The students from LES MISÉRABLES might be some of the most relatable characters I have personally ever read about or come across. Now, in the musical, they get glossed over immensely. I mean, it’s pretty rare that you come across a person who has only seen the musical who knows the name Bossuet and who he is. But if you ask the fans of the book, they will spout on and on about those barricade boys. So… which one am I most like? Well… first, let’s do a quick overview of who these characters are:
· ENJOLRAS – Okay, who doesn’t know Enjolras? He’s the one that Victor Hugo wrote a full page of physical description for. Which, by modern standards would be a really bad move to make in writing a book. But it’s a classic. The rules were different back then. Anyways, Enjolras is the leader of the rebellion. He’s patriotic and very sure of his beliefs but he can also be a little unkind. It’s France and the rebellion first. Oh, and in the book he doesn’t have as good a relationship with Marius as he does in the musical.
· COMBEFERRE – And now we have Combeferre who is called “the guide”. He’s essentially the second-in-command and pretty much a… nicer, more moderate version of Enjolras when it comes to the rebellion. Besides that though, Combeferre is a genius. He’s ridiculously smart. I might go so far as to say that he’s the smartest of the students. In fact, he actually delivers one of my favorite lines from the book.
· COURFEYRAC – Combeferre is called “the guide”, Enjolras is called “the chief”, and then there’s Courfeyrac who is called “the center”. In the book, Courfeyrac is actually Marius’s friend. I might even say that he’s his best friend. Not Enjolras. Courfeyrac. In a lot of way, Courfeyrac can be kind of amusing but he is definitely outgoing.
· LESGLE(S) / L’AIGLE / BOSSUET – So Bossuet is the unlucky one of the students. Super unlucky. Luckily he has friends to help him around the mess that is his life. It’s okay. Actually, in the book, Marius was skipping out on class and Bossuet knew that he’d be kicked out of the class if he didn’t show up so he pretended to be Marius and got himself kicked out instead. This was way back before he even knew Marius. Yeah. Anyways, Bossuet is one of the sillier of the barricade boys. And, despite his bad luck, he is highly optimistic and happy.
· JOLY – Joly is Bossuet’s best friend and he’s also a doctor. He also is highly germophobic. Some of his friends call him “Jolllly” (I’m not sure how many “l”’s are actually supposed to be in there but that’s not really the point) as a sort of pun on the English word “jolly”. If you read the book, you’ll find out that Victor Hugo loves puns. Anyways, Joly and Bossuet are pretty much the jokesters of Les Amis de l’ABC (yet another pun) and probably some of the happiest of the students.
· BAHOREL – Bahorel is talkative, well-spirited, and immensely brave. While well-respected, he is not afraid to put up a fight for his beliefs. He is also one of the most dedicated of the students and while he doesn’t see himself as a leader he is a happy follower. A lot of fans picture Bahorel as a tough, brawny guy but I’m not sure that Hugo makes a lot of commentary on his physical build.
· JEHAN – Jehan is a poet and he is also one of the members of Les Amis de l’ABC that is noted to be very difficult to dislike. Technically his name is Jean Prouvaire but he goes by Jehan (this is said to be because of his interest in the Middle Ages). Notably, he dresses pretty badly, is shy (but brave nonetheless) and is actually probably one of the most artistic of the students, being able to play the flute, write poems, etc.
· FEUILLY – So, Feuilly is oftentimes overlooked. He’s an orphan and probably one of the poorer of the members of Les Amis de l’ABC, making only three francs a day. He makes fans and is an optimist. He also taught himself to read and write and essentially everything that he knows is self-taught. In fact, Feuilly is not even a student but actually a working man (unlike the rest of the group). It is often said of Feuilly: “The orphan adopted the people”.
· GRANTAIRE – Grantaire’s quite a bit different than the rest of the group. In the book, he cares very little for the cause and is a skeptic who is usually drunk. The rest of the group (with the exception of Enjolras) likes Grantaire, though, liking his easy-going nature. According to the book, we also hear that Grantaire is a boxer, gymnast, and dancer though we don’t really get much information on that.
So… now you know a little bit about all of the students. They’re pretty fleshed out for characters who, for the most part, get very little attention after you get beyond Enjolras, Combeferre, Courfeyrac, and maybe Grantaire.
Who am I most like?
I definitely feel like I’m a mix between Bossuet and Combeferre. Bossuet because I’m clumsy (horribly so) and Courfeyrac because I am very dedicated to things that I care about but not usually as a leader and instead more as a follower.
I love the students from LES MIZ. Who are your favorites? Who do you think that you’re most like?