Poor Eponine! Imagine living with the likes of the Thenardiers as parents. Godless swindlers, thieves and liars, who raised two young girls. One was destined for rescue, for a new life with one who would love her as life itself. The other would live in this festering situation her entire life. Now, I ask you...
Is this fair?
From a human perspective, no. Of course not. But, in the scheme of things, yes, because, as we have discovered many times while reading biographies of great men and women, that:
Great Trials make great men and women. Trials build character.
We can see this in play, as it is very obvious Eponine has very little of her parents character. She is caring, friendly, and honest (she wouldn't take money from Marius), although it would appear she has a little more than a passing acquaintance with the university students in town. She was forced to live a wanton existence as an accomplice in her parent's "business".
Have you found hard times to be an avenue for character building? Can you give an example of someone in history that shone because of hard times?