Crime and Punishment- Les Mis

Topics: Les Misérables, Criminal justice, Crime Pages: 2 (524 words) Published: March 5, 2012
Crime and Punishment Essay
In the novel Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, Jean Valjean is released from a French prison in the Galleys. He travels to a town and is rejected from any inn so he finds a bishop and he turns his life around. Years later he becomes M. Madeleine and becomes town mayor. He gives money and jobs and made the town a very prosperous town. He also promises Fantine that he will rescue her daughter, Cosette, from a cruel family that Fantine gave Cosette to so that Cosette could have a better life. Jean Valjean is an ex-convict who got 5 years for stealing bread for his family and then 14 years for trying to escape multiple times. Jail has changed Jean Valjean from a sweet humble man to a bitter, sinful, mean man.

Crime and punishment of this time is harsh and unjust. “It barley punishes the worst criminals but tears apart the lives of people who commit petty crimes” (SparkNotes Editors, 2002). An example of this is when Jean Valjean steals bread for his family. Stealing bread is a very petty crime and Jean Valjean is sent to a prison in the Galleys for 5 years but he ends up getting 14 years for trying to escape, so a total of 19 years for stealing bread. I believe most would agree with me that the French law enforcement is completely outrageous and unjust and unfair. Law enforcement should be more humane.

Victor Hugo is trying to convey that the justice system in France in this time period is unjust and not fair. Worst criminals get less time compared to what they did such as murder, but people who commit petty crimes get way too much time compared to their crimes. Jean Valjean got 5 years for stealing bread and 14 for trying to escape. Long term effects of punishment can be a change in a person. When Jean Valjean went into jail he was a sweet humble man but when he got out of jail he was a mean bitter man. Sometimes when people have been in jail for a while they get out of jail and it is too hard to get their life on track. People...
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