80 pages 2 hours read

Victor Hugo

Les Miserables

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1862

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Part 5, Books 1-4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 5, Book 1 Summary: "The War Within Four Walls"

After a small victory, the revolutionaries feel triumphant about their "heroic defiance" (841). This joy is only momentary, however, as they learn that the majority of the city has not banded to their cause. The revolution has not taken hold throughout Paris, and they are mostly alone. Enjolras explains that the people behind the barricade have been abandoned. As such, the soldiers vastly outmatch them. Nevertheless, the rioters are filled with optimism and resolve. The soldiers prepare the next wave of attacks. Enjolras leaps up and delivers a speech. He tells any man with a wife or children to leave the barricade, adding that they must not be selfish. At first, such men refuse. At Enjolras's insistence, however, five men are selected to be sent away, using captured army uniforms as disguises. However, there are only four uniforms. Valjean arrives at the barricade, dressed as a National Guard. He offers his own clothes to help the fifth man escape safely to his wife and children.

Marius silently reflects on his situation. Javert, still tied up and held prisoner, taunts Enjolras and then recognizes Valjean among the revolutionaries. The people behind the barricade, "prouder and more confident than ever" (856), prepare for the next attack.