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Riley Drouin

Mr. Cian
French One
April 21, 2015
Les Miserable is, in the words of its author Victor Hugo, a story that must be told. It is a
chillingly realistic story that depicts the gaping divide in social classes and the biased judgment
of individuals that are not unified in a certain society together.
The movie begins with a glimpse of a young girl begging for food, then returning to her
home. When she returns home we are introduced to the main character Jean Valjean. It is
evident that the individuals in this picture are in need of basic necessities, the most pivotal being
food. Jean Valjean is a woodcutter like his father but the problem is that there is no work for
him to do, therefore no money to buy food. When Jean Valjean realizes that there is no other
option he makes a decision that will change the course of his life forever. Valjean goes to steal
bread to feed his family. When Jean Valjean gets caught he is sentenced to five years in jail. In
jail Jean Valjean saves a man from being crushed by a boulder. This is an essential piece in the
outcome of the story. Then Jean Valjean tries to escape and gets caught. He gets three months in
solitary confinement and another five years added to his sentence. After this Valjean tries to
escape yet again and gets another ten years added to his life sentence. Then when Valjean and
the others are working on the prison wall a man gets caught up in the rope and his hanging off of
the ledge. Ja Valjean climbs down the rope to save him and escapes. Ja Valjean wanders around
town looking for a place to go. He finds his way to the bishops house. The bishop gives him a
hot meal and a place to sleep. At night Ja Valjean steals some of the bishops things so that he

could get back on his feet. The next morning the police bring Valjean back to the bishops house
with the stolen goods, but the bishop acts as if the goods had not been stolen. This part in the
story is crucial because not only does it show the religious influence but it also shapes the
plotline for the rest of the book. The bishop gives Ja Valjean his silver candle sticks and gives
him a clean conscience from God. He makes Ja Valjean promise him that he will turn his life
around. So thats just what Ja Valjean does.
The story picks up five years later. Ja Valjean is working as the mayor of a small town in
France that was extremely poor before he came, but Ja Valjean brought jobs to the little town.
The new inspector of police is Javert, the brutal man that had punished Ja Valjean in prison all
those years ago. When Ja Valjean goes to see Javert he meets a women named Fantine. She had
been brought in for prostitution and battery. Fantine begins to beg, she says that she got fired
form the factory because she was pregnant and now her little girl is living with another family.
Fantine says that she has sold everything to get her little girl back but she just needs help. Ja
Valjean listens (and relates) to her, so he decides to give her a second chance. So Ja Valjean lets
Fantine stay with him, but she becomes extremely ill with Tuberculosis. At first Javert does not
realize it is Ja Valjean but when Valjean saves a man from being crushed under a wagon Javert
realizes that it is him. Javert takes his suspicions to the head of police in Paris, but the person in
charge thinks Javert is completely wrong. Javert apologizes to Ja Valjean and tells him that they
have caught the real Ja Valjean, and Javert steps down from his position as inspector of police.
Ja Valjean goes to the trail of the fake Ja Valjean and steps up as who he really is and confesses
to his crimes. At home Javert comes to arrest Ja Valjean and scares Fantine and as a result she
dies. Ja Valjean vows to take care of Fantines daughter. On the way to prison Ja Valjean
escapes and goes to get Cossette, Fantines daughter. Once he gets Cossette they go to Paris

because so many people are looking for them. A little while after they get to Paris they find out
that they are being looked for so Ja Valjean escapes over a large wall into a convent. For them
to stay there Cossette must live with the nuns and be educated by them.
The story picks up ten years later when Ja Valjean and Cossette leave the convent. They
go to live in a place that has revolutionary movements occurring. Javert is working in the same
place and thinks he spots Ja Valjean. Cossette meets a man named Marius and they fall in love.
Marius wants to get married but Cossette and Ja Valjean are leaving for London. Marius goes to
ask his rich uncle for money, but he would not pay Marius because Marius is part of the
revolutionary movement and his uncle works for the government.
Soon after Marius and others begin fighting back against the government. They catch the
inspector (who was under cover as a revolutionary) and plan to kill him. Ja Valjean shows up at
the battle ground, and asks if he could take Javert to kill him. The miraculous thing is he doesnt
actually do it. Ja Valjean shows Javert the mercy that he himself was never shown. Later that
same day Ja Valjean escapes down the sewer carrying Marius. The police follow after him and
finally Javert finds him, but somehow he finds it in his heart to let Ja Valjean go.
Later on Javert kills himself once he truly realizes what an awful person that he has been.
The movie ends with a scene of Marius and Cossette getting married and Mariuss uncle comes
to see them both.
The movie itself has an array of themes. One of the most pivotal though would be the
religious themes. When Ja Valjean has nowhere else to go he chooses the bishops house. This
has an extreme impact on the rest of the movie. Because of this Ja Valjean is put in a place of
worship and gets to see God in the truest form: Forgiveness. When the bishop gives him a

second chance it changes Ja Valjeans life and shows him what it really means to live and to let go
of the past. With this decision Ja Valjean realizes he cannot live in ager and hate, but rather in
love and faith in God. So that is just what he does.
There is a clear indication in this movie that there are social classes with a strict divide
between them. For instance in the beginning of the movie Ja Valjean was in the lower class and
could barely make money for his family, but yet no mercy was given to him when he stole bread
to eat. It was also very obvious that most of the members of the upper class worked (in some
way) for the government. Therefore, if a person was poor they were given very few rights and it
was even worse if that person was female. Overall, the rules in this time period were very strict
and extremely biased, with absolutely no reasoning.
Thankfully, I cannot make a huge connection to daily life today, but that does not mean
that nothing like this is happening. An example of this would be how it is extremely hard
(nowadays) to break the poverty line and become successful. Another example would be how
the judicial system can (sometimes) be extremely corrupt.
Overall this movie portrays a phenomenal message that must be listened to and
comprehended so that we can make this world a more amorous place.

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