Les Amis de l'ABC

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Synonyms: Les Amis, The Friends of the ABC, The ABC Friends
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Les Amis de l'ABC is a revolutionary group from Les Misérables who meet at the Café Musain and the Corinth to discuss politics and plan for revolution. They are the focus of a great deal of Les Mis fanworks, despite most of them being minor characters in canon.

Canon

Les Amis de l'ABC is introduced in a chapter titled A Group Which Barely Missed Becoming Historic[1] as a secret Republican society, officially interested in the education of children, but in actuality interested in overthrowing the monarchy and re-establishing a French republic. The group consists mostly of students, but also of workers. The name of the group is a pun on the French word "abaissés", abased, rendering the Les Amis friends of the abased. It's unclear when exactly the group was formed, but as Marius is first introduced to them around 1828, it must have been earlier. This likely means that Les Amis took part in the July Revolution in 1830, though this is not mentioned. They do canonically take part in the June Rebellion of 1832, however, where a great number of them, including every named member, die.

Members

Marius Pontmercy is often included within the fannish definition of Les Amis, as are more obscure characters, such as Joly and Bossuet's shared mistress, Musichetta. In an effort to bring in more women, Éponine and Cosette may also be portrayed as members in some fanworks, particularly in Modern AU.

Fanon

  • The Café Musain is often portrayed as a modern coffee shop in Modern AU fanworks, with one or more of the characters working there (often Musichetta). The Corinth is somewhat less likely to make an appearance.
  • Due to Jean Prouvaire being the only member with a canonical first name, much has been made of the others' first names. A common crack fanon is that all of them are called Jean and this is why they only use surnames with each other.[2]

Relationship to Social Justice

Due to the large amount of overlap between Les Mis blogs and social justice blogs on Tumblr, Les Amis are often portrayed as similarly engaged in social justice in Modern AU. Sometimes they are outright portrayed as the sort of people others would label SJWs, though almost always in a postive light.

enjolras was a young sjw capable of being problematic[3]

Within this part of fandom, portraying Les Amis as a very diverse group, in terms of race, sexuality, gender, disability and similar, also became common up through the 10s. This is especially common in Modern AU, but appears in Canon Era works as well, with Bossuet's most common fanon appearance being a black man within either.

This attention to diversity in the group has led to a lot of discourse about which characters are portrayed as which identity and in which manner. A prominent example is the criticism of how Enjolras is often portrayed as white, even when the rest of Les Amis are depicted as racially diverse. Some fans pointed to this as a form of tokenism, where the less prominent characters are depicted as people of color, while the most prominent very rarely is. A factor in this discrepancy may also be that Enjolras is the only Amis who has a canon appearance. Indeed, many depictions of Enjolras as a PoC have him keep the blond hair so strongly associated with him within fandom.

In response to this discussion, a POC Enjolras Week was held by fans on Tumblr in 2015, from May 17th-23rd.

Other POC characters are of course welcome, but because Enjolras is a character so rarely depicted as non-white, the focus will be on Enjolras.[4]

References

  1. Volume III - Book Fourth: The Friends of the ABC, Chapter I A Group which barely missed becoming Historic, to be exact.
  2. greatbarrierwreath on Tumblr, 2016.
  3. a Modern AU rewrite of "Enjolras was a young man capable of being terrible", a popular line from the brick, 2016.
  4. POC Enjolras Week anouncement