Like Water for Chocolate

Les Misérables – “Fantine,” Books Three–Four

Summary: Book Three: The Year 1817 The next section of the novel takes place in 1817, two years after Myriel gives the candlesticks to Valjean. The narrator provides a quick sketch of contemporary Parisian politics, culture, and art, and then introduces four well-to-do university students named Tholomyès, Listolier, Fameuil, and Blacheville. The four are good …

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Les Misérables – “Fantine,” Book Five: The Descent

Summary Twelve years have passed since Fantine has been to her hometown of Montreuil-sur-mer, and she is surprised at how much the town has grown and modernized during the past decade. The changes are largely due to Monsieur Madeleine, a stranger about whom little is known. The narrator says that Madeleine arrived in Montreuil in …

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Les Misérables – “Fantine,” Books Six–Eight

Summary: Book Six: Javert Fantine develops a chronic chest ailment. As her condition worsens, Madeleine continues to care for her. Madeleine also sends money to the Thénardiers, but they realize that it would be more profitable for them to hold on to Cosette, so they refuse to send her to Fantine. Madeleine plans to retrieve …

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Les Misérables – “Cosette,” Books Four–Five

Summary: Book Four: The Old Gorbeau House Valjean finds an out-of-the-way place where he and Cosette can live —a rundown tenement called the Gorbeau House. Valjean tells the landlady that Cosette is his granddaughter. He soon acquires a reputation in the neighborhood for philanthropy, and because his own clothes are so shoddy, the locals call …

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Les Misérables – “Cosette,” Book Three: Fulfillment of the Promise Made to the Departed

Summary At that moment [Cosette] suddenly felt that the weight of the bucket was gone. (See Important Quotations Explained) The novel reintroduces us to Cosette on Christmas Eve of 1823, one month after Valjean disappears in the waters of Toulon. She is now eight years old and still lives with the Thénardiers in Montfermeil. They …

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Les Misérables – “Marius,” Books One–Three

Summary: Book One: Paris Atomized On the streets of Paris lives a young street urchin named Gavroche. He is one of several hundred homeless children who roam the city, living in abandoned lots and underneath bridges. Gavroche’s parents are none other than the Thénardiers—he is the unwanted third child whom we see as an infant …

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