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Les Misérables Critical Essays

Literary Devices in Les Misérables

❶Cosette is loved and cared for. Works Cited Brosman, Catherine Savage.

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By the end of Victor Hugo was fully launched on a literary career, and for twenty years or more the story of his life is mainly the story of his literary output. Because of his successful drama Cormwell, the preface to which, with its note of defiance to literary convention, caused him to be definitely accepted as the head of the Romantic School of poetry.

The revolution of disturbed for a moment his literary activity, but as soon as things were quiet again he shut himself in his study with a bottle of ink, a pen, and an immense pile of paper. For six weeks he was never seen, except at dinner-time, and the result was: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame During the next ten years four volumes of poetry and four dramas were published in came his election to the Academy, and in he published Les Burgraves, a drama which was less successful than his former plays, and which marks the close of his career as a dramatist.

In the same year there came to him the greatest sorrow of his life. As Hugo grew older, his politics became increasingly leftist, and he was forced to flee France in because of his opposition to the monarch Louis Napoleon. Hugo remained in exile until , when he returned to his home country as a national hero. He continued to write until his death in He was buried with every conceivable honor in one of the grandest funerals in modern French history.

The Book — Les Miserable: Hugo began writing Les Miserables twenty years before its eventual publication in His goals in writing the novel were as lofty as the reputation it has subsequently acquired; Les Miserables is primarily a great humanitarian work that encourages compassion and hope in the face of adversity and injustice.

It is also, however, a historical novel of great scope and analysis, and it provides a detailed vision of nineteenth-century French politics and society. Driven by his commitment to reform and progress, Hugo wrote Les Miserables with nothing less than a literary and political revolution in mind.

Each of the three major characters in the novel symbolizes one of these predicaments: Jean Valjean represents the degradation of man in the proletariat, Fantine represents the subjection of women through hunger, and Cosette represents the atrophy of the child by darkness.

He works endlessly to compensate for his misdeeds in his view and shows himself little of the sympathy and understanding he is willing to bestow on others.

Javert, on the other hand, never perceives that silence. His world is defined by external values. He is a highly principled and well-intentioned officer of the law, but he is dogmatic and rigid in his thinking. In Machiavellian fashion Javert pursues his fugitive to satisfy the laws of the state. Machiavelli argued that to run a conquered state efficiently one must be practical rather than moral or ethical. He has total faith in the system or rules he represents, and by extension, total faith in himself.

Javert does not worry about the absurdity of life. When Valjean releases Javert at the barricades, Javert is forced to call into question his own judgment, and that of the whole of society. He sees that he may have been mistaken in his judgment of Valjean, but because his philosophy is based on application of rules rather than true justice, he sees no further way forward for himself; for him, it is a choice between believing in what is right, or believing in nothing. Valjean discovers the importance and value of love through his meeting with the Bishop and his relationship with Cosette through it could be argued it was through love that he was imprisoned in the first place.

Indeed, to show tolerance and understanding might even be considered a weakness when applying the law. John Stuart Mills states that the only justification in interfering with the liberty of action of any individual is self-protection.

Clearly Javert can find many more reasons than this. He may well represent the ancient regime and its divisive and authoritarian approach to government, based on the principles of the superiority of the ruling class who believed they had Devine authority to govern. Valjean, on the other hand, represents the Enlightenment movement which invited people to question the very existence of God, morality, and, therefore, the authority of those in power. It offered an alternative to traditional philosophical thought in the form of reason, and promoted compassion.

Fantine is known to both Valjean and Javert; Valjean feels responsible for her situation and is determined to help her as he feels he has contributed to her fall from grace by allowing her to be fired from the factory he owns , while Javert has also played a part in her degradation, by arresting her on flimsy grounds and insisting on imprisoning her for six months.

Once again the fundamental differences in the attitude between these two men bring them into conflict, yet both are doing what they consider to be the right and just thing. Valjean recognized his responsibility toward her and wants to act to alleviate her suffering, while Javert is interested in protecting society from what he sees as an irredeemable criminal.

He depends on his position and his rigid principles. The laws provide him with utilitarian guidelines. He has, in effect, lost faith in his own ideals and cannot accept an alternative based on nothing more than respect for fellow human beings. Toward the climax of the film, Javert finally captures Valjean, but instead of imprisoning him, he frees his captive and commits suicide.

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- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo Les Misèrables was written by Victor Hugo, and published in It has been translated into many different languages, and turned into a play and movie as when as being a .

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Set in 19th century France, it tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict, who is able to rebuild his life. Author Kathryn M. Grossman concludes, "Les Miserables is a work to which one can return time and time again without a sense of having exhausted the possibilities.

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To what extent does the description of Myriel’s background at the beginning of Les Misérables introduce us to the central themes of the novel? The novel begins with a brief biography of Myriel. We learn that he was forced into exile during the French Revolution and rose quickly to become the bishop of Digne upon his return to France. The literal meaning of les miserables is "the miserable ones." The characters are french and the book is centered around their lives. The time period is the early 's.

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Les Misérables - Essay Victor Hugo. Homework Help Les Miserables is a novel of great enough length that there are several different plot lines happening throughout the story following. Les Miserables essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.