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Social Classes In Revolutional France In Les Miserable By Victor Hugo

3593 words - 14 pages

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo demonstrates the prevalence of social classes in revolutionary France. The protagonist Jean Valjean experiences numerous social injustices throughout his life but learns many valuable lessons in the process, which help Valjean become a better person and learn that being honest is very important. He learns that he cannot run away from the past but rather he should learn from it so he can lead a better life.
The book starts off with Valjean in a jail cell, and then he escapes. This is where he learns about the importance of honesty. Later on in the book Valjean becomes a father to Cosette he learns the importance of love and family. He realizes how much Cosette means to him and that he would do anything to protect her and give her a respectable life. Finally when Cosette marries Marius, Valjean has a complete family that loves him. As the book goes on Valjean realizes that stealing is not the way to get something, and he will never gain respect or love from anyone from doing so. Once he starts being honest good things start to happen. He finds a Cosette who is like a daughter to him and then realizes he should never commit another criminal act for the sake of his daughter. “Valjean comes to value his own existence more because the girl is dependent upon him and loves him” (Reeves 5). He was able to live a happy peaceful life once he was able to embrace his past and move forward and learn that what he did was wrong.
In Les Miserables by Victor Hugo Jean Valjean experiences social injustices, and learns the importance of love, honesty, and family which is illustrates through disguises, pseudonyms, and symbols.
In addition, Valjean is able to learn about the importance of love, honesty, and family with the use of pseudonyms. Also Hugo uses makes a connection with the theme of love, family, and honesty with the use of symbols. The important symbols mark a new beginning for Valjean. For example, the silver candle sticks marks the moment when he stops stealing and will lead an honest life from then. “It is your soul I am buying for you. Jean Valjean is transformed at that moment and the candlesticks are the means” (Novelguide). Ever since he started leading an honest life he started experiencing things like wealth, love, and the importance of family. He experiences wealth when he lives in Montreuil and opens his own factory. He is able to experience love and the importance of family when he decided to start taking care of Cosette. Jean Valjean changes his name when he runs away from the bishop and then moves to Montreuil where he opens his own factory. Valjean wants to change his name in an attempt to mask his past and move on with his life. He wants to pursue an honest life, and by changing his name no one will doubt him. Valjean wants to run away from the past so he takes up pseudonyms, but the antagonist Javert always finds about about his new name. This is when he realizes that changing his name cannot change him,...

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