Justice and Love in Hugo's Les Misérables

1971 WordsJun 16, 20188 Pages
The nineteenth century was an era distinguished by invention, progress, and social change. Countries were busy healing from previous wars while fighting ongoing battles at the same time. Nationalism and militarism became extremely evident around the world as advances in science and exploration propelled new discoveries. Significant movements, such as Romanticism and the Industrial Revolution, stemmed in Europe and swept the masses, spreading widely across nations. The rapid growth of the British Empire, alongside the calamitous fall of the French Empire, marked the beginning of the eventful nineteenth century. Years after the French Revolution, the French Empire was defeated in the Napoleonic wars, resulting in a broken union full of…show more content…
Under the Declaration of Rights, the foreman's action of discriminating Valjean would be legally protected because distinction based on virtue is permitted. However, the Declaration completely disregards the fact that Valjean was imprisoned for something he did in a hopeless situation. The society turned innocent people into hardened criminals because of their status. In Les Misérables, Hugo focuses on society's mistreatment of Valjean in order to show how society in nineteenth century France was defective because it took no notice of the morality of inevitable crime. By incorporating an accurate historical figure into his novel, Hugo highlights the idea that even in miserable conditions, life can be changed through perseverance and effort. In Les Misérables, Jean Valjean escapes his dark criminal past and uses his knowledge of industry to start a successful factory. Years later, he becomes the mayor and is "rumored to have 'immense' sums deposited with Laffitte, with the special condition that they were always at his immediate command" (Hugo 55). Hugo places Jacques Laffitte, a real banker from French history, into his novel to interact with the transformed Valjean. Laffitte, a successful banker and politician, rose
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