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Les Miserables By Victor Hugo -Social Injustice - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo-Social Injustice Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables was first released in 1862, it was an instant hit amongst individuals who at the time viewed the French society as unjust and was a true epitome of social injustices…
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Download file to see previous pages These themes are stressed by Hugo’s thoughts and views on politics, religion and justice; this forms a major part of the discourse. Though each of the mentioned themes are evident throughout the novel, they become more clearer on following certain characters who form the spine of the novel. These are, Jean Valjean and Javert, it is through these characters that we witness the extent of social injustice in early France. Social Injustice in Early France Social justice takes many forms; however, this study restricts its analysis to the three forms of social injustice highlighted by Hugo. Hugo in his book Les Miserables brings into focus three areas that require urgent attention, education, criminal justice and the welfare of women. These also happen to constitute a major part of social injustice not only as discussed by Hugo but also as highlighted by different social definitions. A look at France at the time of Hugo’s writing reveals a largely stratified society which was yet to receive the promises and aspirations of those who participated in the French revolution of 1789. It is understood that proper governance which would inevitably translate to social justice was one of the major driving force prior to the French Revolution. Therefore, it was hoped that with the revolution social justice would be achieved. Social justice in this regard referred to equitable distribution of resources, observance of equity in terms of gender and equal employment opportunities. However, close to a century after the revolution this still remained a pipe dream as highlighted in Hugo’s book. French socialists largely blamed capitalism; they argued that capitalism was an immoral system. They looked at capitalism as the reason behind the long working hours, child labor, poverty of working people, unemployment, income inequalities, social injustice and multiple other problems (Pejovich 18). It is these very concerns that form the backdrop of Hugo’s Les Miserables, he is concerned of the rampant inequality and disregard of human equity. This particular concern is highlighted in the case of Fantine a young energetic woman. She is left to care for her child after the child’s father deserts them; she undergoes immeasurable suffering including a six month jail term for defending her dignity. This is just one instance of injustice against women in the novel; other injustices identified by the French sociologists are rife in Hugo’s book. Child labour is seen in the case of Cosette, Fantine’s daughter who is forced to work by her custodians who still go ahead to demand money for her upkeep. In short, early France was driven by struggles between two main stratifications, the rich and the poor. The rich decided how the poor would lead their lives and provided for systems which completely ignored the rights and privileges of the poor. Most notably, they used law enforcers to continually suppress the poor in a bid to ensure subordination. The face of such force in Hugo’s Les Miserables is Javert, Javer was born of a convict father but later denounced both his parents. He chose to work in prison as a guard; at one point he was mandated to guard against a chain gang whose one of the members happened to be Jean Valjean. Javert later on joins the police force, through his new position he is mandated to rid the city off offenders. One of the offenders is Jean Valjean who is apparently a repeat ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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