The Marble Leader
Dominic Enjolras had been born into a very privileged and very royalist family. His father, Raoul Enjolras, held a rather high up position within the French government and his mother, Marie Enjolras, was a judge who had seen to it that many social activists served many years in prison for simply believing in equality in the classes and for disagreeing with the King. He had been raised to believe that he was better than most citizens of France simply because of the wealth and high social standing of the Enjolras family. Despite this, Dominic Enjolras formed very different ideals than those of his parents, as well as very different–in fact, opposite–political opinions. This naturally led to numerous conflicts with his parents, starting at the tender age of twelve. Even from such a young age, Enjolras could already see the many issues that the citizens–more specifically, the poor–of France faced on a daily basis. These issues could very easily be pinned on the King himself, who seemed not to care for the sufferings of the destitute. It outraged Enjolras beyond words for it was the King who the people should be able to look to for guidance; it was the King who should care the most about the people, such was his job! The King, who should have led the people to the light, had succeeded only in oppressing them. He was called the Bourgeois King for a reason. During his rule, classism grew more severe by the day and the poor stayed poor for the simple reason that they were poor.
As the years progressed, the arguments he held with his parents worsened and, more often than not, came to blows, with Enjolras always on the receiving end. Try as he may, Enjolras was never able to make them see the point he wanted to convey; what should it matter your dowry? A human being is a human being regardless. What separated him, a man born into wealth, from a gamin or a vagabond? Simply that he had been born into wealth. Was he deserving of his family's money? That was arguable; but the way he saw it was that he had never done anything to earn that money, while those who lived in the street struggled to find work and, when they did– if they did, laboured anyway they could to make a single euro. Surely, thought he, they deserved the money much more than he. His parents did not see it this way; his parents were always of the opinion that they, Enjolras included, were more important than anyone below them. But, Enjolras would argue, who were they to decide who was equal? Shouldn't all be considered to be fundamentally equal? Shouldn't everyone have the same rights? Each time he brought this up, his parents would look at him incredulously and Enjolras would know that the conversation was over.
At seventeen years old, Enjolras could not take it anymore and he moved out. He had moved in with Courfeyrac then, whose family had always been kind to him. Courfeyrac's ten year old sisters, identical twins, in particular seemed to approve of this and, for the first month or so, followed him around wherever he went. Courfeyrac's family wasn't rich, but they were still fairly well-off and definitely much more accepting of him than his own parents had been.
Enjolras attained employment not long after moving in with the Courfeyracs. He worked in a bookstore and he rather enjoyed it. Often, he would discuss at length this book or that book with customers who had read it or who were interested in reading it. It was with this employment that he earned enough money to move into his own apartment, which was considerably closer to the bookstore. When, one day, it was his own father who walked through the doors, he pretended not to know him. His father did the same. It was understood between them both that they were only connected in one way, which was by blood. The father did not want to be the father and the son did not want to be the son.
In university, his interest in politics and his outrage at the oppression and inequality that most of France experienced only grew. Moreover, in university, he found many who shared his views and who had formed the same ideals. This group, as we already know, came to be known as Les Amis de l'ABC. They shared a common goal: to liberate France and her people. This is what brought them together; their close friendship is what kept them together. One cannot possibly hope to have a successful revolt if one cannot trust those with whom they fight.
How did he come to be leader? How is it that the sun rises, that the bird flies, that the lovers embrace, that the Earth spins? Leadership came naturally to him and it became him very well. There was never any discussion of the matter; the decision was unanimous and immediate: he was the one to lead their group, to rally the people, to bring forth revolution. All had silently agreed upon this and none had questioned it. He was their leader and it could not be otherwise.
Within the group, Enjolras debated with all and argued with only one and that one's name was Grantaire, who went by R– another pun. Grantaire was the only one of the group who did not believe in the cause. Some–and this included Enjolras–might have said that he believed in nothing at all. This was not true, for he believed in exactly one thing; he believed in Enjolras. He idolised the man, whom he called Apollo. It was as if he saw in Enjolras some divinity and in meeting him he believed himself saved. He worshipped him! Enjolras, being as he was, never noticed for he did not understand, in many ways, how other people thought or felt. The only love he knew was for his country, how was he to understand the enamour that others felt for their significant others? How was he to understand–he who had never believed in any religion other than that of progress–what it was to worship another human being, to devote yourself to them so entirely? It was beyond his comprehension. So beyond him was it that he did not even notice it in others or, at least, he did not recognise it for what it was.
One last note. As we have seen already, Enjolras understood little of certain human emotions; but what he did understand and what he was quite adept at inspiring was hope. He believed more than anything that the state of affairs in France would improve and that the citizens of France would rise in revolution. So strong was this belief that little else seemed important; that is to say, the planning for this uprising consumed him and commanded most of his attention. He, at times, forgot to eat and he slept little. This worried Les Amis de l'ABC and it was then decided that Combeferre–whom Enjolras considered to be like a brother and who, in many ways, completed Enjolras–would move in with Enjolras to see to it that the marble leader did not crumble.