Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

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Fantine Fantine is the first part in the novel Les Miserables and it is the part that gets you acquainted with all or most of the characters in the book. The first part of the book explains to the reader that Jean Valjean is an escaped convict who is just trying to get his life back together but the people wont let him because of the aforementioned fact. The only person who let him into his home what the Bishop of Digne. In this part of the book the Bishop shows his hospitality to Jean by allowing him in his house to dine and sleep for the evening and with all this hospitality Jean still betrays him and steals the Bishops silver from the cabinet. Upon getting caught the next day the Bishop shows even more kindness by saying that Jean did not steal the silver but that he gave it to Jean.

After this Jean started walking and ended up in the town of Montreuil-sur-mer.

Fantine is another character that is introduced in this Part. Fantine is a single mother who has one daughter named Cosette. Fantine asks another family, the Thenardieners, to take care of Cosette for her and offers money in exchange. The family accepts the offer but treats poor Cosette like a slave in their home and shows her no love.

Fantine then continues her journey and ends up in the town of Monreuil-sur-mer. She is working at a factory own and run by Monsieur Madeleine, who coincidentally is Jean Valjean.

She becomes Jean's mistress in that town and that is all the reader hears about her until later.

Jean Valjean makes his way to Montreuil-sur-mer and makes a small change to improve jet work by exchanging gum-lac for resin and he made clasps for bracelets so that one wouldn't have to solder the ends together. Upon doing this he makes a great name for himself in this small town and quickly works his way up to being a mayor which he declined twice before accepting. He shows such kindness and compassion to all those around him yet there is one person who doesn't trust him and that is Javert, a highly recognized police officer in the small town. Javert suspects that Monsieur Madeleine is Jean Valjean an escaped convict who stole from a bishop in another town and also from a young boy on the highway. He is soon found out because he travels to Paris to watch the trial of Champmathieu who is the one suspected to be Jean Valjean. He is found out because he tells the whole story before the court in order to let this innocent man go free. Upon returning to Montreuil-sur-mer he finds that Fantine is sick and was hoping to see her daughter upon his return. She was unfortunately disappointed when Javert opened his mouth and said that she wasn't there and thus she had no reason to try and stay alive because Jean was being hauled off to prison and she would never see her daughter again this left her heart broken and she fell dead.