|Reviews for Insignificant Details|
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 11 . 8/15/2016
Monsieur Hulot? *Really*? ;-p
Now this chapter ends on a twist - and given the 'sappy' turn promised by the previous chapters, an unexpectedly chilling one. So Javert ends up denouncing Madeleine after all, and events presumably unwind as in the novel. In the absence of the additional chapter promised at the start, it makes for an uncomfortably plausible ending, as the AU snaps back onto track...
Because it makes sense - under normal circumstances the sickly prostitute Fantine wouldn't have a hope of taking Javert's daughter from him, so Madeline's determination to use his immense personal influence is the one thing that is almost certain to swing the assizes in her favour and ensure, as the mayor has promised him, that he will never see 'Euphrasie' again. Madeleine is the single obstacle that represents everything that has gone wrong in Javert's life, and the inspector has been reduced to a state where he simply doesn't care about the rights and wrongs of it any more :-(
But you've also made it clear that Madeleine isn't in any way a villain (making Javert into the hero by bashing Valjean is a cheap thing to do, so I'm glad the story isn't attempting to take that route). It's all a terrible misunderstanding, which is much more true to the ironies of Hugo's original; Madeleine has no intention of being cruel or unjust to anyone, and the dismissal which is the last straw for the suffering Javert is simply an attempt to avoid inflicting his own unfair behaviour on the man :-(
To be honest I'm not quite sure where the Hulot-interlude fits into this chapter; this third-part viewpoint is a nice piece of characterisation but it doesn't actually seem to advance the plot. It's a lot of wordage just for the single line suggesting that Javert should discuss the case with Madeleine, which one feels he was quite likely to do anyway.
I'm a little curious as to what the "one more chapter" was intended to contain - a sappy ending perhaps? - but in fact I think it works quite well to leave the story at precisely this point, on a dark denoument. We begin with an attempt to circumvent fate, as Javert finds himself manipulated into adopting an unwanted child; we end up with things coming full circle, as reality reasserts itself.
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 10 . 8/15/2016
Well, you've certainly set up an interesting situation here - the reader doesn't know *whose* side to pick. We've got Javert unexpectedly trying to do the decent thing (I certainly didn't expect him to pull out Fantine's release forms instead of confronting her when he turned up at the hospital!), we've got Cosette who in this version is being torn away from a happy home life in order to restore her to her mother, rather than being rescued from persecution, we've got Adele unwillingly sympathising with both sides, we've got Madeleine jumping to the wrong conclusions about Javert's motivation, and Fantine blaming herself for misjudging him just as she misjudged the mayor in canon.
Alas, it's very much in character for Javert to bluntly inform Fantine that she's dying - "simply stating the truth as he saw it"!
Cosette's preferred solution, of course, is for Javert and Fantine to get married so that they can all live happily ever after, but the adults really didn't see that one coming... although there do seem to be hints that it might not be *totally* out of the question, bizarre as the thought might seem at first glance. (And that would certainly be a pairing I don't think I've ever seen before!)
And Madeleine, ironically, is effectively the villain of this story, having taken on the Javert-role of rigid recititude whether or not it's appropriate; having clashed with the inspector once, he now assumes the worst of him at every opportunity. His determination to make restitution to Fantine is in danger of steam-rollering everyone else.
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 9 . 8/15/2016
Of course, to Cosette, Adele is the 'mother' from whom she has been taken away... though fortunately she seems to be quite happy at the thought of having a real mother suddenly reappear (and naturally assumes that Javert has finally come through on that old promise of finding her, and that her mother will be coming to live with them...)
"fierce, protective kisses in which there may have been a hint of defiance" - which tells us a lot about Adele, and about this situation.
Madeleine evidently doesn't feel that "Cosette" is a suitable name for a child - or else he is consciously trying to detach her from her old life! - since I can't imagine that Fantine has been referring to her lost baby by her long-forgotten 'grown-up' name.
"I wonder why she wants me back now" - ouch! However it's just as well that the child doesn't seem too traumatised by her unexplained abandonment.
In fact that reunion went rather better than might be expected; Cosette *does* remember her mother, just, and she does feel sympathy for this unknown woman and her distress. But of course that then puts Adele's own sympathies into complete turmoil; if Cosette had rejected Fantine she could have fought with a clear conscience to keep her, but if there's a chance that the child may accept her real mother she doesn't know what she ought to do :-(
Meanwhile Cosette has evidently learnt to model herself unconsciously on Javert...
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 8 . 8/11/2016
"It was hard to be on the offensive with someone so resolutely nice" - the way this chapter is written is interesting. Madeleine remains on the face of it in character ("you spoke what was in your heart, as a good woman should"; his pain at the memory of his sister's children) and yet he is seen through hostile eyes, since Adele's sympathies are with Javert and she instinctively interprets everything as subtle opposition.
And of course Adele as foster-mother is also losing a daughter to the claims of this jumped-up streetwalker, which influences her...
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 7 . 8/11/2016
"Madame Manette gave me the key" - oh, so Javert isn't actually lodging with Adele himself, unlike half the rest of his force!
Again, reusing the name "Manette" is a bit confusing, given its stromng associations elsewhere (unless we're actually doing a "Tale of Two Cities" crossover).
I like this scene between Adele and Javert; of course he cannot accept her attempts either at sympathy or at reason ("She's not your child, Monsieur. In the end you have to remember that"). Javert is clearly devastated, but he is proud and in character: "make me back into a simple man" is an interesting way of putting it (I actually read this as "single man", i.e. one without any family attachments...) It's a neat little reminder of the realities of contemporary child mortality when Adele points out that she has already lost three of her own children and survived the blow :-(
There is a chilling echo of his canon fate when he finds himself adrift from a law that can allow such manifest absurdity, and bitter sarcasm in his remarks on Madeleine's idea of common-sense and justice, and on the supreme correctness of the judge's authority; all his previous firmly-held values are being questioned, and the precedents are not good :-(
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 6 . 8/11/2016
The remark about the vultures is supposed to come as humorous relief, I take it, but it does feel a bit out of place :-(
I like Javert's meditations on the best way of dealing with different kinds of offenders once arrested: "that was the terrible thing about falling, having done it once it became far easier to do it the next time"... too true, and yet very Javert.
"I owe a hundred francs and If I don't pay my little girl will be turned out into the street" - wait, does this mean that she is *still* paying the Thenardiers? That they are still stringing her along with stories about Cosette's illness and demands for money even though they don't even have the child any more? Of all the cheek!
(For plot purposes, I suppose they have to; otherwise Fantine has no motivation to fall into debt and hence prostitution...)
"at this moment Cosette was not behaving like the innocent angel of her father's (and indeed mother's) fond recollections" - yes, I suppose they *are* both (ironically) idealising her at that instant! It's hard to imagine Hugo's Cosette running round hitting people with a wooden spoon, but then she never had a gang of siblings to egg her on.
Sounds like a busy household with lodgers, children and all; no wonder Adele never raised an eyebrow at taking in the Inspector's little girl. And Cosette hopes to see someone getting arrested? Dramatic irony may be about to strike tonight, methinks :-(
"She had spat in the mayor's face - a thing that had not occurred in even his wildest fantasies (Well, maybe in his wildest fantasies)" - hah :-) It never occurred to me that Javert might actually find a certain vicarious satisfaction in that unspeakable assault when it was Madeleine, after all, who was the victim :-p
I'm confused as to why the "terrible sense of illumination" afflicts Madeleine rather than Javert; Jacquemin presumably knows Cosette's history through his wife, but why would Madeleine or Pontellier jump to sudden conclusions at the sound of the words "Thenardier" and "Montfermeil"? I suppose the mere name of the motherless child is a bit of a giveaway...
"This is my province and I intend to keep the woman Fantine under arrest" - now I wonder what exactly Javert's motivations are here... and whether he himself is even certain :-(
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 5 . 8/11/2016
Yes, it's interesting to speculate on how being seen as Javert's daughter would affect Cosette's relationship with her peers at school. Of course it helps here that she has the Jacquemin children as foster-siblings; ironically it seems to be the teacher who objects to Javert the most.
(Frankly, I never did understand this argument that you're a 'sneak' if you don't cover up for injustice.)
I assume that if they're writing two hundred lines *on the blackboard* - and three of them! - they must be rubbing them out between whiles :-p
I like the touch about Cosette planning to add a 'Mademoiselle' to the front of the name that she has written in the snow; it feels very childish and credible somehow. And the way that she remembers, after three years have passed, that Javert had promised to find her mother (which I'd actually forgotten), but that it seems to have slipped his mind somehow...
And the way she takes losing your front teeth for granted :-(
I'm surprised poor Fantine doesn't get more suspicious at the coincidence of the name "Cosette" (which I believe is a unique nickname of her own coinage rather than a normal diminutive). The chances of there being two in this one district have to be vanishingly small - but why would she look for her own daughter in the child of Inspector Javert?
And naturally the Jacquemin family are horrified at finding her talking to innocent little Cosette :-(
"I've done the bet so I've got first call on the brandy bottle now" - ah, so *that's* why Fantine approached her! Ouch - well, it makes more sense of why she suddenly decided to talk to a little girl who had been in the town for years but whom she had never attempted to contact before...
I did find it a bit distracting seeing the name La Goulue here, when it's associated so specifically with a particular individual elsewhere - a bit like "Phantom of the Opera" fanfic writers who introduce a 'maid' character called Cosette on the assumption that it must be a common 19th-century working-class name :-(
And so this is the very night of Fantine's arrest; hence the snow at the start of the chapter...
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 4 . 8/11/2016
"if he had been instructed to carry out the same task by the state Javert could have resolved the matter in a blink of an eye - why did it now take him so long?" - good point; if Javert is a super-efficient functionary as portrayed, we have to assume that under normal circumstances he would have disposed of a stray child as neatly as any other municipal loose end. So the logic that Cosette falls under the heading of his *personal* responsibilities rather than his official duties works very neatly to explain why he never gets round to putting her into an orphanage :-)
"a man that desperate to be beloved certainly wanted to compensate for something" - a neatly perverse piece of psychology; I like it!
So you've provided Cosette with a capable foster-mother, which is just as well - I like the idea that Javert regarded her in the light of a superior officer where dealing with children was concerned :-)
"She had made one mistake in her youth (or possibly two, if you count the pregnancy and marriage separately)" - a nice bit of quick characterisation. I'm not clear what Javert's "idiosyncratic notions" on discipline are implied to be, though: the circumstances and phrasing ("accommodating") would normally imply that Adele is more lenient on Cosette than the other children, but Javert's characterisation makes this sound unlikely!
It's an interesting idea that Javert's fixation on M. Madeleine is the result of a lack of challenge in his daily duties...
I'm still having trouble with the idea of a Javert who is "a dreamer" and whose sole vice is a tendency to talk the hind leg off a donkey, though :-p
You've got a convincing relationship between Cosette and Javert: the child desperate for attention and afraid of being returned to the Thenardiers, and the man regarding her as part of his duty and apt to treat her like an adult, with the whole gradually melding into mutual dependence and affection. Though naturally Javert, not being given to self-analysis, remains largely unaware that he has succumbed!
(And yes - hurrah for canonically plain Cosette :-D)
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 3 . 8/11/2016
I'm a bit puzzled by the business of Javert's having acquired a "painful southern accent" - a reference to his time working at Toulon, I suppose, although I wouldn't expect an adult to acquire a strong accent in the course of his employment. Start to lose his native accent, maybe...
"his kindness was of the indiscriminate sort that Javert particularly disliked" - yes, I can see that getting right up Javert's nose! Rewarding the undeserving is tantamount to endorsing and encouraging them :-p
"most of the people Javert had seen before were worthy of suspicion" - given the unsavoury circles into which his employment has taken him, I imagine that faces from the past do tend to crop up in undesirable contexts ;-)
Naturally he is not going to be forthcoming about his family arrangements... and naturally everyone is going to assume as a result that the newly-appointed inspector with a small child must be a recent widower. Potentially awkward!
So Valjean feels (quite spuriously!) sorry for him at the same time as feeling threatened. And Fantine feels envious of his 'respectable' single parent status.
"That he should receive sympathy when all she got was contempt!" - all too apt, and of course all too ironic.
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 2 . 8/11/2016
I like Cosette's scale of values: if Eponine and Azelma have never been in a coach, then it really must be a splendid thing to do!
Poor child, even a reluctant and embarrassed Javert is an improvement on anything she has ever known before...
It hadn't occurred to me that anyone seeing the two of them together would automatically assume that *Javert* was responsible for Cosette's deplorable condition; how awkward for him :-D
And not being Valjean, of course he hasn't arrived prepared with a complete set of new mourning clothes for her, so she is still in rags.
Oh dear, naturally Cosette hasn't the faintest idea what she "wants" to eat and doesn't know how to cope with the question :-(
Javert is a born raconteur? *Really*? Seems a bit out of character..
| Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 1 . 8/11/2016
Ah. Well, apparently I wasn't the only writer to have this particular idea!
The punctuation's a bit mixed up and there are typing errors in the chapter ("lowering him eyes"), but given that it was written in 2005 I'm assuming that the author knows how to punctuate dialogue normally by this point :-)
I was a bit sceptical at first about having Javert's contact be the village schoolmaster - surely you weren't going to have Cosette go to school? - but this is not the case, and he works as a plausible conversation partner: a man educated enough to approach a stranger in hope of intelligent company, and well-informed and law-abiding enough to leak disapproving details of the Thénardiers' goings-on. And naturally the inn-keeper would be in the habit of trying to cheat him...
No, I really can't imagine that anyone has accused Javert of being a 'do-gooder' before!
And in canon La Thénardier is physically massive, so I can imagine her striking a man in the face.
And yes - that's about the only credible way to have Javert take Cosette, since he is scarcely going to do so out of charity: force him into a situation where he has to do so in order to avoid losing face :-p
NB "The revolting object turned out to be his newspaper" - canon states that Javert didn't read newspapers: II.X "Où il est expliqué comment Javert a fait buisson creux" - "en décembre 1823 il lut un journal, lui qui ne lisait jamais de journeaux" (sorry, I don't have an English edition to hand). I only know because I'd originally had him reading the paper in my version, and subsequently noticed this with much cursing!
| Deer-Shifter chapter 10 . 1/15/2013
I have been looking for a javert-raises-cosette story for months now. This is all I hoped for and more. thank you. I only wish it was continued.
| Darth Gilthoron chapter 4 . 12/10/2006
Rambling Javert. A totally new take on him. :D
It's interesting to see him as a "family man", if I may call him so. And that sergeant's wife you bring in fills her place nicely, if you understand what I mean.
It would be easier to read if you made proper paragraphs, though, and there's still a few typos. Yes, I'm such a nagging little pest. :)
Will probably be back tomorrow, depending on how much time there'll be in the evening.
| Darth Gilthoron chapter 3 . 12/10/2006
Now I'm starting to wonder who Cosette will end up with.
Can't say much about this chapter, as it's your classica transition thing. Let's see about the next...
| Darth Gilthoron chapter 2 . 12/10/2006
As promised, I've come back for more. You got yourself a fanboy, it seems. :-)
I liked the remark about table manners. Hehe, foul-mannered Javert. :D
And I like how Cosette wanted to get adopted by him straight away. Little children are so trusting, aren't they?
There's a couple of typos you might want to correct, though, and some missing interpunctation.