Fantine (1796 - 1823) was a main character in the series, and the mother of Cosette.
Background/Role in StoryEdit
Looking for Work and Leaving Cosette BehindEdit
Montreuil-sur-Mer and the Black Glass FactoryEdit
After a few days, Fantine arrives at Montreuil-Sur-Mer and asks two local women about the factory. They confirm the factory's existence, and the background behind its building, stating that a man named Monsieur Madeleine (an alias created by Jean Valjean) arrived to the town three years ago, helped set up the factory, and is now serving as mayor. Arriving at the factory, Fantine is interviewed by a foreman named Meille, and at one point during the interview is asked if she arrived alone, to which Fantine lies and states yes. Fantine is hired and begins working alongside co-worker Zéphine, as well as many other women. Over the course of several years, Fantine tirelessly accumulates money to send to the Thénardiers in order to pay for the expenses of Cosette, many of which are exaggerated lies in order to milk more money out of Fantine. Due to Fantine's aloofness with fellow co-workers, and constant letter-receiving, suspicions arise that Fantine may have a secret lover outside the factory.
Dismissal from the Factory and Declining HealthEdit
One evening, Zéphine arrives at Fantine's apartment and discovers letter-writing stationary, which includes the name Cosette written in the address stamp. From then on, the other co-workers mistreat Fantine, and after a scuffle in which Zephine steals all of Fantine's glass buttons, she is fired for having lied in her interview regarding having a child. As Fantine desperately pleads with Meille, Meille once again orders her to leave at the demands of Monsieur Madeline. Fantine is in disbelief that such a kind-hearted man would be the one to order her dicharged, nonetheless, she has no choice, and receives her day's pay before leaving the factory. As Fantine continues to take on small jobs, her money accumulation as well as her health begins to decline. Eventually she is evicted from her apartment and lives with a group of homeless townspeople. Desperate to find a more permanent means of earning money, Fantine sells her hair in order to buy a skirt for Cosette during the winter (another one of Thénardier's money-milking lies). Eventually, her earnings are stolen and barefoot, she arrives at the police station to report the robbery, only to be shooed away by the officer blocking the door, due to looking more like a poor beggar than a helpless woman in need of the police's assistance. One winter evening, a duo of drunken men dump a handful of snow down her back, after which she retaliates, hits the two men with a stick, and is arrested by Inspector Javert for the attack. While at the police station, Fantine tries to explain the situation to Javert, and is sentenced to six months in prison. Just as she is about to be taken away, Valjean appears, and after being slapped in the face by Fantine, orders her to be let go of all charges, to both Javert's and Fantine's shock. Using both an eye-witness account from his associate, Alain, as well as his juristiction as mayor, his orders are granted, after which Fantine collapses in Valjean's arms, her condition worsening.
Under the Care of Valjean, Last Moments, and Later "Return"Edit
Later that evening, a local doctor informs Valjean, alongside Alain and Sister Simplice, that Fantine's illness is terminal. Fantine calls out Cosette's name, and Valjean promises to reunite Fantine with Cosette as soon as possible. The next day, Meille arrives to apologize to Fantine, having not heard her side of the story. She agrees to pick up Cosette for her, but ultimately is tricked by the Thénardiers by using Azelma as a guise of Cosette, as well as with regard to the amount of money Fantine owes the couple for taking care of Cosette. Valjean then plans to travel to Monfermeil himself with a letter of permission written by Fantine for the Thénariders to willingly give Cosette to him, but he is side-tracked with the trial of an innocent man who has been claimed to be Valjean, and ultimately, holds off picking up Cosette until the situation is taken care of. After arriving back from the trial a few days later, Valjean checks in on Fantine, only to be interrupted by Javert who has arrived to arrest Valjean for revealing his true identity at the trial. Valjean pleads with Javert to give him a few more days, until he reunites Cosette with Fantine, but Javert refuses, and states to Fantine that the kindly Monsieur Madeline was nothing more than a fake. Javert continues to shout at Fantine, stating that Valjean was never going to reunite Cosette with her, after which Fantine suddenly collapses in shock, dead.
Nearly ten years later, the now grown-up Cosette retraces Fantine's steps from Montfermeil to Montreuil-sur-Mer alongside Gavroche in order to learn more about her mother's journey, as well as to tell her of her recent engagement to Marius. She meets up with Sister Simplice and Alain, who guide her around the factory, tell her the heartbreaking story of Fantine's time in Montrueil-Sur-Mer up until her death, and introduce her to a daycare facility named "The House of Fantine and Cosette", built for children who's mothers work in the factory to have a place to stay during the day. The quartet finally visit Fantine's grave and pay their respects. Fantine's final scene in the series is as a spirit alongside Bishop Myriel to take the dying Valjean to heaven. At one point, she states Cosette's name, causing her daughter to turn her head to the direction of her mother, sensing her presence. Valjean dies soon afterward with Marius and Cosette sobbing at his side. In the very last scene of the series, a few years later, Marius, Cosette, and their daughter are walking along the same path Cosette and her mother took in the very first episode of the series, and like Cosette, she loses her hat for a few seconds in the breeze, only for Cosette to retrieve it to her. The child notices Cosette's pendant, to which Cosette responds that it was originally her mother's and that she will pass it down to her daughter once she is older.
Differences from the NovelEdit
- Fantine does not become a prostitute, nor sells her teeth, in order to earn money. Instead, she takes on a series of jobs, such as working at a flower market, as well as a fish market
- No mention of a pendant is made in the novel
- In the novel, the degree of the bond between Fantine and Cosette was small. In the Anime, Cosette shows a fair amount of love towards her mother, even after her death
- In the novel, Fantine pairs up with a lover named Félix Tholomyès (the biological father of Cosette), who eventually abandons her as a passing fling. In the Anime, when first meeting the Thénardiers, Fantine states that her "husband" had passed away. This could have easily been to cover up the actual story, however
- Fantine's illness is disclosed in the Anime, musical, and novel (however, in the novel, it is stated that Fantine dies of "consumption", a common term used for the symptons of the disease in question), but based on the symptoms, it is clear that it is Tuberculosis
- In the novel, Fantine's body is carelessly thrown into a public grave after Valjean's second arrest, while in the Anime, she has recived a proper burial, including a headstone