She had her elbow on her knee and her chin in her hand, and she was swinging her foot with an air of indifference. Her dress was full of holes, and showed her sharp shoulder-blades. The neighbouring lamp lit up her profile and her attitude. Nothing could be more resolute or more surprising.
Eponine lives in a small town, it might be just outside of Paris but it’s still a small town and people in small towns aren’t always the most accepting. Most of them aren’t outright homophobic, they wouldn’t exactly say anything but the disdainful looks and the mantra of ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ are enough. Eponine quickly learns to hide who she is, she hates it but she does it because it keeps her safe. She hides behind black clothes and eyeliner and keeps her eyes on the ground.
But when she leaves her small town life to go to university in Paris. And Paris is a completely different world. Paris is full of colour and people that love each other regardless of what society thinks.
The first time Eponine sees two girls holding hands walking down the street, she doesn’t know where to look. Is she allowed to look? she thinks, or is she supposed to look away pointedly?
She finds herself staring, unable to take her eyes off of them. And they stare back, she smiles softly to try to show them that she knows and that she gets it.
Eponine meets Les Amis, a group of people so free and happy in their sexuality and gender identity. And for the first time ever she doesn’t have to hide. She can be free and open and can easily talk about how beautiful girls are without worrying about who’s around.
Eponine Appreciation Week starts right now! She’s potentially the most badly misinterpreted and least-understood character in Les Mis, often painted as a sad, lovelorn princess whose story revolves around a man, or else as a “crazy, creepy stalker,” rather than as the street-smart, selfish, recklessly brave teenage girl she is. This week would be a great time to appreciate her for her complexities and to better understand them, too. So make sure to spread the word and the love!
I think my favorite lyric would be when she sings “Without him/I feel his arms around me/And when I loose my way I close my eyes/ and he has found me,” probably because as a teenage girl, who has let her emotions and fantasies get away from her, I know that feeling of imagining what it could be like to have that one certain person all to yourself.
I used to have these really vivid dreams about this guy when I was in junior high. He moved at the end of eighth grade and in AZ junior high goes until ninth, so all through eighth and ninth grade I was totally pining for him. I would listen to Jesse’s Girl and change the chorus to “I wish that I was Jesse’s girl,” (his name was Jesse), and I would just sit around miserably, and I wouldn’t listen to anything but sad Sheryl Crow and John Mayer for like, a year. I felt like I was the star of some unfortunate tradgedy, and I thought that that was what Jane Bennet must have felt like when Mr. Bingley moved away in Pride and Prejudice.
I never saw the kid again. I moved on. And I don’t even think about the kid. Except for this song. This song makes me remember how it felt to only be able to imagine him being mine.
I never managed to participate in Éponine appreciation week. (: She´s not my favorite character but still!
So some of my thoughts:
1. I like A little fall of rain, Eponine´s errand and On my own, especially when the last one is the Original London Cast version with “I don´t need your money, sir” line performed by oddly soulful - although not vocally best - Frances Ruffelle
2. However, the Brick makes better job to show her tragedy - how lonely, hungry, cold, unhappy and possibly mentally ill she is. In the musical she has at least Marius´ friendship.
3. I think 2012 film is badly directed and photographed, with miscast main characters and botched less-is-more musical direction, but Samantha Barks as Éponine was one of the bright spots.