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Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Updated on January 11, 2013

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is a timeless classic, considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. The story begins in 1815 France and has been adapted into numerous plays and movies. A compiling storyline of love and compassion, social injustice, the plight of an orphan, the historical setting and the effects of the French Revolution has made this a timeless epic story.

Les Miserables - Prologue-Valjean Arrested / Valjean Forgiven

A compiling storyline of love and compassion, these qualities should be shown to others; these are the most important gifts one can give to another, and the redeeming qualities of love and compassion, is one of many themes in Les Miserables.

The story of Les Miserables revolves around Jean Valjean who spends nineteen years in prison. He was arrested for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family and sentenced to five years that was increased to nineteen years for repeatedly attempting to escape.

After Jean is released from prison he has gone from being a bread thief to a career criminal with a past that keeps haunting him. Jean Valjean must carry identification that marks him as a former convict. At Digne Valjean is refused shelter for the night. He is an outcast. The bishop, Monseigneur Myiel welcomes him and offers him food and shelter, Valjean repays his host’s hospitality by stealing his silverware.

Valjean is quickly apprehended by the police and is taken back to the scene of his crime. Much to Valjean’s astonishment the bishop protects him by pretending that the silverware was a gift. This extraordinary gift astonishes Valjean and causes him to begin to transform his life under the name of M. Madeleine. Passionate likable characters that are about people struggling to do well and fighting their demons from the past can be related to today.

Les Miserables-The Dream I Dreamed

The social injustice shown to the young woman Fantine and her illegitimate daughter, the efforts Fantine goes to trying to hide the fact that she has an illegitimate child. Her lack of education ruins those efforts and in despair she becomes what a cruel society saw her as-a woman of low reputation.

Social instability with the prevalence of orphans and unusual family structures show that something has gone terribly wrong in French society and politics during this period in France.

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Interwoven into the story are actual historical events including the Paris Uprising in 1832 that makes this a believable story and helps to make it a great play and a movie.

It is a story that examines many different topics: Religion, politics, justice, and love with contrasting characters; the criminal Valjean and the Bishop, the bread stealing Valjean and the Patron-Minette crime ring in Paris and the different prison sentence given. It shows a man Jean Valjean who nothing ever seems to go right; he is plagued by bad luck. A story of many complex topics and characters that can be related to today. A great book to read about justice, heroism, and love. Also the play and movie of Les Miserables has great music.

Les Miserables MovieTrailer


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