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What is the significance of the title "Les Miserables"?
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Middle School Teacher
The literal meaning of les miserables is "the miserable ones." The characters are french and the book is centered around their lives. The time period is the early 1800's. The main character is known as Jean Valjean. He is an ex-convict who is struggling with sorting his life out. He has been imprisoned because he stole bread to feed his starving family. After he is released he is forced to carry a yellow badge that identifies him as being an ex-con. He is looked down upon because he is publicly known as a criminal. He later gets a new identity and raises a family. It has many themes in it such as love, religion, politics, and justice.
I think that this book was given this title because it focuses on the struggles that Jean had to endure throughout his life.
Posted by besure77 on March 28, 2010 at 8:23 AM (Answer #1)
Middle School Teacher
Posted by mkcapen1 on March 29, 2010 at 4:38 AM (Answer #2)
The title literally means, "The Miserable Ones" but it could also mean "The Wretched", "The Poor Ones", "The Wretched Poor", or "The Victims." In Les Misérables, the significance of the name involves the lives of the characters. Most of the characters, incluuding Jean Valjean, Cosette, Javert, and Marius are proof of that. With Cosette and Marius, it is almost like Romeo & Juliet being unable to see each other. Jean Valjean, being an inoccent man, now being hunted by Javert. Fantine, dying, being unable to see her child grow up, having to hand her over to Jean Valjean. Really, no one is happy in the story. Les Misérables has all the significance and the meaning of the whole story, because no one is happy until the end. The story actually has a lot to do with the struggles everyone goes through to survive. There is a lot of pain the re, but eventually everyone is happy.
Posted by aboswell13 on April 29, 2010 at 2:22 AM (Answer #3)
obviously the wretched are Jean, Javert, Fantine, and Cosette and Maruis start as miserables. But this novel isnt about some people's hard lives. it protrays an entire society ( the french's) and their struggles with poverty. Not only is Jean being judged for a small action, not only once but for the rest of his life, but he also has to payt for it. Les Miserables is all about how society was indifferent then to ones stuggles rich or poor. THe rich looked down on the poor, the poor looked down on the convicts, and the convicts looked down on the rich for treating them like dirt. Hugo doesnt just emplify how miserable the main characters are, but he also touches on the misery of everyone else in France. The book isnt just about these chararcters and their stuggles. It is France as a whole and the social injustice taking place at the time. It is France's poor who are the miserable ones ultamitely.
Posted by edthrows on March 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM (Answer #4)
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