Les Miserable: The Would Be Classic
Les Miserable was written over a span of 17 years by a Frenchmen named Victor Hugo. Les Miserable is set during the French Revolution and shows the reader life through the eyes of an ex-convict [Valjean] just trying to make his wrong doings right. Les Miserable is not a classic because it is unlovely, unjust, only somewhat pure and honest, and has mixed reviews, but on the contrary it is truthful.To start with, one of the reasons Les Miserable is not a classic is because of Hugo’s unlovely way of writing. An example of this writing is shown through Cosette, a little girl given up by her mother in order for her [Cosette] to survive (Hugo 120). The writer also says that her happiness and youthful beauty is taken away by the Thenardiers [the people who took her in for money]. The Thenardiers made her work long hours with no pay and barley any food. Hugo says that she is fed better than the dog, but not as well as the cat (Hugo 118). Cosette is thin and dressed in rags (Hugo 120).Fantine’s , [Cosette’s mother] death is described in an unlovely way. Hugo tells the reader:
Fantine raised herself in bed with a bound, supporting herself on her stiffened arms andon both hands: she gazed at Jean Valjean, she gazed at Javert, she gazed at the nun, she opened her mouth as though to speak: a rattle proceeded from the depths of her throat,Kaufman 2
her teeth chattered, she stretched out her arms in agony, opening her hands convulsively,and fumbling about her like a drowning person; then suddenly fell back on her pillow. Her head struck the head-board of the bed and fell forwards on her breast, with gaping mouth and staring, sightless eyes. She was dead. (Hugo 208-209)
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…oblems. Society says that a criminal is born a criminal and will always be one, but this is proven wrong through Valjean. Cerisola, in the article “Overview of Les Miserable”, says, “The novel depicted the struggles of human conscience with temptation and the eventual triumph of duty over passion, of freedom over nature.” Even though society says that certain people are toblame Hugo’s works say, “Man was not inherently evil, he was made so by an unjust society” (Cerisola 2).
In conclusion, Les Miserable is not a classic because it is unlovely, unjust, only somewhat pure and honest, and has mixed reviews, but it is truthful as a classic should be. Victor Hugo died May 22, 1885, in Paris, France (“Hugo” 1). His death was described as, “universal anguish and passion of regret as never before accompanied the death of the greatestKaufman 7
among poets” (Swinburne 1).