Character Summary- Cosette

Character Summary:

Cosette is an innocent child, lost and then found. She was born to Fantine, fatherless, and left to be raised by strangers in hopes that they might be able to raise her better than Fantine would be able to. However, her adopted family was emotionally and physically abusive, using Cosette as a little slave to tend to their needs. She was seen as less then the Innkeeper's own daughters, and hated by the Innkeeper's wife. Cosette had no idea how much her real mother loved her and how many sacrifices Fantine was making in hopes of providing well for Cosette.
When Valjean appears, in the garb of a traveler, he is the first to enter the inn that showed her any kindness. He bought her time, which she was spending knitting for the Innkeeper's daughters, and let her play instead. He saw that her only toy was a wooden sword that she wound with rags to dress it up like a doll, while the Innkeeper's daughters had a fine doll that Cosette could not play with. Due to this lacking, he bought Cosette the very fancy doll that she had been looking at in the window of a local toy shop, and surprised her with it as a gift.
When Valjean finally succeeds in rescuing Cosette from life with the Innkeeper's family; Cosette is taken from a life of pain to a life of love. Through Valjean she is taught to love, trust, and be happy. All this from a man still struggling to do good and overcome his resentment from the past. Valjean protects Cosette, and makes sure she has everything she needs. She gained her education from the nuns in the time the spent in the convent, never lacked for food or clothing, never lacked in love and support from Valjean. As she learns from Valjean and is supported and protected by his- she is also a major source of support for Valjean. Her innocent love strengthened him and helped him persist in virtuous deeds. She gave him the strength to face his faults and doubts.
One day Cosette noticed a young man, who also noticed her. She saw this young man everyday during her walks with Valjean, until Valjean noticed the boy's attention. Changes were made, and although Cosette thought about her young admirer and initially grieved at not seeing him anymore, she did not complain and attempted to keep any distress from Valjean, not wanting him to worry. When the two finally see each other again, and finally meet, Cosette realizes that she never forgot her young admirer, he had just been put to the back of her mind. Cosette and Marius have a whirlwind romance, full of clandestine meetings and hours of talking of nothing.
After the fighting at the barricades, and Marius's recovery time, the two young people are brought together by Valjean and Marius's grandfather. They once again spend all the time they can together, and marry. Cosette is so happy to be with the man she loves, and has longed for, that she doesn't seem to notice Valjean slipping from her life. She is confused and saddened by his distance, but lets her happiness with Marius overcome that sadness. It is not until Valjean's death scene that we see how much she truly still love the man that raised her, despite the twists of fate that have effected both of them.

Character Quotes:

"The man walked very fast. Cosette followed him without difficulty. She felt fatigue no more. From time to time, she raised her eyes towards this man with a sort of tranquility and inexpressible confidence. She had never been taught to turn towards Providence and to pray. However, she felt in her bosom something that resembled hope and joy, and which rose towards heaven." (P.336)

"As all children do, like the young shoots of the vine that cling to everything, she had tried to love. She had not been able to succeed. Everybody had repelled her - the Thenardiers, their children, other children. She had loved the dog; it died, and after that no person and no thing would have aught to do with her. Mournful thing to tell, and one which we have already hinted, at the age of eight her
heart was cold. This was not her fault; it was not the faculty of love that she lacked; alas! it was the possibility. And so, from the very first day, all that thought and felt in her began to love this kind old friend. She now felt sensations utterly unknown to her before - a sensation of budding and growth." (P.370)

"While she was forgetting him, he had found her again! But had she forgotten him? No, Never! She was mad to have thought so for a moment. She had always loved him, always adored him. The fire had been covered and smoldered for a time, but she clearly saw it had only sunk in the deeper, and now it burst out anew and fired her whole being. This letter was like a spark dropped from that soul into hers."(P.788-9)

“Without knowing why herself, and without affording any grounds for censure, her soul had so thoroughly become her husband’s soul, that whatever was covered with shadow in Marius’ thought, it was obscured in hers. We must not go to far, however; in what concerns Jean Valjean, this forgetfulness and this obliteration were only superficial. She was rather thoughtless than forgetful. At heart, she really loved him whom she had so long called father. But she loved her husband still more. It was that which had somewhat swayed the balance of this heart, inclined in a single direction.”(P.1195)
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