When we hear the word “Romanticism”, there are words flashing in our minds. We used to relate it to romantic imaginations, freedom, anti-civilization, idealism and other positive aspects of our lives. Romanticism was an artistic, literary movement that originated from Europe. It expresses strong emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience. Based on my research, Victor Hugo, a French writer known for his novel Les Miserables, is also related to romanticism. He associated himself to Romantic Movement while it is still starting off and remained faithful to the Romantic Cause. Does his novel Les Miserables is an example of romanticism in art? What are specific examples that express romantic elements or qualities? Les Miserables means “The miserable ones”. Hugo believed that: "Every man who writes, writes a book; this book is himself. Whether he knows it or not, whether he wishes it or not, it is true. From every body of work, whatever it may be, wretched or illustrious, there emerges a persona, that of the writer. It is his punishment, if he is petty; it is his reward, if he is great". He thinks of himself to be “great”. It can be seen in the character of Marius Pontemercy in the novel. He used letters in showing the sincerity of his love to Cosette just like Hugo that reveals himself in everything that he writes. He disagrees the way of treatment for the poor and the corruption in the French Government which is seen in the novel but in a different manner. He seeks compassion for the poor and reform for the prisons by creating characters that touched the hearts of his readers, and which challenged them to think and encouraged them to change. I have read in Robert Schwartz site that Hugo used audience sympathy so that they can be challenged to question the social injustice in that time. The audience was warmed by the fire of sacrifice and virtue of his characters. We are moved and touched with the heroism of Gavroch, the miserable life of...
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