The character of Valjean reveals how the French criminal-justice system transforms a simple bread thief into a career criminal.
The only effect of Valjean’s nineteen years of mistreatment on the chain gang is that he becomes sneaky and vicious—a sharp contrast to the effect of Myriel’s kindness, which sets Valjean on the right path almost overnight.
Hugo uses his novel to condemn the unjust class-based structure of nineteenth-century France, showing time and again that the society’s structure turns good, innocent people into beggars and criminals.
Hugo focuses on three areas that particularly need reform: education, criminal justice, and the treatment of women.
The recent film By removing these key people of colour from leadership roles in the media, even in something as arguably insignificant as a musical, you perpetuate the White Male Saviour storyline so often embedded in tales of terror. Where a white hero stomps into an Asian myth and is, through some miracle (their white privilege) able to do what no person of colour ever could.
The same can be said about casting cisgender actors for transgender roles, and in not giving LGBTQIA characters successful storylines.In Les Misérables, Hugo asserts that love and compassion are the most important gifts one person can give another and that always displaying these qualities should be the most important goal in life.Valjean’s transformation from a hate-filled and hardened criminal into a well-respected philanthropist epitomizes Hugo’s emphasis on love, for it is only by learning to love others that Valjean is able to improve himself.In Les Misérables, Hugo traces the social impact of the numerous revolutions, insurrections, and executions that took place in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century France.By chronicling the rise and fall of Napoléon as well as the restoration and subsequent decline of the Bourbon monarchy, Hugo gives us a sense of the perpetual uncertainty that political events imposed upon daily life.Although both Napoléon and the students at the barricade come closer to espousing these values than the French monarchs do, these are not values than can be imposed through violence.Indeed, Hugo shows that Napoléon and the students at the barricades topple as easily as the monarchy.He conveys much of his message through the character of Fantine, a symbol for the many good but impoverished women driven to despair and death by a cruel society.After Fantine is abandoned by her aristocratic lover, Tholomyès, her reputation is indelibly soiled by the fact that she has an illegitimate child.See this time and time again, and, without realising, you’ve told countless When you see it like this, a word springs to mind: propaganda.To propagate the idea that those who can be happy and successful are those of a social class, colour and gender.