In Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, the underlying leitmotif: Charity emerges. As the two authors develop similar plot lines and characters, a strong parallelism develops. Through the heartbreaking recoveries of two old men, to the staggering love triangles, these novels deliver the true meaning of love.Hugo and dickens both illustrate the balanced match between love and hatred in their novels. The character’s actions provide methods for the authors to depict this never-ending battle of good vs. evil. Hugo’s Fantine and Dickens Sydney carton most prominently display of love. Both give their lives for their loved ones-Fantine for Cosette and Carton for Charles Darnay in the sake of Lucy Manette. Fantine lived her life for her daughter, travelling the difficult descent from elite to peasant in a matter of years. Giving everything for her daughter, Fantine “has endured all, borne all, experienced all, suffered all, lost all, wept for all” (Hugo 188) Her undying devotion of a mother shows the extremities that life will take you to for the sake of love. Fantine loved her daughter and gave everything she owned for her including her life. For in “experiencing” and “suffering all” Fantine paid the price of love, and with her dying breath she ensured that Cosette lived safely. This constant worry shows how love can dig roots in a person’s soul, changing them forever, and ultimately lead to their demise, all for the sake of love. Sydney Carton exemplified similar behavior to Fantine, in that he gave his life for the security of another. For in giving himself up in place of Charles Darnay, carton showed his love for Lucy Manette who loved Darnay. In Carton’s last words he described his life and how lo…
…ly to his father. For in learning the evil from his father, young Jerry liked to “inflict bodily and mental injuries of an acute description on passing boys who were small enough for his amiable purpose.” (Dickens 58) Young Jerry resembles his father in that he enjoys being cruel to people. The son and the father are “extremely like each other”. (Dickens 58) This reversal of character between young Jerry and Cosette shows how love can enter the heart and stay there, taking no notice of suffering and still holding on to righteousness. While if love never presented itself in the heart, then evil takes ahold even a young age. Cosette depicts how low thrives, while young Jerry demonstrates the opposite.
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. (London,): T. Nelson and Sons, 1989. Print.
Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables. New York: Modern Library., n.d. Print