Jean Valjean sacrificed much as he sought redemption. One of the first sacrifices that Jean Valjean makes is that of his identity, during the Champmathieu affair. As Monsieur Madeleine, Jean Valjean was a trusted official in a high position. He struggled with himself when he heard that the ‘real’ Jean Valjean had been caught: should he stay in M—sur m—where he was comfortable and popular, or do the right thing, remove a man from an undeserved galley life, and become a convict once more. When Madeleine revealed himself as Jean Valjean, he forever gave up that comfortable position of authority. He became a convict again – a wanted convict. He would now live out the rest of his life hiding, of not running, from the police. Jean sacrificed his safety. Saving Marius’ life by carrying him through the sewers also proved to be a sacrifice. Jean’s entire existence revolved around Cosette. She was what kept him on the track the bishop set him on. He adored her. He was devastated to learn that she was in love with Marius, yet he saved
In the middle of the book, Jean Valjean has saved a young girl named Cosette and raised her as his daughter after her mother died. These actions also have a redeeming effect on Jean Valjean, as he put his promise to the girl’s mother before his own safety and escaped from another bout in prison to find the young girl. Jean Valjean does not think this redeems him, however. He is very suspicious and changes their names to hide from the law enforcement. He also became very suspicious and cagey when a young man, Marius, became interested in Cosette. In Marius’s words, he “ began to be less punctual, and did not bring ‘his daughter’ every day” (168). After some time, he and Cosette move away so Marius cannot find them. Jean Valjean thinks he is
Everyone needs someone to love and care for as well as someone who can return that love and care. When Cosette comes into Valjean’s life, it makes him feel something he didn’t feel in a long time, “When he saw Cosette, when he had taken her, carried her away, and rescued her, he felt his heart move” (123). At this point, she becomes more than just a girl but another symbol in Valjean’s
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.
During his eight years in hiding, Valjean became a wealthy factory owner and the mayor of a town called Montreuil-sur-Mer. A worker in Valjean’s factory named Fantine, has her secret of sending money to the Thénardiers, the caretakers of her child, Cosette, exposed, and is fired from her job. Fantine, left with no other options, resorts to prostitution to support Cosette. During an altercation with an abusive customer, now police inspector, Javert, arrests Fantine, but Valjean stops him, and takes Fantine to a hospital where she is diagnosed with a terminal case of tuberculosis. While at the hospital, Valjean learns that a man suspected to be the missing prisoner himself, is put on trial for a crime he
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,
His devotion to the law goes past mere morals, rivalling the revolutionary leader Enjolras’ devotion to the Revolution - like Enjolras, he does not take a wife or have children. By giving Valjean a child but not Javert, Hugo enforces the idea that love is higher than law. He spends a decent amount of time tracking down Valjean to bring him back into custody; in this time, a second offense would result in death. Javert’s turning point comes during and immediately after the insurrection of June 5-6, 1832. Javert is captured by the student revolutionaries, who wish to spare him until the moment that one of their friends, Jehan Prouvaire, is shot by the National Guard. Enjolras turns to Javert and says, “Your friends have just shot you,” sealing his fate. Javert fully expects to be killed at the barricades, and even more so when Valjean himself arrives to save Marius Pontmercy, the young man who is courting his daughter. As payment for saving the barricade, Enjolras allows Valjean to shoot Javert himself. Valjean not only lets Javert go, but tells Javert his address and says, “I do not think I shall escape from this place. But if by chance, I do, I live under the name of Fauchelevent, in the Rue de l’Homme arm, No. 7.” Valjean knows to be an honest man he must not kill, and he must be truthful, and he does exactly this. When Javert finds him as Valjean emerges from the sewers with Marius after the fall of the barricades, Valjean still acts courteous to Javert, requesting to help save Marius’ life before turning himself in. Javert accompanies Valjean to Marius’ house, and then to Valjean’s home, before disappearing. After these events, Hugo describes Javert as his whole demeanor changing; “his whole person, slow and sombre, was stamped with anxiety.” The guilt of being shown compassion by a man who should have every reason to oppose Javert is too
Cosette is abused while staying with the Thendardiers, and she needs someone to redeem her from her life in poverty. The Thénardiers treat Cosette as an object even though Fantine pays on behalf of Cosette. Before Fantine, Cosettes mother, dies; Jean Valjean promises to get Cosette. Jean Valjean pays for Cosette, and he does not realize that he redeems her from abuse, poverty, and suffering. Cosette goes with Jean Valjean, receiving redemption through him, because she could not have it on her own.
The tone of the passage is "troubled," which diction, syntax, and imagery create. The author, Victor Hugo, uses melancholy words, like intolerable, somber, and trembling, to describe what Jean Valjean is going through and his confusion. Creating a fluid idea of uncertainty, the word choice adds to the tone by varying connotation. In one sentence, the author describes painful glimpses, but in the next, glimpses of light are vivid. Along with diction, Hugo uses syntax to create his hesitant tone. The sentences in this passage are complex, leading one to think that Valjean’s mind is rambling, filled with thoughts and uncertainty. Using imagery, a way to paint a picture with words, the author describes settings and events in this passage. Working
I agree with the statement that in the novel Les Miserables, the author Victor Hugo is trying to say that human nature is basically good. In the most basic sense, the definition of good trying to do the right thing, even if there are negative consequences. It often means having to sacrifice and give up something to do the right thing. Throughout the book, many characters sacrifice their happiness and morals in order to do what they believe is the right and fair thing. Even when faced with serious consequences for being honest, characters more often than not still choose to do the right thing. Some may argue that Victor Hugo is saying that human nature is basically evil because some characters commit evil actions. However, in most cases, characters don’t always have evil intentions, their execution is just poor and makes them seem evil. Everyone thinks of themselves as a hero, almost everything a character does is because that’s what they believe is the right thing to do. Whether or not it really is could be up for debate but for the most part, most characters don’t have evil intentions and attempt to usually do the right thing. Victor Hugo is saying that as a whole, human nature is inherently good.
In his novel Hugo addresses the need for social reform and change in the crumbling and corrupt streets of French society. He specifically emphasizes improvement in education, the justice system, and the attitude of society towards women, and their political impact on French culture. Hugo does this particularly through Fantine, a woman who resorts to prostitution after being dismissed from her job as a factory worker; in addition to the existence of her illegitimate daughter, Cosette, her blemished reputation disables her from working in another reputable place. Because of Fantine’s shortage of an education and of society’s negative view of women abused by noble men, she is representative of the social injustices against women during this time. She’s illustrative of the gulf in France’s hierarchical system. Her condemnation to a life as a prostitute after being used by an aristocratic man highlights the social shortcomings present in the nobility’s attitude towards the lower classes, which continued to suffer. The misfortune that falls on Jean Valjean, an innocent man who only stole bread to help his dying sister, also represents the crookedness of France’s justice system. Valjean is likened to a habitual criminal and thrown in jail for nineteen years, an absurd sentence for only a loaf of bread. What’s worse is that he’s
"It is precisely of him that I wished to speak. Dispose of me as you please; but help me first to carry him home. I only ask that of you." Upon examination of Les Miserables, it is clearly evident that the elements of Forgiveness, Self Sacrifice, and Courage are only a few of the main themes Hugo wanted to develop.
Napoleon Bonaparte was one great influence on Victor Hugo that impacted Les Misérables. Within the novel, Hugo creates a symbolic parallelism between Valjean and Napoleon (Bloom 204). Victor Brombert writes “...[Valjean] returns from the Touban galleys, in October 1815, by moving north through Digne and Grenoble. It is the same road that Napoleon had taken on his short-lived return to power from the island of Elba seven months earlier” (204). Brombert references the novel itself: “...the same road by which, seven months before, the Emperor Napoleon went from Cannes to Paris.” Another parallel lies
Hugo includes love in his novel to express the different types and meanings of true love. Marius waits to see Cossette and she does not show up. After going to the garden and realizing Cossette is not there, Marius was devastated. "He sat down upon the steps, his heart full of tenderness and resolution, he blessed his love in the depths of his thought, and he said to himself that since Cosette was gone, there was nothing more for him but to die" (274 Hugo). Marius' love for Cossette is so strong that without her he is incomplete. Cossette often received the short end of the stick while growing up with Eponine and the Thenardiers; however, this is not the case when it comes to winning over Marius' love. Hugo uses Marius to show two completely different kinds of love in his novel; one with Cossette, and the other with Eponine. Eponine lives a very different life as her parents, the Thenardiers, are not the best role models for her. Even though she grows up in a tough situation, she still knows how to love. Eponine falls in love with Marius, however the feeling is not mutual. When Marius finds Eponine on the ground during the battle at the barricades, he shares love with her as her life comes to an end. He does not have the same love for Eponine as he does for Cossette. After revealing two gunshot wounds to Marius, Eponine asks him to stay until her life ends. As soon as
The song decribes Valjean’s need to rescue Cosette, saying, “There is none but me who can intercede.” As in the book, he has given his word to Fantine to find the girl. He pleads with Javert to let him go. In the book, Javert ignores this request and takes Valjean back to the galley, where he later escapes by pretending to drown. However, in the movie, Valjean foils Javert’s attempt to arrest