Monday, September 24, 2012

"Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo-part 1

Because Les Miserables is so long, I have decided to read and write about it in chunks.  So far, I have read through page 300 and I am enjoying it.  Most of what I have read so far has been about Fantine and Jean Valjean and I have to say that I really like Jean Valjean as a character.  He was not a very nice person at first but as the story progessed, he completely redeemed himself.

I don't know much about Victor Hugo but it seems to me as though this book is a social commentary.  Hugo includes his opinions on poverty, the legal system and society in general.  He talks a lot about how poverty affects people and the lengths they will go to in order to stay alive and feed their families.  He also discusses the injustice of the legal system and condemns the harsh punishments inflicted on the poor by the legal system.  He definitely has some strong opinions regarding the society at that time and I am eager to see what he else he has to say.

I do think it's interesting that there are pauses in the story filled with discussions of Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo.  It reminded me of War and Peace and I am hoping there isn't a lot of these breaks in the story because the Napoleon parts were a little slow.

Overall, I am excited to be reading Les Miserables and can't wait to see where the story will take me. 

Quotes I Love:

"What is the true story of Fantine? It is the story of society's purchase of a slave.  A slave purchased from poverty, hunger, cold, loneliness, defencelessness, destitution.  A squalid bargain:  a human soul for a hunk of bread.  Poverty offers and society accepts.  Our society is governed by the precepts of Jesus Christ but not yet imbued with them.  We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true.  Slavery still exists but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution." 

"Such is the remorseless progression of human society, shedding lives and souls as it goes on its way.  It is an ocean into which men sink who have been cast out by the law and consigned, with help most cruelly withheld, to moral death  The sea is the pitiless social darkness into which the penal system casts those it has condemned, an unfathomable waste of misery.  The human soul, lost in those depths, may become a corpse.  Who shall revive it?"


  1. I have not read yet. But I must. Everybody must. :)

  2. I really enjoyed this when I read it back in high school, although I do think if I read it now I would get so much more out of it. But I don't see myself having the time for that anytime soon. But I do have time for the movie, and can't wait to see it when it comes out!

    1. I am so excited for the movie! I am hoping to be done with the book by the time it comes out.

  3. Les Mis is playing in Des Moines if we want to go see the show :)


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