Free Study Guide for Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: "Les Mis"|
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LES MISERABLES: FREE BOOK REVIEW
PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
Hugoís plot is intertwined with innumerable threads-that of the reconciliation
between Marius and his grandfather, the ultimate defeat of the evil of
Thenardier, the aspects of victory and defeat in the insurrection, the
love affair between Marius and Cosette, and the constant chase of Javert
for Valjean. Holding it all together, however, is the psychological journey
of Valjean who moves from place to place, doing good for all in an attempt
to free himself from his own condemnation only to find that in order to
free himself he must first reveal and debase himself before one who has
the power to punish him. The galleys dehumanzied Valjean.
Each new hiding place, each change of address restores some aspect of
his humanity-although such restoration is often accompanied with emotional
agony. He is a whole person again at the moment of his death because it
is at that moment that he is able to accept the forgiveness of others
and thereby realize that he has finally forgiven himself for crimes of
which the medieval styled law has convicted him. He lives a martyr of
the law and dies a martyr to himself.
POINT OF VIEW
Omniscient. Hugo leaps from one character to another as it suits his
purpose, accompanying all with extensive editorial comment and address
to the readers.
1. Why do the police accept Myrielís statement of Valjeanís innocence?
2. Why does Valjean condemn himself when his crime was nothing
more than stealing a loaf of bread for his sisterís children?
3. Explain the irony of Valjeanís existence behind the walls
of the convent.
4. What mistake does Javert make that causes him to lose Valjean
just as he nearly has him cornered?
5. Why is Cosette not given more depth of character? What do
the men of her family see in her?
6. Why is Javert unable to live with his spontaneous decision
to let Valjean go?
7. What does Marius misunderstand regarding his fatherís devotion
8. How does Mariusí idealism differ from that of the Friends
of the ABC?
9. When Valjean releases Javert, why does he also give him his
10. Explain the irony in Gavrocheís service to the two homeless
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Les Miserables by Victor Hugo Free BookNotes Summary