A very late entry for week two of ITB! But this is from 1.2.3, The Heroism of Passive Obedience:
The man continued: “I have still the whole of my money. In four days I have spent only twenty-five sous, which I earned by helping unload some wagons at Grasse. Since you are an abbe, I will tell you that we had a chaplain in the galleys. And one day I saw a bishop there. Monseigneur is what they call him. He was the Bishop of Majore at Marseilles. He is the cure who rules over the other cures, you understand. Pardon me, I say that very badly; but it is such a far-off thing to me! You understand what we are! He said mass in the middle of the galleys, on an altar. He had a pointed thing, made of gold, on his head; it glittered in the bright light of midday. We were all ranged in lines on the three sides, with cannons with lighted matches facing us. We could not see very well. He spoke; but he was too far off, and we did not hear. That is what a bishop is like.”
(FMA just has “that is what a Bishop is.” and I generally favor FMA—I do here, certainly— hence the quote. )*snipping French*
WOW. That’s all I can say to this is wow. This is super upsetting and I want to cry. I also want to talk Deep Talks about the figure of the bishop and the candlestick here, and light as something forbidden, and the act of stealing it, but I literally just woke up and there is no coffee in me.
OH WOW but PLEASE come and have that conversation, because YES, that’s some solid myth-evokery! But of course here the thing is that God HASN’T forbidden the light, Zeus- style; Hugo’s God IS light, linked over and over. And the people who have claimed to speak for God in Valjean’s life have acted to deny him access to that, and AGH THAT IS SO MANY KINDS OF NOT OKAY, I don’t have to be religious to have REALLY STRONG FEELINGS about people setting themselves up as teachers of Truth and Love—as, basically, Maximum Nurturing Figures— and then denying people access to those things, that’s abuse, it’s abuse on every level from the church to the Thenardier’s inn, and AAAUGH, IT IS SO UPSETTING, EVERYTHING IN THIS BOOK IS ABOUT EVERY OTHER THING AND I STILL CAN’T DEAL WITH IT ALL.