Les Miserables : Crime & Punishment

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2008

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When we first met Jean Val jean, we saw that he was in prison for quite a while over a little matter. He is sentenced to hard labor. Eventually he earns his release but emerges as a hardened convict who had to carry an identity card declaring that he was a dangerous felon. Of course this meant that no innkeeper would take him in for the night. For days he wanders village roads until a kind bishop has mercy on him and takes him in. But that night, Val jean waits until the house is quiet, he steals the bishop's valuable silver, and then slips off into the darkness. But the next morning there he is on the bishop's doorstep, handcuffed by policemen who are ready to clap him in chains for life. However, the bishop does something Val jean would never have expected in his wildest dreams. The bishop says to the gendarmes, "This man is no thief.

That silver was my gift to him. But look, Val jean, you forgot that I gave you these silver candlesticks as well? Here. Take them too.

"The power of the bishop's act, defying every human instinct for revenge, changed Val Jean's life forever. From that point on, he dedicates himself to helping others in need.

But there's another side to this story. A police detective named Javert, who knows nothing but law and justice, mercilessly stalks Val jean over the next two decades. As Val jean is transformed by forgiveness, the detective is slowly enslaved by his thirst for retribution. Until the unthinkable happens: Val jean saves Javert's life, the prey shows grace to the predator, and the detective's world crumbles. His determination to uphold the law without mercy or grace won't let him receive mercy and grace when it's offered him. The only way out of his dilemma is to take his own life.

I think that this harsh put someone in punishment that long but since it was in the 19th century I could understand why. In our society we see theft as a crime that is usually taken care of with jail time but getting out within a week or two. All crimes should be punished the same way back then. Now, I think that everything is handled with careful precaution.

The fight for freedom The students seem to see that it's better to fight for something you believe in than dieing. I agree on that, but would you ever get tired of fighting? I wouldn't. It all depends on what you are fighting for and then you got to ask yourself…"is it worth it?" Things may become justified but just doing so may take time.

The barricade is finished, and the riled up students ignore an army warning to "give up their guns or die" No way! They're too fired up to back down now. Later, Gavroche exposes Javert as a police spy, disguised as a rebel. Smart kid. Then, Eponine is shot and killed in trying to return to the barricade. So much for loyalty. Val jean arrives in search for Marius. Here, Val jean is given a chance to kill Javert, but, honorable man that he is, he lets him go.

At night the students are settling down, resting for the next onslaught. Val jean prays to God for Marius' sake, to save him from the upcoming battle. The next day, Gavroche is shot while collecting ammunition. During the battle, all the rebels are killed, including their leader, Enjolras.

The students got what they wanted. To fight for what they believed in and if they died it would be with dignity. I think this outcome was somehow successful. Maybe gruesome because people died but if you think about it, in the end it's worth it. In the end, Val Jean escapes to the sewers with the unconscious Marius. However this is after meeting Thernardier, who then is robbing the corpses of the rebels, he emerges into the light only to meet Javert once more! It just gets more exciting! Characters of Les Miserables In the beginning of the novel, the thenardier's ran an inn to earn money so they could be sure their children were well off. Even though Monsieur and Madame Thenardier dressed in dirty and ragged clothes, they made sure their children were dressed in beautiful, new clothing, had the prettiest dolls, and all of the toys they wanted. By spoiling their children, Monsieur and Madame Thenardier showed the public that they were good compassionate citizens who cared deeply about their loved ones (their children). However the truth was that the Thedardier's only thought of themselves and how they could make more money. So they would charge others to pay money for performing deeds, no matter if any moral person performed out of the goodness of their heart.

As the Thenardier children grow up Monsieur and Madame Thenardier stop treating them as if it was the end of the world and began treating them like street rats. By this time their inn had gone bankrupt, the whole family was dressed in rags, only left with a few personal items, and they had moved into the Gorbeau house. Monsieur and Madame Thenardier aged along with their children. Monsieur Thenardier taught his children how to be like him and be mean. When the children learned that their parents had no care for them whatsoever, they decided to leave and come back whenever they pleased. Gavroche, Monsieur's son, and Madame Thenardier, left home and lived on the street with the other "street rats". He periodically visited his parents, but Madame Thenardier made it abundantly clear that she did not want anything to do with him.

The Thenardier's may have seemed to be caring parents, but as the years passed they showed that they only cared for the greediness in money and it got them no where but to eventually become bankrupt. When Eponine died they didn't show any sympathy even though she was there first born. When Gavroche was shot and killed in the Paris revolt; all they cared about was who they were going to steal from next. All I can say is what selfish snobby people they were. I don't know anyone like that in today's society who would just care for riches and wealth. What a family!