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Les Misérables | Study Guide

Victor Hugo

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Les Misérables | Part 5, Book 8 : Jean Valjean (The Twilight Waning) | Summary



Marius contrives for Jean Valjean and Cosette to meet in a parlor in the basement, which is dusty and inhospitable. Jean Valjean now asks Cosette to call him Monsieur Jean. The servants make the room where they meet more habitable, but little by little Marius drives Jean Valjean away by making the room uncomfortable again, and Jean Valjean takes his hint and stops coming. Marius also suspects Cosette's dowry money was made illegally, so he will not spend it.


Marius does not have the courage to tell Jean Valjean to his face that he may not see Cosette. He drives him away, however, not thinking of what it might cost the old and lonely man. His actions are selfish, and he has only his own interests in mind. He knows Cosette is in no danger—after all, she was reared by Jean Valjean. Moreover, he knows Cosette loves her father. Yet because of his own fastidiousness, he separates her from her father, so he will not feel uncomfortable.

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