Les Misérables Jean Valjean: Questions and Answers
by Victor Hugo

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Jean Valjean: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does the relationship between Gavroche and Marius compare to the relationship between Pontmercy and Thénardier?

2. How does M. Gillerormand react to Cosette and Marius’ marriage?

3. What is the final outcome of the battle at the barricade?

4. What obstacles does Jean encounter as he carries Marius through the sewers of Paris?

5. Why does Javert commit suicide?

6. Why does Jean pretend to have an injury when Cosette gets married?

7. Why is Jean despondent after Cosette’s wedding?

8. What evidence does Thénardier produce to prove that he is telling Marius the truth?

9. How does Marius resolve his obligation to Thénardier?

10. What final requests does Jean make before he dies?

Answers
1. Both Marius and Thénardier risk their lives to rescue a fallen comrade. When Gavroche is shot, Marius carries his body back to the barricade just as Thénardier carried Pontmercy to safety when he was injured in battle. The difference is that Pontmercy was still alive when Thénardier rescued him.

2. He invites Marius and Cosette to live with him. He gives up his own room for them and fills it with fine furniture.

3. The soldiers break through the barricade and kill most of the rebels. Jean sees Marius fall and carries him to safety.

4. The dampness of the sewer makes it slippery, and the darkness makes it difficult for Jean to find his way. The low ceilings make it necessary for him to bend with each step, and he is physically exhausted from carrying the unconscious Marius across his shoulders. At one point, he must wade through water and slime up to his neck. When he finally reaches an opening, he finds that it is covered by a locked grate.

5. Javert commits suicide because all of his values have collapsed. He has reluctantly come to admire the man he has spent his life pursuing.

6. Jean pretends to injure the thumb on his right hand so that he will not have to commit forgery by signing any documents. Since the authorities think he is dead, he is afraid that the marriage will not be legal if he signs them.

7. Jean is heartbroken because he feels that he has lost Cosette, the only person he has ever loved.

8. Thénardier produces a newspaper which reports the suicide of Javert and a piece of cloth that was torn from Marius’ coat.

9. Marius satisfies his obligation to Thénardier by giving him 20,000 francs and sending him to America with his daughter.

10. He tells Marius and Cosette to love one another and asks to be buried under a stone with no name on it.