Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Les Misérables By: Victor Hugo

France, 1789-1799. This is the period of the revolution.
During this time Jean ValJean was condemned to 5 years of hard time.  For multiple attempts at escape he ends up serving 15-20 years. He escapes around year 18 and 19. Once escaping he flees into the countryside. Only to be rejected by all he asks for help. He searches for days tired a weary he come to the house of the bishop. The Bishop shows poor Jean ValJean hospitality and kindness. The experiences Jean has change his outlook on life.

After he leaves the Bishop's house he swears to be a good man for the rest of his days. And acting upon his vow he becomes the  mayor of Montreuil-sur-mer. He is a good man who helps all people and when he sees that a women has been through great hardships in his name he is devastated. He wants to help poor Fantine and that he does he saves her from the ruthless Javert who is always tracking and pursuing Jean ValJean.  He lets her live in his home and tends to her every need. He even saves her poor child Cosette from the ruthless Therniaders. But alas at the sight of seeing Javert again kills Fantine (who never saw her child again). Jean ValJean and Cosette are sent into a world of down spinning doom. A life of hiding and a life of hope. They lead their live the best they can while running from Javert. But there can be no happiness for them. For how can they be happy when after all they are The Miserables.

Les Misérables is a wonderfully written book. It's language and imagery is astounding. The way it pulls at every heart string is truly incredible. The reader feels the pain and misery, but also the love the characters feel. Victor Hugo is a true literary genius. A quote I particularly like in this book is in the dedication it states the following; "... in other words, and with a still wider significance, so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Misérables cannot fail to be of use." -Hauteville House 1862

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