Religion 3, Period 6
22 February 2015
Jean Valjean Jean Valjean begins the story as an ex-convict who violated the eighth commandment, thou shall not steal, when he was younger and is now seeking shelter. Luckily, a kind bishop takes him in and also saves him from imprisonment when he steals the silver. Stealing from a man that has help Valjean, shows that Valjean isn’t a thankful and grateful character at the beginning of his long development.
After skipping over ten years into Valjean’s future, he is a wealthy mayor and factory owner. As the story advances into the future, Valjean makes several choices that are breathtaking. For example, after the inspector has suspicions about the actual Valjean, he reports that the French have found who they thought was Jean Valjean. Instead of letting the hopeless and dim-minded man who was accused to be Valjean take the blame, Valjean steps in to prove that he is the one that they want. This is showing that Valjean is respecting the ninth commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” In respecting this commandment, Valjean is in a right relationship with God, according to natural law. A scripture passage that explains this states, “Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked” (Exodus 23:1-2, 6-8). This is very similar to the situation Valjean faces in that it talks of not killing the innocent, like how the accused prisoner was the innocent and did not deserve to be accused for another person.
Another challenge Valjean faces is when he is given the option to kill his pursuer without any witnesses, but chooses to let him free. This displays how Valjean puts aside what his pursuer has made him go through to put him back in jail. This can be categorized under Kohlberg’s fifth stage of development in that Valjean knows that letting the inspector live is the right thing to do and therefore does not kill him.