So I was originally going to make @pilferingapples wait for my thesis to find out (:P), but then @darkhorse-javert asked so here is my post on Grantaire’s pun on dominos and the barrière.
In French history, a barrière is a gate, part of the city walls, prohibiting access to a city. A barrière represents the idea of a frontier. In French, there’s an expression “franchir la barrière” which means “to cross/jump over an obstacle.” Therefore, a barrière is an obstacle. When Enjolras sends Grantaire to the Barrière du Maine, he wants Grantaire to transcend this frontier. The people who meet there, the sculptors and painters, play dominos. (Hugo 1156, 1159) It’s important that they play games amongst themselves, passing the time without passing through the obstacle. It is also significant that the game they choose is dominos. The name for this game comes from the Latin for “I vanquish my opponent; I dominate.” One constructs chains with the dominos; it is an activity of construction, the goal being to vanquish the chains of the other players. The people at the Barrière du Maine could be constructing barricades against the repressive state army, but, instead, they play.
Well you could hardly expect any to not be curious, there! 😀
Thank you so much for the preview of the thesis! This is really elaborate and interesting!