Both St. Francis and St. Albert offer a strong understanding of what charity mean. Likewise so do Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo. In Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, love presents itself as the underlying leitmotif. Through the life-changing exchange between Bienvenu and Valjean, to Syndey Carton willingly giving his life in place of Darnay, all the way to Lucy Manette and Valjean saving lives of others through their selflessness, Hugo and Dickens deliver the true meaning of love.
Light symbolizes Godliness and honestly throughout both novels. This light, first presents itself atop the Bishop Bienvenu, allocating a certain angelic appeal. “On his forehead rested the indescribable reflection of an unseen light“ (Hugo 101) His appearance as an angel advocates Bienvenu as the saving grace to Jean Valjean. Consequently when Jean Valjean became an honest man, this light spread from the Bishop to Valjean. This dispersion of light occurred throughout his life, but most prominently appeared when Valjean laid on his deathbed. Glimmering his face, “the light from the candlesticks fell across him; his white face looked up toward heaven.” (Hugo 1462) This light symbolizes his change of heart and turn from thievery to righteousness. Also the light from the “candlesticks” correlates back to the occurrence of Valjean stealing the candlesticks from Bienvenu. Formerly the candlesticks symbolized Valjean’s struggle toward righteousness, at the end however they symbolized his changed heart. The candlesticks illuminate his face now, juxtaposition to them hiding his face before. In hiding his face, they depicted his impiety, now however they expose their light, illuminating his righteousness. Lucy Manette also depicts this light. When Lucy first found her father—Doctor Manette—darkness clouded him. On account of the absence of happiness in his life “darkness had fallen on him” (Dickens 42) but in turning her “full to the light” (Dickens 45) Lucy swept away Doctor Manette’s darkness. Love “had passed like a moving light from him to her.” (Dickens 43) The passing of light between Lucy and her father resembles the switching of light/righteousness from the Bishop to Valjean, representing love in all of illumination. Since Bienvenu first loved Valjean, Valjean then took that love and began to love others. Thus in the end Valjean gained the light in his life. Similarly Lucy showed loved to her father, taking away his darkness and giving him the light. Thus with light representing love, both Bienvenu and Valjean shared the light, equivalently to Lucy and Doctor Manette.
In comparing the two novels, a distinct parallelism of characters presents itself. The opening sentence from Charles Dickens novel juxtaposes various phrases, using anaphora to depict how love and hatred thrived in individual ways throughout that era.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was...