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Les Miserables Essay

888 words - 4 pages

The book Les Miserables, By Victor Hugo, is the story of the transformation of the man named Jean Valjean from evil to good. The book begins when Valjean has just been released from prison after nineteen years of doing time, and is wandering the streets of France, his mind filled with evil, hateful thoughts. Then, Valjean is introduced to God, and becomes a good, God-fearing man. The book is about how he creates a new name and a new life for himself, but then sacrifices his freedom to save a man who has been accused of being him and faces the penalty of a life in prison in prison as a result. Throughout the book, the author uses a unique structure of writing to help the reader understand that Valjean has indeed changed from bad to good. He uses long paragraphs containing long compound sentences followed by short paragraphs containing one single short, blunt sentence to do so. By doing this, he helps the reader to relate to Valjean on a deep, emotional level. Because of this relation between the character and the reader, the reader can see that he is able to go from bad to good.

One part of the book where the author uses this unique sentence structure to help the reader relate to Valjean's emotions is when Valjean is trying to decide whether to turn himself in or not. In this moment, the selfishness of Valjean's past clashes with the selflessness of his relationship with God. He wants more than anything to escape going back to jail, but knows that it is the right thing to do. He has an internal battle with himself in this moment, and the long compound sentence paragraph followed by the short blunt sentence paragraph describe the way his mind is thinking in a unique way that helps the reader relate to the character emotionally. The long paragraph uses the compound sentences to show how frantic Valjean is. With the ranting nature of the long compound sentences, the reader sees that the decision to suffer in jail and the decision to make an innocent man suffer for him both disgust him, and that having to make the choice between the two is making him insane. The short, blunt sentence following this rant makes the reader stop and think, analyzing everything that was just said, and interpret it all for themselves. Together, the effect it produces is that the reader gains a deep and personal understanding of the character's emotions, which are that he is in deep agony over the decision. This helps the reader follow the ultimate purpose of the book, which...

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