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jarrod001

Fantine Lyrics

I was just thinking about these lyrics...

"Give that letter to me it is none of your business
With a husband at home and a bit on the side..."

and

"Yes it's true there's a child and the child is my daughter
And her father abandoned us leaving us flat..."

It just confuses me...Does she hace a husband at home?
Orestes Fasting

The "husband at home" bit is directed at Factory Girl, who presumably has a husband and is seen macking on the factory foreman to get in his good graces ("a bit on the side").
jarrod001

Aha!
music is my life!!!

she basically taking the mick of her and standing up for herself. it's the last chance she gets before she'd get attacked for doing so... Sad
And All That Jazz

[GIRL (Grabbing a letter from Fantine)]
And what have we here, little innocent sister?
Come on Fantine, let's have all the news!

[Reading the letter]

Ooh..."Dear Fantine you must send us more money...
Your child needs a doctor...
There's no time to lose..."

[FANTINE]
Give that letter to me
It is none of your business
With a husband at home
And a bit on the side!

Is there anyone here
Who can swear before God
She has nothing to fear?
She has nothing to hide?

[They fight over the letter. Valjean (M. Madeleine) rushes on to break up the squabble.]

[VALJEAN]
Will someone tear these two apart
What is this fighting all about?
This is a factory, not a circus!
Now, come on ladies, settle down
I run a business of repute
I am the Mayor of this town

[To the foreman]
I look to you to sort this out
And be as patient as you can-

[He goes back into the factory]

[FOREMAN]
Now someone say how this began!

[GIRL]
At the end of the day
She's the one who began it!
There's a kid that she's hiding
In some little town
There's a man she has to pay
You can guess how she picks up the extra
You can bet she's earning her keep
Sleeping around
And the boss wouldn't like it!

[FANTINE]
Yes it's true there's a child
And the child is my daughter
And her father abandoned us
Leaving us flat

Now she lives with an innkeeper man
And his wife
And I pay for the child
What's the matter with that?

lyrics courtesy of http://www.lyricsondemand.com/

In the first part, she's talking to Factory Girl only. In the second part, after Factory Girl basically told the Foreman to fire Fantine, Fantine is defending herself while talking to the Foreman. I hope that makes sense.

In the book, from what I remember, innocent Fantine is friends with 3 other girls. They're all in a relationship with 4 other guys who are close friends. I believe the guys are in school. Anyway, the boys abandon the girls because they only view them as something to amuse them and pass the time with. Fantine is devastated, because she's pregnant and he was her first. I can't spell Cosette's dad's name, but he never knew Fantine was pregnant.
Vanessa20

His name was Tholomyes, and he DID know Fantine was pregnant. Cosette was already about two years old when he left. There's a deleted chapter that Hugo wrote, which Orestes Fasting has on her website, where he has an unexpected encounter with little Cosette some time later and she recognizes him as her Papa.
And All That Jazz

Quote:
His name was Tholomyes, and he DID know Fantine was pregnant. Cosette was already about two years old when he left. There's a deleted chapter that Hugo wrote, which Orestes Fasting has on her website, where he has an unexpected encounter with little Cosette some time later and she recognizes him as her Papa.




This is not meant to be snarky at all, but by deleted do you mean deleted from the original English translation? I read the unabridged version by Wilbur and that's the version I use for reference. If you ask people who've read the brick if Tholomyes knew he had a child, I believe almost all would say "no". Can you provide a link to the deleted chapter? Sounds interesting.
MlleTholomyès

And All That Jazz wrote:
Quote:
His name was Tholomyes, and he DID know Fantine was pregnant. Cosette was already about two years old when he left. There's a deleted chapter that Hugo wrote, which Orestes Fasting has on her website, where he has an unexpected encounter with little Cosette some time later and she recognizes him as her Papa.



This is not meant to be snarky at all, but by deleted do you mean deleted from the original English translation? I read the unabridged version by Wilbur and that's the version I use for reference. If you ask people who've read the brick if Tholomyes knew he had a child, I believe almost all would say "no". Can you provide a link to the deleted chapter? Sounds interesting.


This is it. I think she found them in the Pléiade version and translated them herself.
Orestes Fasting

Re: Fantine Lyrics

Also, um. Didn't mention this in the previous post but...

jarrod001 wrote:
It just confuses me...Does she hace a husband at home?


...how could she have a husband at home when the whole point of the scene is that she gets fired for being an unwed mother?

I mean, there are all sorts of slightly more subtle interactions at play* but the gist is "You're hiding a kid born out of wedlock, you are not a virtuous woman, GTFO."


* And now I think about it I really like what they did with this scene: Fantine is essentially being punished for trying to remain as virtuous as she can after her 'mistake.' At that point in history any unmarried woman who'd had sex was considered little better than a prostitute; if Fantine had behaved as was expected of women of 'her sort,' and slept with the foreman in exchange for special treatment, she probably wouldn't have been fired. Instead she tries to act with integrity, and when her past comes out she's not only kicked to the curb as a loose woman but accused of dishonesty for daring to act 'pure' after being soiled.

In the book she's simply found out by a nosy old woman who digs up the dirt about Cosette, and fired by a self-righteous female supervisor. I really like the added subtext in the musical that she is refusing, even in the face of pressure, to repeat her previous mistake, and instead of being supported in that (or even just allowed to continue) she gets punished for it.


Edit: Yes, the Tholomyes-and-baby-Cosette chapter was found in Hugo's notes or rough drafts. It isn't part of any published edition of the book, but I have a heavily annotated copy that includes it in the appendices along with a bunch of other rough-draft material. However, even in the published version of the book it's quite clear that Cosette was born in 1815 (Fantine tells Mme Thenardier Cosette's age when she leaves her at the inn) and that Tholomyes left Fantine in 1817.
And All That Jazz

I don't have my book to use right now, so I have to use SparkNotes.

Quote:
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 friends, and all have mistresses who come from the working or lower-middle classes. The youngest of these four young women is Fantine, an orphan raised by the state. Whereas the other women are more experienced in the ways of the world, Fantine falls head over heels in love with Tholomyès and makes him her first lover.
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/lesmis/section2.rhtml

Their summary of Fantine book 5 says that Valjean arrived in Montreuil in 1815 and was made mayor in 1820. I don't remember how old Cosette was when Fantine left her, but I'm sure it was around 2 or 3. This sounds right because Valjean was mayor when Fantine was employed at the factory.

Again, I'm not trying to be argumentative.
lesmisloony

Wait... are you... you're arguing with the Pléiade edition of the Brick based on Sparknotes? Why not use wikipedia too? I hear they're never not reputable.

Cosette was born in 1815. Tholomyès left Fantine in 1817. What are you trying to say about the mayor stuff?
Eppie-Sue

lesmisloony wrote:
Wait... are you... you're arguing with the Pléiade edition of the Brick based on Sparknotes? Why not use wikipedia too? I hear they're never not reputable.

totally off-topic, but lately Wikipedia is the bestest source of bestness. Especially re: barricade boys. Just sayin'. Mr. Green
And I'm totally with loony on that one.
And All That Jazz

I've never heard of the Pléiade edition so I'll assume it was the first one Hugo published.

Valjean was mayor when Fantine was fired. This would have been around or after 1820. Which would make Cosette 5 if she was born around 1815. If Cosette was 8 when she was rescued by Valjean, then......then I really don't know. If I remember correctly, Valjean faked his death, got Cosette, and became the gardener. It makes more sense that Fantine left Cosette with the Thenardiers for only 3 years though. Work a while, be a prostitute for a few months, then have your health decline slowly. Yes, very logical. The 2 timelines I've found online both come from the French version. There's a chronology here:http://books.google.com/books?id=YESB90FOStQC&pg=PR38&lpg=PR38&dq=

but it contradicts itself. That's right, Fantine dies the same year Cosette is saved. I guess Fantine worked at the factory longer than I thought.

Okay, now I have a question. Fantine was pregnant when Tholomyes left, right? Did something happen? Thanks for clearing this all up with me. I hate giving out false info.
Orestes Fasting

Okay. Fantine comes to Paris in the early 1810s, ekes out a modest living, falls in love with Tholomyes. In August 1817 he leaves her. Nine or ten months later--so, May or June 1818--Fantine is on the road from Paris to Montreuil-sur-Mer with a small child in tow, stops at the inn in Montfermeil along the way, and tells Mme Thenardier that Cosette is about to turn three years old. Thus we can establish that Cosette was born in June 1815. This makes extra sense because Hugo is huge on the Napoleon symbolism in his timelines and the battle of Waterloo happened on June 18, 1815.

Back to Valjean. In late 1815 he's released from prison, the candlestick incident happens, and the newly-honest Valjean makes his way north to Montreuil-sur-Mer and slowly establishes himself. Circa 1817 he creates his glass bead factory and the economy starts to take off; over the next couple of years he keeps refusing honors, but finally accepts the post of mayor in 1820.

So Fantine gets back to Montreuil in 1818, after the factory opens but before Valjean is mayor. She works for a few years, then gets fired in the spring of 1821--Hugo notes that her poverty is manageable because it's not winter. She struggles along through most of the year, selling her hair and teeth and sewing shirts, and makes it until winter 1822-23 rolls around. At that point she's forced into prostitution. Sometime in early 1823 she's arrested after the Bamatabois incident, taken to the hospital by Valjean, and lingers a month or two before dying.

So Cosette is with the Thenardiers from 1818 to 1823, and since they couldn't very well use an eighteen-month-old infant as a servant, it makes sense that she was born in 1815 and not 1817. (Since Marius was born in 1810 or thereabouts, it makes the age difference much less creepy too.)
MlleTholomyès

How can you argue with the Pleiade brick? And then back up your statements with SparkNotes?
Orestes Fasting

MlleTholomyès wrote:
How can you argue with the Pleiade brick? And then back up your statements with SparkNotes?


Uh. Before anyone piles on, here.

1. The Bibliothèque de la Pléiade isn't exactly well-known in the English-speaking world, so I wouldn't expect anyone to recognize right off the bat that it's a special critical edition with about five hundred pages of annotations and omitted sections of notes and rough drafts.
2. The Pléiade edition of Les Mis does not have a timeline. I got a very detailed timeline out of a French student edition of the book and put it on my website (here); it has a few errors, most notably misstating Javert's age, but I've cross-checked most of the items on it against their sources in the book and it is mostly reliable.
3. The fact that toddler!Cosette recognized Tholomyès as her father in the rough drafts means nothing except that sometime in the 1840s Hugo intended him to have been there the first couple years of her life. At that point the main character's name was still Jean Tréjean, Eponine and Azelma were Palmyre and Malvina, and Courfeyrac was the leader of the Friends of the ABC (half of whom didn't exist). The rough drafts are corroboration of Hugo's intentions, not proof--the proof is that ten months after Tholomyès' 'little joke,' Fantine tells Mme Thénardier her daughter is almost three.

However, it is nice to have corroboration of Hugo's intentions, as he is occasionally a bit fuzzy with dates and the omitted Tholomyès chapter makes clear that Hugo knew Cosette was born before Tholomyès abandoned her. As opposed to Fantine being pregnant in 1817 and miraculously showing up at the Thénardiers' inn with a toddler less than a year later because Ol' Vic had a brain fart.

(BTW, the chronology on the Google books link is not to be trusted: not only does it give the wrong year for Cosette's birth, it's alarmingly vague on a lot of dates that should be crystal clear. Like Marius and Cosette's wedding, which was on Mardi Gras 1833 (February 16th), very significantly the date Hugo consummated his affair with Juliette Drouet.)
Fantine

Ummm... In my Dutch copy of the book it is clearly stated that after Tholomyes leaves her: 'The poor woman had a child'.
Thus meaning that Cosette had already been born, thus meaning that the dates make sense (which I never doubted anyway). Seems kinda hard to me to keep a child hidden for two years.
Elbow

Orestes Fasting wrote:
MlleTholomyès wrote:
How can you argue with the Pleiade brick? And then back up your statements with SparkNotes?


Uh. Before anyone piles on, here.

1. The Bibliothèque de la Pléiade isn't exactly well-known in the English-speaking world, so I wouldn't expect anyone to recognize right off the bat that it's a special critical edition with about five hundred pages of annotations and omitted sections of notes and rough drafts.
2. The Pléiade edition of Les Mis does not have a timeline. I got a very detailed timeline out of a French student edition of the book and put it on my website (here); it has a few errors, most notably misstating Javert's age, but I've cross-checked most of the items on it against their sources in the book and it is mostly reliable.
3. The fact that toddler!Cosette recognized Tholomyès as her father in the rough drafts means nothing except that sometime in the 1840s Hugo intended him to have been there the first couple years of her life. At that point the main character's name was still Jean Tréjean, Eponine and Azelma were Palmyre and Malvina, and Courfeyrac was the leader of the Friends of the ABC (half of whom didn't exist). The rough drafts are corroboration of Hugo's intentions, not proof--the proof is that ten months after Tholomyès' 'little joke,' Fantine tells Mme Thénardier her daughter is almost three.

However, it is nice to have corroboration of Hugo's intentions, as he is occasionally a bit fuzzy with dates and the omitted Tholomyès chapter makes clear that Hugo knew Cosette was born before Tholomyès abandoned her. As opposed to Fantine being pregnant in 1817 and miraculously showing up at the Thénardiers' inn with a toddler less than a year later because Ol' Vic had a brain fart.

(BTW, the chronology on the Google books link is not to be trusted: not only does it give the wrong year for Cosette's birth, it's alarmingly vague on a lot of dates that should be crystal clear. Like Marius and Cosette's wedding, which was on Mardi Gras 1833 (February 16th), very significantly the date Hugo consummated his affair with Juliette Drouet.)


I could listen to you for hours.
Vanessa20

Fantine wrote:
Ummm... In my Dutch copy of the book it is clearly stated that after Tholomyes leaves her: 'The poor woman had a child'.
Thus meaning that Cosette had already been born, thus meaning that the dates make sense (which I never doubted anyway). Seems kinda hard to me to keep a child hidden for two years.


Dang English language's tendency to use "had a child" to mean "gave birth to a child." I suppose that's where the confusion comes from.

Orestes Fasting wrote:
So Fantine gets back to Montreuil in 1818, after the factory opens but before Valjean is mayor. She works for a few years, then gets fired in the spring of 1821--Hugo notes that her poverty is manageable because it's not winter. She struggles along through most of the year, selling her hair and teeth and sewing shirts, and makes it until winter 1822-23 rolls around. At that point she's forced into prostitution. Sometime in early 1823 she's arrested after the Bamatabois incident, taken to the hospital by Valjean, and lingers a month or two before dying.


Which unfortunately doesn't answer the question of how much time these events cover in the musical. The way it's written, you could assume that Fantine's selling her hair, becoming a whore, the Bamatabois incident, the cart crash, the Champmathieu trial and Fantine's death all take place on the same day (Shocked) or at least within a few days of each other. Which feels kind of implausible.

I like to tell myself that time is compressed, and it really covers about the same amount of time as in the Brick. But that's hard to do when you have Mme. Thenardier's line "Ten rotten francs your mother sends me," implying that the Thenardiers have only just received Fantine's hair money on the day Valjean arrives for Cosette. Any theories on how much time Kretzmer, Boublil and Schonberg really meant it to cover?
Orestes Fasting

Yeah, um, time is fuzzy in the musical. If you really want to give yourself a headache, try to figure out what day things are happening on between, say, Look Down and the fall of the barricade. When is it night, when is it day? Why are the trees full of starlight if it's raining? Did they start building the barricade on the night of June 4th? I get the impression we're not meant to think too hard about this. Laughing

I do get the impression that quite a bit of time elapses during Lovely Ladies though, and that it's meant to show Fantine's slow but inexorable descent. The cart crash and the Champmathieu trial clearly take place on the same day in the musical, and in the book Fantine dies pretty much as soon as Valjean gets back from court.

And "ten rotten francs your mother sends me" could just as easily be from Fantine's time as a prostitute as from her selling her hair. Or maybe the post was really slow. Laughing
Eppie-Sue

Yes, we have to let go off the thought that the musical follows a certain timeframe in the sense that the timespans we experience indicate the real time that passes during a certain song.
e.g. "Who Am I?" illustrates the struggle Valjean goes through before going to court. We don't have to imagine him standing somewhere and actually literally thinking this through in 3 minutes... same with "A heart full of love", "I dreamed a dream", etc.
Lola-Grace

Orestes Fasting wrote:
it makes sense that she was born in 1815 and not 1817. (Since Marius was born in 1810 or thereabouts, it makes the age difference much less creepy too.)

I've only just started reading the book and I'm in Book 3 of Part 1 which is called 'In the Year 1817' and Fantine isn't even pregnant so I'm highly confused Confused
Fantine

Lola-Grace wrote:
Orestes Fasting wrote:
it makes sense that she was born in 1815 and not 1817. (Since Marius was born in 1810 or thereabouts, it makes the age difference much less creepy too.)

I've only just started reading the book and I'm in Book 3 of Part 1 which is called 'In the Year 1817' and Fantine isn't even pregnant so I'm highly confused Confused


Actually, she does have a child by then, but it isn't mentioned until the end of that chapter.
Lola-Grace

Fantine wrote:
Lola-Grace wrote:
Orestes Fasting wrote:
it makes sense that she was born in 1815 and not 1817. (Since Marius was born in 1810 or thereabouts, it makes the age difference much less creepy too.)

I've only just started reading the book and I'm in Book 3 of Part 1 which is called 'In the Year 1817' and Fantine isn't even pregnant so I'm highly confused Confused


Actually, she does have a child by then, but it isn't mentioned until the end of that chapter.


Ah cheers, best keep reading then Very Happy
Orestes Fasting

Vanessa20 wrote:
Fantine wrote:
Ummm... In my Dutch copy of the book it is clearly stated that after Tholomyes leaves her: 'The poor woman had a child'.
Thus meaning that Cosette had already been born, thus meaning that the dates make sense (which I never doubted anyway). Seems kinda hard to me to keep a child hidden for two years.


Dang English language's tendency to use "had a child" to mean "gave birth to a child." I suppose that's where the confusion comes from.


Yes, I think so too. The French is unambiguous--I'm not sure you can even use "have a child" to mean "give birth to a child" in French, but if you can, you'd have to use a different past tense (i.e. one that implies a discrete finished event rather than a general condition of existence) than Hugo was using. In French you'd use the simple past or the passé composé to say "Three days after he left her, she had a fit of suicidal depression and tried to throw herself into the Seine" and the imperfect to say "All she had to remember him by were a cheaply-made silhouette, an old shirt of his, and a squalling toddler." Hugo uses the imperfect ("la pauvre fille avait un enfant").

Anyway, enough linguistic digressions. Wink
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