Les Miserables Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Les Miserables.
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Change and Transformation

The most important theme the novel examines is that of transformation, in the individual and in society. Jean Valjean, the chief protagonist, is transformed from a misanthropic and potentially Violent ex-convict to a man capable of heroic love and self-sacrifice. The force that transforms him is love. The Bishop of Digne offers Valjean unconditional love, trusting the former criminal with his life and giving him all that he can. Valjean finds inspiration for an entirely new life from this example. He learns to put another person first when he raises Cosette as his own daughter, and he endures moral trials, such as risking his life to rescue Marius, who loves Cosette and whom Valjean hates. On a broader scale, the workers and students on the barricade fight for social transformation, to create a new France without injustice and poverty.

Class Conflict

The central struggle is also...

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This section contains 699 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Les Miserables Study Guide
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Les Miserables from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.