Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Les Misérables book cover
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What five social problems does Victor Hugo present in Les Misérables?

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There are many social and political issues at work in Hugo's novel, but five of the most notable are as follows:

1. Unfair treatment of women: This applies mainly to women of the lower classes, with Fantine and Eponine being the two main examples. Fantine is fired from her factory job when it is discovered that she has a child she is caring for. Because of this, she must turn to prostitution, and she is then arrested for earning money in such a desperate way. Eponine is treated cruelly by her parents and abused by them throughout the novel.

2. Miserable conditions for those in poverty: Throughout the book, Hugo shows us the poverty of these characters by describing how they live and manage to scratch out an existence. It's no coincidence that the title of the book has been translated as "The Miserable" or "The Wretched."

3. A justice system that mistreats criminals: Valjean is arrested for stealing one loaf of bread to feed his family. He is imprisoned, and his sentence is lengthened...

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