Les Miserables: Novel Summary: Section 4 – Book 01

 Section 4 – Saint-Denis and Idyll of the Rue Plumet
Book One – A Few Pages of History
The narrator observes that the years between 1830 and 1832 mark some of the most striking events in history. The July Revolution of 1830 was a revolution of the bourgeoisie that sought to expand some freedoms while maintaining the status quo. The man who was made king, Louis Philippe, is described as a charming representation of the bourgeoisie class who carries an umbrella and had previously worked for his living. The ills of society continued unabated, however and by April of 1832 the extreme left wing thinkers and sympathizers, namely the students and workingmen, had become volatile and spoke of the necessity for a real revolution. The heart of this sentiment lay in the Fauborg Saint Antoine district of Paris where the wine shops and coffeehouses were used by secret societies to organize for the approaching conflict. Arms were gathered, ammunition manufactured, pamphlets distributed and leaders elected. At the Cafe Musain the ABC society meets and Enjolras appoints different members to go check on the readiness and willingness of various factions throughout the city. Much to everyones surprise the ever cynical and usually drunken Grantaire volunteers to visit the artists of the Barriere du Maine and convert them to the cause. Enjolras has his doubts but allows Grantaire to take on the mission. Later Enjolras visits the smoking room where the artists of the Barriere du Maine gather and observes Grantaire engaged in a game of dominos.
The causes and results of the July Revolution of 1830 are reviewed. It is evident that a lot of discontent still existed and that the extreme left wing thinkers are becoming stronger in numbers and more vocal. The sentiment that is being expressed is that a real revolution was necessary.