Okay but Bahorel and Gavroche —
YES CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THIS FOREVER. BLESS YOU AND YOUR HYPOTHETICAL LIVESTOCK FOR MAKING THIS POST POSSIBLE.
They apparently met while looking for a place for the barricade:
“The reds, the reds!” retorted Bahorel. “A queer kind of fear, bourgeois. For my part I don’t tremble before a poppy, the little red hat inspires me with no alarm. Take my advice, bourgeois, let’s leave fear of the red to horned cattle.”
He caught sight of a corner of the wall on which was placarded the most peaceable sheet of paper in the world, a permission to eat eggs, a Lenten admonition addressed by the Archbishop of Paris to his “flock.”
“‘Flock’; a polite way of saying geese.”
And he tore the charge from the nail. This conquered Gavroche. From that instant Gavroche set himself to study Bahorel.
Yeah— it bugs me more than somewhat that Gavroche appears to be Grantaire’s Sidekick in a lot of adaptations now (and Courfeyrac’s, in the movie, though Courfeyrac himself bothers me less—but whyyyy? Bahorel was seriously RIGHT THERE. For once. And this is one of the main Things about both their characters.) because I think it’s important about Gavroche that he attaches to THE most enthusiastic, defiant, exuberantly state-smashing one in the group. He’s a street kid, hungry, homeless, and with no reason in his life to trust anyone— he’s not drawn to MORE doubt and despair. But he understands mocking the machine. He KNOWS the defiance of laughter. And here’s an adult speaking his language, in with all these SRS IDEALISTS and raging rioters. Of COURSE he imprints on Bahorel.
love whatever at first sight and Gavroche instantly decides he’s got a new best friend or something (and then they’re cute):
“Bahorel,” observed Enjolras, “you are wrong. You should have let that charge alone, he is not the person with whom we have to deal, you are wasting your wrath to no purpose. Take care of your supply. One does not fire out of the ranks with the soul any more than with a gun.”
“Each one in his own fashion, Enjolras,” retorted Bahorel. “This bishop’s prose shocks me; I want to eat eggs without being permitted. Your style is the hot and cold; I am amusing myself. Besides, I’m not wasting myself, I’m getting a start; and if I tore down that charge, Hercle! ’twas only to whet my appetite.”
This word, Hercle, struck Gavroche. He sought all occasions for learning, and that tearer-down of posters possessed his esteem. He inquired of him:—
“What does Hercle mean?”
“It means cursed name of a dog, in Latin.”
Here Bahorel recognized at a window a pale young man with a black beard who was watching them as they passed, probably a Friend of the A B C. He shouted to him:—
“Quick, cartridges, para bellum.”
“A fine man! that’s true,” said Gavroche, who now understood Latin.
AUGH THIS BIT THOUGH
Gavroche gets into a brat-off with Enjolras, mocks or teases every adult he sees, SINGS TAUNTS AT THE GUARD WHO SHOOT HIM. He’s got exactly zero reasons to trust any adult. But what Bahorel says is unquestioned truth and he just builds on it, even though Bahorel is totally BS’ing.
Yes, yes! Gavroche just dislikes any form of authority; adults, acting mature and in control, trying to tell him what to do, first of all. Gavroche’s whole personality screams that he’ll do what he can, because he can, even if you disapprove of it —heck, especially if you disapprove of it. If growing up means loosing that, well, he doesn’t need it. Indeed, he can already live by himself, has a place to sleep at night and even kids to claim as his own, without all the inevitable inconveniences of being an adult. Even if it means to never get the same respect as adults get, and that he has to stay on his own as a result, he’s still better off as long as he stays a child.
But then there’s Bahorel. He’s an adult that never had to trade his freedom for adultood, and immediatly, Gavroche knows: he wants to be him.
And then they just go around doing things on the barricade together, because why not:
In the meantime, in the space of a few minutes, twenty iron bars had been wrenched from the grated front of the wine-shop, ten fathoms of street had been unpaved; Gavroche and Bahorel had seized in its passage, and overturned, the dray of a lime-dealer named Anceau; this dray contained three barrels of lime, which they placed beneath the piles of paving-stones: […]
Indeed! Why not! Why NOT just imply that they’re stomping around the streets being a nightmare of Roving Youths together? Why NOT let Bahorel just totally adopt the kid for the rest of the time they’re alive? THAT ISN’T GOING TO HURT LIKE FIRE AT ALL.
…I hate both these guys for what’s coming next gdi.
I like that it also implies that, unlike all the other adults there who are dismissing his attempts to help and try to keep him off the barricades, Bahorel justs accepts that Gavroche will do whatever he wants if he decides to, and treats him like anyone else who would have been proposing their help. Bahorel is not patronizing him, GAVROCHE IS TAKEN SERIOUSLY FOR ONCE.
It’s one thing to finally meet an adult he has respect for instead of his usual disdain, but it’s a whole another thing TO BE RESPECTED IN RETURN.
Gavroche then goes to look for a gun, which people refuse to give him until he identifies Javert and goes outside the barricade to see what’s going on. As soon as he’s back, though, he most probably goes to Bahorel again:
Forty-three insurgents, among whom were Enjolras, Combeferre, Courfeyrac, Bossuet, Joly, Bahorel, and Gavroche, were kneeling inside the large barricade, with their heads on a level with the crest of the barrier, the barrels of their guns and carbines aimed on the stones as though at loop-holes, attentive, mute, ready to fire.
And there comes the WORST PART:
During all this time, Little Gavroche, who alone had not quitted his post, but had remained on guard, thought he espied some men stealthily approaching the barricade. All at once he shouted:—
Courfeyrac, Enjolras, Jean Prouvaire, Combeferre, Joly, Bahorel, Bossuet, and all the rest ran tumultuously from the wine-shop. It was almost too late. They saw a glistening density of bayonets undulating above the barricade. Municipal guards of lofty stature were making their way in, some striding over the omnibus, others through the cut, thrusting before them the urchin, who retreated, but did not flee.
Gavroche is in danger!
As is the whole barricade. What does Bahorel do?
Bahorel dashed upon the first municipal guard who was entering, and killed him on the spot with a blow from his gun; the second killed Bahorel with a blow from his bayonet.
Exactly. As soon as Gavroche cries out, Bahorel is the first to react. And dies as a result.
And then I cry.
And Gavroche goes off caring about it way less than me as I continue crying.
WELP THAT’S ME DONE FOR.
I…seriously doubt Gavroche doesn’t care? But it’s not his character to show it much, for good reason. He’s got all sorts of resilience, but also all sorts of serious problems that go with that. His life gives him no reward for open displays of grief or panic, and a lot of risk. Gavroche is amazingly warm-hearted, to the point of heroics, but he’s got to be able to disconnect, too— and we see that in this whole relationship. He attaches to Bahorel instantly and, as you point out, pretty completely (and Bahorel, bless his mad heart, doesn’t have any problems with this, because seriously he’s everyone’s big brother )- but the emotional flip side to that is that he moves on just as fast.
I don’t think Gavroche doesn’t care at all either. I was more alluding to the fact that, like for most death in the book, Hugo won’t give us more than a passing note about the other character’s reaction to it. I should have been more clear, maybe.
I agree with you, though. From beginning to end, this relationship didn’t last more than a mere few hours. As strong as the attachment could have been, it still wasn’t fixed. And there’s also thing with the ‘psychological fact peculiar to barricades’.
(( “Whatever may have been the singular inward tranquillity which we have just mentioned, the barricade, for those who are inside it, remains, none the less, a vision.
There is something of the apocalypse in civil war, all the mists of the unknown are commingled with fierce flashes, revolutions are sphinxes, and any one who has passed through a barricade thinks he has traversed a dream.
[…] On emerging from a barricade, one no longer knows what one has seen there.”))
And that’s why this is the part that REALLY ACTUALLY UPSETS ME because this is probably the first adult Gavroche has ever really, consciously respected, the closest he’s gotten to feeling safe and trusting an adult, and like you’ve shown his fanboying is totally accepted and he’s so secure about it and he gets just a few hours to enjoy it before he watches the guy killed RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. Possibly/ at least somewhat DEFENDING HIM, as you point out. What a damn kick in the head- no, you CAN’T rely on anyone, Gavroche, not even when they’re smart and tough and actually give a damn about you. OF COURSE he’s not going to carry on and make a show about it.
What’s the use in crying when there’s nobody to hear, after all?
ARGH. That Bahorel dies doesn’t bother me— really, the death of the Amis in general doesn’t bother me for THEIR sakes—but the ones who get left behind, that rips me up.
WHY WOULD I EXCUSE THIS POST THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL POST IT NEEDS NO EXCUSE.
…and now I just need some fic where they all go home and feel better and Gavroche starts hanging around Bahorel’s place like a stray cat and eventually settles in a bit and Bahorel maybe never bothers to BE a lawyer but he knows how laws work because how else can you break them all so he gets the paperwork sorted out and Oh Heck did I just appropriate a small engine of destruction AWESOME and Gavroche never calls him Father because that’s gross Fathers are Bad to him (and anyway they’re more like brothers) but they’re totally family and darn it I can’t fic so I’m not likely to GET that but still THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS POST IT HAS WRECKED ME IN THE BEST WAY.
Okay, okay I won’t excuse myself then :)
(though that was partly because at 2:00am I can’t make sense or think or even just write and OMG WAS THAT AN OBVIOUS ERROR RIGHT THERE NOPE yOU NEVER SAW IT)
I second that need for a fic now.