What are two critical moments in Jean Valjean's life that were influenced by religion, as seen in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables?
The first most important moment in which religion influenced Jean Valjean's life relates to the Bishop of Digne's mercy and generosity . When Jean Valjean was finally released from prison after 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread for his seven starving nephews and nieces, he found that every place he went to in order to find food and lodging turned him out when they learned that he was an ex-convict. At one point he even tried to sleep in what turned out to be a dog's house but was turned out by the growling dog; he then declared in despair, "I am not even a dog!" (Vol. 1, Bk. 2, Ch. 1). The...
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The first moment was when the Bishop of Digne showed him compassion and gave him a chance to change his life by telling officers that he had given Jean Valjean his silver. Valjean had, in fact, stolen it. In this moment, the bishop's actions made Valjean realize that must change and become an honest man.
The second moment was when another man was being charged with a crime he had committed in his past. Valjean was forced to search his soul and came to the conclusion that he must turn himself in to ensure this innocent man would go free.