Sacrifice in Les Miserables

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India Lewis Greenwell AP English 30 October 2013 Les Miserables: The Significance of Sacrifice Sacrifice is a prominent part of human living. In order to get what is needed or wanted, sacrifice is necessary, whether it is small or great. In the novel, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, he shows that in society, those with less must often sacrifice more. Hugo conveys sacrifice through the characters Fantine and Jean Valjean, by showing how they sacrifice in order to gain and also how their poverty makes their sacrifice even greater. Poverty pushes Fantine to make sacrifices throughout the book. She is forced to sacrifice raising her child, Cosette, and leaving her to strangers, because poverty has left her no means to take care of…show more content…
From the moment on he dedicated his life solely to her, to protecting her from the sorrows of poverty. From that moment he could no longer be Jean Valjean, or Monsieur Madeleine, he had to start his life over once again and Cosette was all he had in it. He sacrificed in order to gain self-approval and the ability to forgive himself. Jean Valjean went through the ultimate self-sacrifice, giving up everything he had in life, which was Cosette; he decided to give her to her lover Marius. He had watched and knew that Marius was in love with her. He found him at the barricades and saved him. “Jean Valjean, in the thick cloud of combat, did not appear to see Marius; the fact is that he did not take his eyes from him. When a shot struck down Marius, Jean Valjean bounded with the agility of a tiger, dropped upon him as a prey, and carried him away” (Hugo 389). He saved Marius so he could save Cosette; he rid himself of his protective bond for her benefit. He sacrificed what he wanted most, to give her what she needed. Although he had never experienced a happy life, and no one ever sacrificed for him, he sacrificed his well-being, money and heart to keep a promise. Sacrifice is seen throughout the Les Miserables, because it is a prominent part of human living. Sacrifice is greater in those who have less. Hugo conveys sacrifice through the characters Jean Valjean and Fantine, showing how they sacrificed in order to gain a better life, self-forgiveness
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