Do you think that 'Ponine deserved the terrible life she had? Depressed, starving, stealing and wandering through the world without purpose half her life, and the other was spent chancing after Marius, who "Never saw her there". As she dies in the book (tome IV chapter 13 I think) , she is dying at the back barricade after sacrificing herself for Marius. A) Marius didn't even notice her sacrifice B) Marius didn't care for her sacrifice until he realised it was her C) she calls out to him from the grown and he doesn't recognise her voice. It's rather sad how Marius only cared about Eponine after she died. I guess he didn't know what he had until it was gone. Yes, she stole. Yes, she was partially responsible for Valjeans Capture by the thenardiers(closing chapters of tome 3 I think), but no, I don't think she needed a punishment in the slightest. Upon her death bed she let her burden go, and gave Marius the letter. Maybe she was trying to keep Marius and cosette apart, but she redeemed herself by giving up the letter, and with that, giving up her guilty heart. But what do you think?