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Free Study Guide-Les Miserables by Victor Hugo-Free Book Notes Summary
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Book Tenth: June 5th, 1832

Summary

The first two sections of this chapter discuss some ancient history of revolts and insurrections. Insurrection is a more honorable term as it suggests an uprising for a legitimate cause. In June of 1832, a person named Lamarque-who was much loved by the people-dies, providing the impetus for another revolt. During the funeral procession an incident takes place which results in three musket shots. No one is quite sure what causes the shootings, but rumors circulate and the insurrection is begun with stirrings, assembly of leaderless crowds in the streets, and random acts of violence against police, upon houses and street lamps.

Barricades spring up in a matter of hours throughout Paris as small groups of students, merchants and working people arm themselves for the revolt. Paris has endured numerous insurrections throughout her history, but this one of 1832 seems different; the very city seems afraid.


Notes

Part of the discontent in Paris is related to an outbreak of cholera, which is also what killed Lamarque. The militia fears the mourning on the part of the people will lead to violence and they take precautions that are interpreted as provocative. Hugo discusses the social factors that made the insurrection inevitable. He identifies two problems, the first that of producing wealth, the second that of distributing it. Revolution results when either problem is neglected.

Furthermore, all of Europe had reached a boiling point as different countries drove out their rulers and the common people worked without gain. At any rate, since 1830 discontent had been gradually building. People met in backrooms and wine shops to discuss the government and to read and write subversive pamphlets. People cried out against each other and rumors circulated of jobs that were neglected while the employees made cartridges. The uprising is not thus the result of merely the ABC group staging a daring student revolt, but a combination of discontent throughout Paris. It was doomed to fail, however, because the people did not really have the numbers or the will to back the insurgents once the fighting started.

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