needs to feel love because we are social creatures and feel a need for intimacy. Love comes in many different forms and each one is so beautiful.

Love is even stronger than fear. God is love and he loves everyone unconditionally. We need to feel loved by God, our friends and family and others. If we feel unloved, than our lives could feel darker and even harder. That would makes us feel very alone.

Below is a blog post I wrote about the types of love in Les Mis. It is directly related to this post because Les Mis is covered with different kinds of love along with hope, compassion, and forgiveness.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/to-love-another-person-is-to-see-the-face-of-god/

What you think about the quote I talked about?