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Book Review: Les Misrables by Victor Hugo.

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BOOK REVIEW: Les Misérables. Victor Hugo. New York: Modern Library, 1992. 1260 pages. Les Misérables is a novel written by Victor Hugo, a well-known writer. It was first published during the early 1860s, in France, yet its popularity still remains strong. Although this work of fiction speaks of the Paris uprising hundreds of years ago, the theme of good and evil, laws and beliefs in the novel is still relevant to the current time. One can clearly see Victor Hugo depicting the struggle which many had to face during the uprising in Paris within this novel – this was probably the images which the author wishes to deliver to his readers. This story is set in France during the early years of the 19th centuries (roughly from 1815 to 1835). During that period, the laws were strict, one of those who suffered from this was Jean Valjean. Jean Valjean was convicted 5 long years for breaking a window and stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister and nephews. His years of imprisonment had lengthened to 19 years as he attempted to escape a number of times. ...read more.


During that time, a man who was thought be Jean Valjean was arrested. Seeing the situation, Monsieur Madeline had confessed and showed his true identity. As a result, Javert had then arrested Jean Valjean in front of Fantine and taken aback by the truth and her suffering health, she drew her last breath. Jean Valjean managed to escape and find Fantine’s daughter, who then was at the age of 8. He immediately took Cossette under his care despites the Thénardier’s disapproval as they wanted more money. However wonderful the situation seemed to have turned out, Jean Valjean continued to live his life in hiding with Cossette. Only in the last moment in his life, did Jean Valjean saw a glimpse of happiness. The goal of this novel is to portray the good and evil nature in human and most importantly, the struggles which many had in their lives. The title clearly indicated this with Les Misérables meaning the miserable ones. The book mentions of war, the struggle many had in their own society and the theme of good and evil, love and hatred was also clearly shown. ...read more.


Marius had developed this characteristic as well but such quality is not reflected as clear as Cosette within this novel. There are little which seems unrealistic and unconvincing within this novel. However, Jean Valjean appears to be too good to be true by the end of the book where he confessed everything to Marius and asked for his forgiveness. He knew very well that he is the savior of Marius life, he has done nothing but good to Marius. In addition, Jean Valjean had been a father and again a savior to Cosette. A saint ? one might call him. Therefore, his humbleness seems to be out of place. One knew that he was good, one knew that he was conscious of his fault in the pass but such over-display of saintliness will leave one puzzle. Jean Valjean is too saintly that he lacks that instinctive characteristic that defines all human, that instinct of yearning for pleasure and avoidance of pain. This is a wonderful novel that everyone must read. I do not recommend it but urge you to read this work of fiction as it sends an important message that everyone can relate to. ...read more.

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