Poverty In Les Miserables Essay

Poverty In Les Miserables Essay-5
In Les Misérables, Hugo asserts that love and compassion are the most important gifts one person can give another and that always displaying these qualities should be the most important goal in life.Valjean’s transformation from a hate-filled and hardened criminal into a well-respected philanthropist epitomizes Hugo’s emphasis on love, for it is only by learning to love others that Valjean is able to improve himself.He conveys much of his message through the character of Fantine, a symbol for the many good but impoverished women driven to despair and death by a cruel society.

In Les Misérables, Hugo asserts that love and compassion are the most important gifts one person can give another and that always displaying these qualities should be the most important goal in life.Valjean’s transformation from a hate-filled and hardened criminal into a well-respected philanthropist epitomizes Hugo’s emphasis on love, for it is only by learning to love others that Valjean is able to improve himself.He conveys much of his message through the character of Fantine, a symbol for the many good but impoverished women driven to despair and death by a cruel society.

The character of Valjean reveals how the French criminal-justice system transforms a simple bread thief into a career criminal.

The only effect of Valjean’s nineteen years of mistreatment on the chain gang is that he becomes sneaky and vicious—a sharp contrast to the effect of Myriel’s kindness, which sets Valjean on the right path almost overnight.

where this isn’t so: in 2016, not one but two Asian actors starred in the London production (Lea Salonga and Eva Noblezada as Fantine and Éponine).

In 2008, Cornell John, a black actor, played Javert, Ramin Karimloo and Kyle Jena-Baptise have played Valjean, neither of them being, you guessed it, white. Even if this wasn’t the theatre, where humans literally dress up as cats, dancing furniture, and cancer cells, suspend your disbelief no longer: Alexandre Dumas, Chevalier de Saint-Georges and Raden Saleh were all successful, well-educated contemporaries of Victor Hugo, as well as being people of colour in their spare time.“So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom, decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth, […] so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Misérables cannot fail to be of use.”It’s often quoted by those of us attempting to cajole unwilling people into reading the novel because of how ‘relatable’ it is. Take a look around us and we see the very things that entice and move us about the musical: women’s bodies policed by the men in power, the school-to-prison pipeline for those of a certain social class, groups of students fighting (often dying) for human rights, and the law straining at its seams, tied between what is lawful, and what is just.

Similarly, the battle at the barricade is both heroic and futile—a few soldiers are killed, but the insurgents are slaughtered without achieving anything.

The revolution that Hugo champions is a moral one, in which the old system of greed and corruption is replaced by one of compassion.In Hugo’s novel, love and compassion are nearly infectious, passed on from one person to another. Myriel transforms Valjean with acts of trust and affection, Valjean, in turn, is able to impart this compassion to Cosette, rescuing her from the corrupting cruelty of the Thénardiers.Cosette’s love then reaches fulfillment through her marriage to Marius, and their love for each other leads them both to forgive Valjean for his criminal past.In the character of Fantine, Hugo demonstrates the hypocrisy of a society that fails to educate girls and ostracizes women such as Fantine while encouraging the behavior of men such as Tholomyès .Hugo casts an even more critical eye on law enforcement.Although both Napoléon and the students at the barricade come closer to espousing these values than the French monarchs do, these are not values than can be imposed through violence.Indeed, Hugo shows that Napoléon and the students at the barricades topple as easily as the monarchy.In Les Misérables, Hugo traces the social impact of the numerous revolutions, insurrections, and executions that took place in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century France.By chronicling the rise and fall of Napoléon as well as the restoration and subsequent decline of the Bourbon monarchy, Hugo gives us a sense of the perpetual uncertainty that political events imposed upon daily life.Though Hugo’s sympathies are with republican movements rather than with the monarchy, he criticizes all of the regimes since the French Revolution of 1789 for their inability to deal effectively with social injustice or eliminate France’s rigid class system.Hugo describes the Battle of Waterloo, for instance, in glowing terms, but reminds us that at the end of the glorious battle, the old blights of society, like the grave robbers, still remain.

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