I love Enjolras’s arc bc his rejection of the personal/domestic/non-ideological was explicitly portrayed as a character flaw and it’s an arc i’m familiar with because it’s alive and well in modern times it’s just less Deep
it’s the arc usually given to the driven, career/cause oriented woman in a rom com who realizes the ‘error of her ways’ and that a man and a family is what she really needs to be fulfilled
it’s nice to see a man in this role instead and instead of giving him a hetero love arc that leads to a wife, 2.5 kids and a dog, Enjolras becomes complete by virtue of noticing and valuing other people’s domestic attachments, and the own attachments he’s formed with his friends: mothers holding vigils for sons, men that need to be sent away from the barricade because they have dependents, his willingness to trade Prouvaire for Javert, his smile at Grantaire
the arc doesn’t consist of him finding a New Person and abandoning his ideals/former life, it consists of him finding all of these things in the lifestyle he’s been leading this entire time, a life that still ends in revolution and sacrifice
there’s no condescension from hugo towards his character it’s so refreshing
Nice point – it’s an expansion of his world view, not a rejection of his ideals and priorities.
YESSS all of this– he doesn’t become complete by rejecting his central ideal, but by understanding how it encompasses more than he initially thought it did.
I think this goes well beyond just Enjolras and his arc in the book– Les Mis deals a lot about the tension between personal/individual obligations and duty to the greater good/ society, and it never denigrates either one. Valjean has a duty to his workers AND a duty to Champmathieu, it’s important to be at the barricade AND it’s important for people to care for their families. It’s no simple dichotomy, either–serving a greater cause serves the individual, saving the individual IS part of duty to any worthwhile larger ideal, and still there are competing needs there. There’s no single course of action that’s put forth as always right for everyone, only the need to remember those many ties, and to act from love.
It’s one of the reasons I love Les Mis– it avoids the nasty trope I see in a lot of stories, where larger social involvement is seen as somehow alien to personal matters, and vice versa , where the political or spiritual or artistic is treated as some alien irrelevance to the personal , something to be Given Up in favor of What’s Really Important. But in Les Mis it’s portrayed as BEING really important, and part of people’s lives–just like life is part of those broader goals.