Loyalty and Honor in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables

Essay by klutz3572High School, 10th gradeA+, April 2004

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Les Miserables

Very few books in the history of our world have stood the test of time. In order to be enjoyed by generations, a book has to have certain qualities. The book has to touch the reader both in his mind and in his heart. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo has achieved what few others have. For many generations, Les Miserables has been touching the lives of its readers. The book also teaches reader such important life lessons that they are better people after reading. In Les Miserables, the reader learns about the importance of remaining loyal to oneself and to others, not judging a book by its cover, and always believing.

One of the greatest things a person can ever learn is to be loyal to himself and to the people around him. For example, in Les Miserables, Javert is loyal to himself and his duty as an officer throughout the entire story.

But when he suddenly finds himself going against everything he believes in by having respect for a galley slave, he cannot handle it. As he thinks to himself, "He shuddered at it. It was useless to struggle, he was reduced to confess before his own inner tribunal the sublimity of this wretch" (272). He then ends his life. Marius goes through the same struggle when he realizes the true identities of his neighbors, the Jondrettes. Marius knows that they are criminals and thieves, but his loyalties to his father prevent him from doing something to stop them. In the end, his own personal loyalties to himself outweigh the ones left to him by his father.

Everybody always says not to judge a book by its cover, but no one ever says why. The story told in Les Miserables shows why people should give...