Les Miserables

Les Miserables story

discus hugo's undying belief that man can become perfect. How does Jean Valjean il;lustrate the belief?

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I don't know if I would use the term "perfect" in place of "better". One of the most important themes in the novel is progress, including moral, political, and spiritual progress. In the course of the novel, Jean Valjean makes the journey from an angry ex-convict who despises the world to the loving adopted father of Cosette; he journeys from ignorance and darkness to love and light. His life isn't perfect, but in opening himself to love and hope..... Jean finds the meaning of life, and it isn't based upon hatred and revenge.

Hugo also emphasizes the political progress of the day, which is part of the reason he highlights the uprising of 1832. At the time, France was progressing from a political system based on the divine right of kings to a democracy in which every person has a voice. For Hugo, these differing types of progress are all intertwined, and symbolize the progression towards God.