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Monday, June 03, 2013

Barricade Boys Week - Quotes

Ah...I love Combeferre...
I submitted this to Sink Me! awhile back but Amy
thought I should put it up during this week instead.
I thought this was as good a time as any :)

The following is collection of my favorite quotes about and said by the barricade boys.  All the quotes are taken from the Julie Rose translation (excellent translation, FYI).  I have so many favorites so I was forced to just choose the very best of the best.  Still, this post is quite long (hey, the brick itself is huge, so what do you expect?).  All the quotes are in 'order of appearance' and I'm not going to bother to put the book/section/chapter titles.  It would give me a headache :)  If you really want to know where a quote comes from, send me an email and I'll find out for you.  Oh, I like to ramble so any of my comments will be in italics/brackets [like this].  

My favorite description quote for each of the boys...

Enjolras - "To see the thoughtful light shining in his eyes, you would have thought that he had already, in a previous life, lived through the apocalypse of the revolution."
Combeferre - "Combeferre was as gentle as Enjolras was severe from native innocence."
Jean Prouvaire - "He liked to stroll through fields of wild oats and cornflowers and was almost as involved with clouds as he was with events."
Feuilly - "He did not want there to be a single person on earth without a motherland."
Courfeyrac - "The others gave out more light, he gave out more warmth."
Bahorel - "A penetrating mind and more of a thinker than he let on."
Laigle - "His specialty was not to succeed in anything."
Joly - "He was the cheeriest of the lot."
Grantaire - "Grantaire, in whom doubt lurked, loved to see faith soar in Enjolras." [one of my favorite quotes in the entire brick]

Now for some random quotes before the barricades arise...

Jean Prouvaire was only timid at rest.  Once he got excited, he erupted and was at once both laughing and lyrical.
They were pulling apart a Charter that had just been granted.  Combeferre was limply defending it.  Courfeyrac was energetically demolishing it..."First, I want no kings...we must never enlighten the people with false daylight.  No!  No charter!"  Two logs were crackling in the fireplace and Courfeyrac could not resist.  He crumpled the Charter in his hand and tossed it into the fire...Combeferre watched philosophically as Louis XVIII's masterpiece burned and all he said was: "The charter has gone up in flames." [Ha!  I love how 'Ferre just says that so calmly]
"To be the empire of such an emperor...all this is sublime; what could possibly be greater?" [This is Marius and he actually says a lot more...I abridged]  "To be free," said Combeferre [that's the one moment where all the fangirls fell for Combeferre.  I'm not joking.]


"Citizen," said Enjolras, "My mother is the Republic."
"My dear boy," said Courfeyrac.  "A word of advice.  Take your nose out of books for awhile...there's something to be said for girls."  Whenever Courfeyrac said something of the kind to him, Marius spent the week avoiding women more than ever, and he would avoid Courfeyrac in the bargain.
On the way there [Marius] ran into Courfeyrac and pretended not to see him.  Courfeyrac, when he got home, told his friends: "I've just seen Marius' new hat and new coat and Marius in them...he looked a complete ninny." [he was going to the Luxembourg to see Cosette]
Boussuet spotted Marius coming up the street and looking a little strange.  "Look!" Bossuet exclaimed.  "Marius!"
"I saw him," said Courfeyrac.  "Let's not speak to him."
"Why not?"
"He's busy."
"Doing what?"
"Can't you see how he looks?"
"How does he look?"
"He looks like he's following someone."
"That's true," said Bossuet.
"Look at his eyes, will you," Courfeyrac went on. [For some reason I find this exchange hilarious.  Marius was following Thenardier, by the way...just before the brick's equivalent of Robbery/Javert's Intervention]

"Can it really be that you're good for something?"
"Well, I have a vague ambition to be," said Grantaire. [what follows this little exchange is possibly the biggest face-palm moment in literary history]

[Enjolras] was putting together in his mind, using the penetrating philosophical eloquence of Combeferre, the enthusiasm of Feuilly, the verve of Courfeyrac, the laughter of Bahorel, the melancholy of Jean Prouvaire, the science of Joly and the sarcasm of Bossuet, a sort of crackling electric fire, more or less everywhere. [I love the characterization of all of them in this bit]

And now we come to the barricades...

Bossuet improvised a megaphone with his hands.  "Courfeyrac!  Courfeyrac!  Ahoy there!"  Courfeyrac heard the call, spotted Bossuet and shouted a "What do you want?" that got crossed on the way with a "Where are you going?"
"To build a barricade," answered Courfeyrac.
"Let me sleep here - until I die."
Enjolras gave him a disdainful glare.  "Grantaire, you are not capable of believing, thinking, wanting, living, or dying." [Really, Enjolras?  Don't you think that's a bit harsh?]
Combeferre and Jean Prouvaire silently grasped hands and leaning on each other at the corner of the barricade, studied with admiration that had a touch of compassion in it this grave young man [Enjolras], made of light like crystal, and of rock. [another one of my top favorite quotes]
"Who's there?"  At the same time they heard the clatter of guns being leveled.
Enjolras answered in a haughty and vibrant tone: "French Revolution."
This part in the movie is known as Jean Prouvaire's death.
Just so you know.
"Listen," said Enjolras, laying his hand on Combeferre's arm.  At the end of the street, there was an ominous clatter of arms.
A manly voice was heard to cry out: "Long live France!  Long live the future!"  They recognized the voice of Prouvaire.  There was a sudden flash and explosion.  Silence fell once more. [the first time I read the brick, I skipped a lot of things so I didn't understand the importance of his death.  And then I read everything over more carefully...]

"Citizens, the nineteenth century is great, but the twentieth century will be happy." [two World Wars later...]
Gavroche had a greater impact on the barricade than the cannonball.
"Enjolras doesn't like any woman.  He's not lovesick yet he still finds a way to be intrepid.  It's unheard of - that you can be as cold as ice and as bold as fire."
Enjolras did not look as though he were listening, but if anyone had been close to him, they would have heard him mutter in an undertone: Patria.  [since I don't know Latin, I thought for the longest time that Enjolras really did have a secret girlfriend.  And then I was on Wikipedia and I learned that it's Latin for 'country']
Courfeyrac and Cossuet, whose valiant good humor grew with the danger, swapped jokes instead of food, and since wine was lacking, poured good cheer all around. [I love quoting this bit]
"Does anyone," cried Feuilly bitterly, "Understand these men who promised to come and join us and who have deserted us!"
And Combeferre merely replied with a grave smile, "There are people who observe the rules of honor the way you and I observe the stars - from afar." [THE PEOPLE OF PARIS SHOULD HAVE RISEN UP AND HELPED THEM!]

I don't want to leave this post on a depressing note but I really can't help it.  It is Les Mis after all...

"You might as well kill two birds with one stone," he said.  And turning gently to Enjolras, "Do you permit it?" [the JR translation actually doesn't have 'Do you permit it?' but it's such an iconic phrase, I couldn't leave it out] Enjolras shook his hand with a smile.  He was still smiling when the explosion ripped through the silence.

Now scroll up and re-read all of Courfeyrac's witty quotes.  It'll help.  I promise.


Miss Dashwood said...

Oh, I have SO MANY favorite quotes from the brick... and I LOVED these! I have the Charles E. Wilbour translation, so mine are a bit different, but I liked seeing a different take on the words. But one of my favorite E/R exchanges wasn't in here--

"You don't believe in anything."
"I believe in you."

Sorry. Something in my eye.

Miss Dashwood said...

Oh, and there's also this one line near the end where Enjo is speaking to Javert, and for some reason it always makes me laugh even though it's not funny at all--

"Spy," said the handsome Enjolras, "we are judges, not assasins."

Eeeeeyep, Hugo casually refers to him in the narrative as "the handsome Enjolras." *insert fangirly giggle*

Eva said...

I really didn't want to leave that little exchange out of this post, but I'm saving it for my 'Defending R' post later on this week...thought that would reconcile you to its absence ;)

'the handsome Enjolras' - yep, I laughed over that too =)

Anonymous said...

I dunno if I'll actually get an answer (since this is a pretty old post), but can someone tell me where the quote from Combeferre is in the book where he says, "There are people who observe the rules of honor the way you and I observe the stars - from afar"? I've been searching forever and I can't find it.

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