Write a letter to an antagonist. That’s what we were asked to do for TCWT this month. You know what was the hardest bit? Choosing a character who actually IS an antagonist — or rather, finding a character who was an antagonist, but fully developed enough that I cared to write a letter to them.
Today is World Book Day, and I’m dressed as Éponine (pictures to come, if anyone is interested). So, let’s continue with the Les Misérables theme …
Dear Inspector Javert,
You never saw yourself as an antagonist. I like that. You believe in your work. You believe that everything you’ve done is the right thing: that Valjean, having broken his parole, deserved to be hunted down through the new life he’d made. He deserved to have the status he’d worked so hard for compromised by somebody who couldn’t let go of a petty crime. He deserved to be judged and treated with suspicion when he tried to do the right thing, because once a thief, always a thief. Obviously, he deserved everything he got.
Did you hear that? That was sarcasm. I mean, you might not get it. Maybe I’m being too concise. You, after all, spent several pages soliloquising before you jumped. It wasn’t the longest chapter in the book, but that’s a long time to be talking to yourself. Perhaps you needed psychiatric help.
But I do wonder if you actually thought about the whole thing. If you ever wondered whether what you were doing was truly the best use of your skill set. I know you had a crisis of belief when Valjean let you go — we’re not talking about that. Let’s get down to basics. He stole a loaf of bread and went to jail. He tried to escape, so spent longer in jail. And then he broke his parole and disappeared and, oh, guess what? Made something of himself!
Is that such a crime? Is there some personal reason why you got involved, why you took him on as your pet project? Perhaps you believed that while he was at large, you were failing The Law. You were failing in your duties.
And if that’s the truth, then I am so sorry. I pity you.
You didn’t need to spend all those years hunting him. He didn’t need to spend all those years being hunted. Don’t you see, Javert? You went through all that — and for what? To realise that you were wrong? To doubt, who never doubted all these years? He didn’t do anything to deserve it and it breaks my heart that you took it as your task with such conviction, so that failing, or being compromised, was enough to prompt you to end your life.
I wish I could show you that there was more to Valjean than 24601 and the stolen bread. I wish I could show you that there was more to the world than prisoners and their guards.
You were born inside a jail, weren’t you? I forget the details of your childhood. It’s a few years now since I read your story, and people have shared different ones with me since then. But being born in a jail, if I’m right about that — that’s an awful way to grow up. The things you must have seen as a child, the people you must have met with … how is that a childhood? Of course you saw everything as black and white. No one ever showed you that there was more to morality than whether you were in chains or holding a whip.
The Law is not mocked. You feared to be mocked, didn’t you? What you really feared, I think, was not being good enough. And it blinded you, and you spent years chasing a man who shouldn’t have been chased, and it ate up your life and your purpose and everything about you.
I’m sorry. That wasn’t an existence.
I’m sorry that your end was the way it was. I’m sorry that seeing the truth was so painful. I’m sorry that you lost your strength of conviction before you died. To die on the barricades, shot like a dog, but still clinging to ideology and faith — that’s different. A martyr’s death. But a crisis of belief and suicide?
This world would have held you, if you had let it. This world would have been enough. You couldn’t see that. You saw only ‘life with a purpose’ and ‘life without’, because no one taught you to see in between.
I weep for you as much as I weep for Gavroche, for Éponine, for Enjolras and Grantaire, for les amis in the ABC café, for poor doomed Fantine, for Valjean … I did not want to see you die. Yes, if it had come to it, I would have stood between you and Valjean and protected him. I was on his side all along. That doesn’t mean I hated you.
Yours very sincerely,
March 5th – http://letsgetwriteral.blogspot.com
March 6th – http://themysteriousscribblingbook.wordpress.com/
March 7th – http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com/ <- YOU ARE HERE!
March 8th – http://charlieeatmybook.blogspot.co.uk/
March 9th – http://kkazulwolf.wordpress.com/
March 10th – http://missalexandrinabrant.wordpress.com/
March 11th – http://fida-islaih.blogspot.com/
March 12th – http://sarahhudsonscribbles.blogspot.ca
March 13th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/
March 14th – http://aprilmayjay.blogspot.com/
March 15th – http://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/
March 16th – http://oliviasopinions.wordpress.com/
March 17th – http://theloonyteenwriter.wordpress.com/
March 18th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/
March 19th – http://paulinaczarnecki.wordpress.com/
March 20th – http://notebooksisters.blogspot.com/
March 21st – http://theteenagewriter.wordpress.com/
March 22nd – http://myswordandpen.wordpress.com/
March 23rd – http://mirrormadeofwords.com/
March 24th – http://eatwritedie.blogspot.com/
March 25th – http://realityisimaginary.blogspot.com/
March 26th –http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com/
March 27th – http://insatiablebeforedeath.wordpress.com/
March 28th http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain)