a character in Hugo's Les Miserables,
represents part of the bohemian population that does not fall
under the stereotypical "artist" or "writer;"
he was simply a young student.
Although he is highly romanticized, by rejecting the bourgeois
he still represents the bohemian idea. He spent his youth
rejecting the bourgeois by:
his bourgeois origin and title.
- giving up
a comfortable lifestyle to live in poverty.
- giving up
productive labor to devote himself fully to the intellect.
grew up with his wealthy, royalist grandfather, M. Gillenormand.
His father was a war hero who fought under Napoleon. Subsequent
to his father's death, Marius renounced his guardian's royalist
views and became a bonapartist democrat, a more leftist view
which with bohemians tended to sympathize. He left his grandfather's
home and adopted his father's name, Pontmercy. This further
broke the ties between Marius and his bourgeois relatives.
He became a student of law, impassioned with learning about
his father's political views. He renounced his legal guardianship
and his bourgeois childhood.
leaves his grandfather's large, comfortable home and sets
out on his own:
went away without saying where he was going, and without knowing
where he was going, with thirty francs, his watch, and a few
clothes in a carpet-bag. He hired a cabriolet by the hour,
jumped in, and drove at random towards the Latin
quarter. What was Marius to do?" (Hugo,
Marius moved into
a seedy building owned with his few belongings. He began living
a miserable existence, but he gradually became accustomed
to it. He was independent and free; he even refused the money
his Aunt sent to aid him.
shows Marius in his old, unkempt room. The poor living conditions
are obvious from the hard, stone floor, the rotting furniture
and the dirty walls. His suit is ragged (probably from wearing
it everyday), and his books are strewn about the floor, for
there is no bookshelf on which to put them. The only furniture
is the table, chair and the bed.
also seems to show Marius' devotion to his studies. He has
his quill in his hand, his books are nearby, and he has a
large quantity of manuscript paper at hand ready to be used.
appeared in the illustrated version of Victor Hugo's Les
had put the problem of his life thus: to work as little as
possible at material labour, that his might work as much as
possible at impalpable labour; in other words, to give a few
hours to real life, and to cast the rest into the infinite."
gave up productive labor in order to devote his energy to
thought, or to the intellect. This was part of the bohemian
mentality: to reject the bourgeois idea of working for material
wealth and physical well being in order to immerse themselves
fully in their creativity and imagination. This was the mentality
that Marius adopted.
This phase of Marius'
life did not last forever; he was able to do what the bohemian
ultimately wished to do: pull out of bohemia and claim a stable
position in society. However, his time as a young
student in the margins of society was clearly a rebellion
against the bourgeois.