Effects of Love in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo Essay

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The effects of love are different for each individual. Professor John Cacioppo discovered, “... love deprivation, unrequited love and loneliness have negative consequences on work performance and mental health...40 percent of people who are rejected in love experience depression” (A). Those who have happy childhood experiences filled with love, are more able to express their feelings of love to others. However, those whose childhood experiences lack the emotion of love, have difficulty showing any emotion to another. It is they who are sad, lonely, and depressed. In the novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, he illustrates the diverse reactions expressed because of love. Jean Valjean, Cosette, and Marius go through several experiences that…show more content…
Jean Valjean lives in absence of love. He has forgotten the jubilant feeling that occurs when he is loved and knows no different. He feels powerful affections for Cosette and needs nothing except her. She is his whole world and doesn't need or fear anything unless it involves her. In each of these cases, Jean Valjean experiences the sensation of happiness. Cosette is deprived of the love that she desires and deserves. She longs for love and instead receives the opposite. The Thenardiers do not care for Cosette and do not view her as their child, to them she is a servant girl. When Jean Valjean offers to take Cosette away from the Thenardiers, they reply, “Ah monsieur! My good monsieur! Take her, keep her, take her away, carry her off, sugar her, stuff her, drink her, eat her, and be blessed by the holy Virgin and all the saints in paradise!” (154). The Thenardiers want Cosette out of their house, and no longer want the responsibility of taking care of the “imbecile child” (147). It is a blessing to them that this traveler has come to take Cosette away forever. Because of Jean Valjean's good deed, Cosette's life can improve and she can finally experience the emotion of love she longs for. Although Jean Valjean offers Cosette all the love he is capable of giving, it is not enough to satisfy Cosette. She craves for a different, romantic love after she is introduced to Marius. Hugo,
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