Tous les gens miserable
(All the miserable people)
It’s hard to say who’s happy in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, but it’s not hard to point out the miserable. Even the title Les Miserables means “the miserable”, which is the theme of the novel. The lives that are most devastating in the town of M-sur-M would be Jean Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, and Eponine. These characters live everyday fighting to get through one-way or another, but it always seem there is a cloud of darkness and misery following them. Light might peak through but not for long, their lives either end content or unfinished and too early.
Jean Valjean is the creation of the society he lived in, both in terms of the suffering that led to him stealing a loaf of bread “A soul for a piece of bread. Misery makes the offer; society does” (Hugo p.187), and the unnecessary sentence he received as punishment for his "crime". He went into prison a simple and devoted brother and uncle, and left it filled with despair, hopelessness, bitterness and anger at the injustice of his treatment. Valjean had also become accustomed to doing whatever is necessary to survive and has little thought of other peoples values. For this, 24601 finds it difficult to give up his ways, he evens ends stealing from a kind Bishop who provided him shelter when nobody would accept him and is captured. After the Bishop frees him from the grasp of the police, Valjean gets his act together and builds a new life. Even though he promises to change, his life begins to become a lie as M. Madeleine, changing his name and starting a new life breaks his parole. This causes his parole officer, now promoted to the rank of inspector, Javert, to be on the lookout for him. M. Madeleine begins to get nervous and ends up fleeing before Javert could prosecute him. His life continues on the run and hiding even when he adopts Cosette as his daughter, he lives in solitude for 10 years while Cosette grows up. Monsieur Leblanc again fears the...
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