Does the author include only what is necessary? Or does he clutter "Les Miserables" with needless events and details? if yes, give examples...

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In France, Victor Hugo is buried in a place of high honor, for he is revered as one of their greatest writers. Poignant tales of the human experience written in the Romantic style, his novels are recognized throughout the world as classics, and "Les Miserables" is one of his best.  Nevertheless, Hugo did have a penchant for digressing.  Probably his greatest digression is his recounting of the battle of Waterloo because this straying from the narrative of Jean Valjean is around 100 pages. Other digressions include the revolution of the 1800s, life in the Paris streets and its slang.

Nevertheless, Hugo had a purpose for his digressions. Like Charles Dickens, Hugo was concerned with the plight of the poor and oppressed, so his novels are political as well as artistic. While the theme of the narrative is the spiritual redemption of the main character, Jean Valjean, another theme runs concurrently in the digresssions as the moral redemption of the nation through revolution. (e.g. The revolt in the streets of Paris in the 1800s)

To say, then, that Hugo clutters his novel with useless details is not accurate.