Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

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What are the themes in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo?

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Themes in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo include poverty and its impact on people, different treatments of people in various socio-economic classes and the lack of social mobility in 19th century France, as well as the lack of fairness in the justice system at the time. The story begins with the protagonist, Jean Valjean, who is imprisoned for stealing bread to feed his starving nieces and nephews. The theft of a basic food item under times of extreme economic depression leads to Jean Valjean spending time doing hard labor. This is intended to show the theme of how poverty pushed him to commit a theft, as well as of the horrible treatment of people from lower economic classes in France during this time. Not only is Valjean put in prison but after he escapes, Inspector Javert hounds him for about two decades.

Jean Valjean is able to create a new life for himself after he escapes. He climbs from poverty to become a land and business owner. The treatment he receives as someone from a higher...

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