A discussion of Jean Valjean’s Redemption in “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo.
Les Miserables Set in 19th century France, Victor Hugo’s historical novel, Les Miserables, portrays the protagonist, Jean Valjean, in his struggle with his past. Even in the face of societal condemnation, he sacrifices himself repeatedly for his loved ones as well for his moral and political convictions. Throughout the novel, Jean must redeem his character proving his ability to be trustworthy, selfless, and loyal. Throughout this novel, Jean Valjean proves to himself and to his town that he is trustworthy. Jean Valjean promises a mother, Fatine, on her deathbed that he will bring her daughter back, and fulfills his promise: On the evening of the same day that Jean Valjean had rescued Cossete from the clutches of the Thenardiers.. (95) The child is Cossete, she was given away to the Thenadiers, a family that deceives Fantine, and uses her daughter for labor and money. Later in the novel, Jean Valjean meets a family in poverty, by the name of the Jondrettes. He promises them that he will give them money for the payment of there house. He brings them money, and because of him, they have the fortunate opportunity to stay under a roof. In another incident Jean Valjean, receives a exclusive letter from Marius, a young man that is in love with Cossete. The letter is addressed to Cossete, and even though Jean Valjean regrets the possibility of Cossete leaving him, he turns the letter over to her. Jan Valjean proves that he does not have a mind of a criminal and could be trustworthy. Jean Valjean shows that he does not care about himself, and that he has only a dedication on helping others. When Jean Valjean first enters the city of M____ sur M____ he goes to drastic measures by pulling two children from a burning house. Throughout the story Jean Valjean risks being identified by the officials and death by taking Cossete to better residences: Jean Valjean. when he fell into the sea or rather when he threw himself into it.. He swam underwater to a ship anchor to which a boat was fastened. concealed himself in the boat. finally reached Paris. to resuce Cossete from the clutches of the Theinardes.(95) In another event, Jean Valjean puts his life in danger by saving Marius, in a battle that happened in the barricades. Valjean still risks his life to others, even though he went through the hardships during his prison sentence. The availability of Valjean’s loyalty still exist. He regains this characteristic several times in the novel. When Valjean exists the dark doors of prison, he receives advice from a noble bishop. The bishop asks him to be honest and he is forever loyal to the bishops words : Father Madeline employed everybody; he had only one condition. “Be a honest man” .. “Be a honest woman”. (90) In another occurrence Jan Valjean shows that he is loyal to his people and his community by investing all his fortunes in restoring it. In another occurrence, Jean Valjean is placed in a event which he can take the life of his foe, Javert. He shows that he is loyal to his word by not killing no man and he lets Javert go. Jan Valjean projects that he is loyal and not a criminal, with no morals. Throughout the novel, Jean must redeem his character proving his ability to be trustworthy, selfless, and loyal. . Within the story, Jean Valjean shows that the thoughts of the people and the government are against him, but during the story he proves them wrong. Jan Valjean shows that 19 years in prison, and that he can still be a good human being with characteristics of trustworthiness, selflessness, and loyalty.