"Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo

Essay by jennaglovesHigh School, 12th gradeA, March 2003

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"So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age-the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of woman by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night-are not solved; so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless."

-Victor Hugo

Corruption, evils of society, injustice, and the battle against oppression are problems that existed in France during the Revolution and that continue to exist in today's society. The novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo tells its readers a story of a corrupted society where neither good nor evil can win. This novel shows that an individual can overcome these miseries and live in peace with the corrupt world around him, but this road to peace is not an easy one.

Hugo illustrates the injustice of the French legal system during the time of the French Revolution, the constant battle against oppression that the people of France had to fight, and the strict standard of the class-based society at that time. This is all exposed in the novel through the characters that Hugo creates, characters that are realistic and whom the reader can truly relate to.

During the time of the French Revolution, the time when the novel is based upon, the justice system in France was unfair, unreasonable, and, unjust. Take the main character in the Les Misérables, Jean Valjean, as a prime example of how this justice system worked. Even though Valjean did commit the crime of stealing a loaf of bread for his sister's starving

children, being sent to prison for five...