full title · Les Misérables
author · Victor Hugo
type of work · Novel
genre · Epic novel; historical novel
language · French
time and place written · 1845–1862; Paris and the Channel Islands (English possessions off the coast of France)
date of first publication · 1862
publisher · Pagnerre (Paris)
narrator · An anonymous narrator
point of view · The story is told from the perspective of an omniscient narrator who frequently addresses us. The narrator not only knows what the characters are thinking at all times but also has a detailed grasp of contemporary politics and society.
tone · The tone tends to reflect the narrator’s empathy with the char-acters. When describing broader trends in politics and society, the tone reflects Hugo’s outspoken views on social reform.
tense · Past
setting (time) · 1789–1832
setting (place) · France; primarily the cities of Arras, Digne, Montreuil-sur-mer, Montfermeil, Paris, and Toulon
protagonist · Jean Valjean
major conflict · Valjean struggles to transform himself from a thief into an honest man; over the years he struggles to stay a step ahead of the zealous police officer Javert and tries to raise his adopted daughter, Cosette.
rising action · Valjean’s disclosure of his true identity at Champmathieu’s trial; Valjean’s rescue of Cosette from the Thénardiers; Marius’s first sight of Cosette in the Luxembourg Gardens.
climax · Marius, Valjean, and Javert’s dramatic interactions at the barricades
falling action · Marius and Cosette’s wedding; Javert’s suicide
themes · The importance of love and compassion; social injustice in nineteenth-century France; the long-term effects of the French Revolution on French society
motifs · The plight of orphans; disguises and pseudonyms; resurrection
symbols · Myriel’s silver candlesticks; snakes, insects, and birds
foreshadowing · The novel hints that Monsieur Madeleine is in fact Jean Valjean.
and gavroche dies and the rest of france build a barricade and end the french revolution
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Les Miserables is based around the turning point in French history, and it explores the nature of this change in terms of society, and uses this as a basis for explaining the revolution. It explains how the ‘miserables’, or ‘victims’, damned into a life of thievery and being the scum of the Earth aren’t inherently bad. The society which has not given them a chance forces them to be bad, or do bad things. Instead of understanding their inner goodness and their plight to change their ways, or giving them some kindness or hope, they a... Read more→
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It says: "Fantine falls in love with Tholomyès, a debonair upper-class student who obeys upper-class social customs and leaves Fantine even though she is pregnant with his child." This is wrong. Fantine was not pregnant. Ten months after the affair ended, Cosette was almost 3 years old; therefore she was already born when he left Fantine.
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