However, he's barely arrived by Fantine's bedside when Javert wrathfully confronts him. In 1871, when Hugo was living in Brussels during the radical revolt known as the Paris Commune, anti-revolutionary mobs attacked his house and broke windows shouting "Down with Jean Valjean! Marius sees through Thénardier's disguise and, in an attempt to show Marius something that he does not already know, Thénardier shows newspaper clippings proving that M. Madeleine and Jean Valjean are the same person, and that Javert committed suicide. However, the priest claims there was a mistake, claiming he gave forty sous to Valjean and gives Petit Gervais an identical forty sou coin. Due to his love and responsibility for Cosette and the fact that he's technically on the run from the law, Valjean developed paranoia regarding any type of law enforcement around him--rather well-deserved, since Javert's among them--which makes him skittish in company and something of a recluse. Mme. During this whole part, Valjean and Cosette are unnamed, as the action is seen from Marius Pontmercy's point of view. He takes Cosette to the house in the Rue de l'Homme-Armé. Valjean asks permission to return home to say goodbye to Cosette and Javert agrees, saying that he will wait out front. it turned out that this was the convent where Fauchelevent worked, who wanted to return the favor and save Valjean's life this time.

After this, Valjean's previously habitual visits to Cosette at Marius' grandfather's house become shorter and shorter, until he ceases to visit at all, having become bedridden with loss of will to live. Valjean and police Inspector Javert, who repeatedly encounters Valjean and attempts to return him to prison, have become archetypes in literary culture. He dies content, under the light of the Bishop's candlesticks, and it is stated that an angel awaits to carry his soul to Heaven. As an employer he has a clear idea of what he owes to his employees, and more than makes up for his failings in the case of Fantine, once he finds out about them.

Valjean asks for three days to get Cosette from Montfermeil and give her to Fantine before he is arrested and Javert refuses, saying that it would be too easy for Valjean to escape. He becomes kind, a devoted father-figure to a girl, Cosette, who loses her mother, and a benefactor to those in need. They are described only as a father and daughter, whom Marius notices on his daily walks in the Jardin du Luxembourg. That night, Valjean has a terrific struggle within himself, but finally decides to go to the trial and reveal his identity in order to free Champmathieu (for, if he gave himself up, who would care for Fantine or rescue Cosette?).

Valjean's story depicts his struggles to live a good life in God's name following a prison sentence for stealing bread for his destitute family.