Victor Hugo's target was to write a historical novel. This is expressed through the way the novel is affected by the French Revolution. Forgiveness, a repetitive theme in many novels took place in the beginning of Les Miserables when the bishop M. Myriel forgave Jean Valjean for stealing his silver, so that he could have another chance at life.
Secondly, sacrifice is shown by Jean Valjean in many events through out the novel, but the most surprising is when he saves his taken-in daughter's lover's life. This is surprising because he feared of losing Cosette, his daughter to her lover. Lastly, courage is shown by Valjean when most others wouldn't care to help or assist. For example when a man gets stuck on a rope on top of a ship, Valjean is the only one to help him and also turns out to help in his own escape.
In Les Miserables you can easily identify the author's tone. Through the characters, Jean Valjean and Fantine you can see Victor Hugo's criticism of society.
He blames society for the continuation of Fantine's dilemmas. For example, even though selling one's hair and teeth and becoming a prostitute are repulsive actions, society is a willing buyer. A main theme, the French Revolution showed Hugo's political interest and beliefs. Another point the author tried to make across was the failure of the French criminal justice system. In Jean Valjean's case there is "greater abuse in the penalty than in the crime." In the first section of the novel, Hugo questions reform. Valjean's nineteen years in prison only made him more dangerous than before he was put in. However, Hugo showed that there can be rehabilitation through