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From cold forest to warm hearth
The forest is dark and cold
At five in the morning, I'm told
By a little girl wearing a homespun dress,
And a gray beret over her curly tress.
Her face is dusty as she fetches water in that dark, cold place,
Until she meets the man who knew her mother so far away.
The man with angel white hair takes her to live a better life,
But they must hide because he's a hunted man.
For years they move from place to place,
Until the raising of the barricades,
And she meets the young man who would be her prince,
Her fortune has been set by heaven above,
Watched over by the mother
She never had a chance to love.
A kind man has raised her and saved her prince's life,
And finally there's a home
For her heart to grow in love.
Cosette in the Forest, in Les Miserables
The story of Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, chronicles the transformation of the protagonist, Jean Valjean. It is told from his point of view. The reader journeys along with Valjean as his transformation touches others, including Fantine and her daughter Cosette.
Cosette is often misused by the Thenardiers, but Valjean's faith, boldness, fortitude and integrity win over their attempts to call in the law on their side to stop him. Valjean and Cosette meet many challenges as they attempt to remain below the radar of the law, and many minor characters work around them to help them maintain their privacy.
Despite his best efforts, Cosette compromises the obscurity of Valjean's whereabouts because he is not ready to tell her about his past and she doesn't realize the dangers of her becoming involved with a civil protester. In the end, the dire circumstances around the French Revolution compel Jean Valjean to leave the relative security of his home to save others' lives. He knows that he is getting old and he must secure a future for Cosette. The road sign for this is in a letter that is delivered to him by Eponine. He realizes that he has no other choice than to take the risk of supporting the students behind the barricade and saving the life of Marius. Cosette marries Marius and Jean Valjean's story ends. Cosette's story continues because of both Valjean's bravery and her open heart.
© 2009 Karen A Szklany