In "Les Miserables," how does the attitudes and actions of one character make a difference in making the world a better or worse place?I need this for grade eleven essay by the end of this week.

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Consider that the actions of the Bishop are the catalyst to the change in Jean Valjean, which in turn begins a chain reaction of positive changes in many lives throughout the novel.

Through his interactions with the Bishop, Jean Valjean experiences forgiveness and love in a way that he never has before in life.  The single moment of forgiveness (and ultimately, giving him back his freedom) displayed in the scene of the stolen silver sparks a change in Jean Valjean that grows and overflows.  As the Monsieur the Mayor, Valjean singly changes the economy of one small town and gives hope and life to many poor and oppressed people through the provisions of work and a fair salary.  He then reciprocates love (and forgiveness) to Fantine, by vowing to take care of her daughter.  He pours unconditional love into Cosette, and though he lives his life on the run, continues to financially assist many in his path.  His personal life conversion is manifested in his willingness to help those who cannot help themselves, forgive those who may not deserve forgiveness, and love those who were unlovable.