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Les Miserables Metaphors

Decent Essays
Victor Hugo fills his pages of Les Miserables with dramatic, yet quirky, characters who each have their own complex separate lives but are all connected in one way or another. The author’s metaphors most commonly include a character’s comparison to an animal which aids the reader in understanding the intensity of the character’s traits. Hugo uses many metaphors to draw out the complex and unique personalities of his characters with Jean Valjean being described as an owl, Thenardier as a boa constrictor, and Javert as a tiger as well as a silent hound. To establish Jean Valjean’s nocturnal and wise attributes, Victor Hugo commonly compares Jean Valjean to an owl. Hugo begins this comparison with his chapter titled “A Nest for Owl and Wren” and continues the comparison with “Like birds of prey, he had chosen this lonely place to make his nest” (Hugo 121). The title connects Cosette to the wren and Jean Valjean to the owl which then applies to the quote by saying Jean Valjean has the wiseness of an owl when finding a home. Jean Valjean is in need of a secluded place being that he is an escaped convict, and he made the wise choice of living in a home that seemed abandoned. Being an escaped convict, “Jean Valjean was prudent enough never to go out in the daytime. Every evening, however, about twilight, he would walk for an hour or two…” (Hugo 125).…show more content…
Jean Valjean is made out to be an owl with his wise and nocturnal traits. Thenardier is a boa constrictor as he attempts to squeeze a man’s every last cent out of him. And lastly, Javert is described as a tiger who likes to pounce on anyone who goes against the law but is like a silent hound as he goes about doing so. Each character takes on a unique trait in it’s most intense and dramatic form that makes Hugo’s characters seem almost animal-like which helps to draw the reader into the
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