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Fiction featuring Care Experience

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Les Misérables (novel)

Victor Costa Hugo et al.


Les Misérablesis a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, and considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. The prevalence of orphans and unusual family structures in Les Misérables is the most obvious indicator that French society and politics in the period described have gone terribly wrong. Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, Gavroche, Pontmercy, and Gillenormand are all separated from their family or loved ones for economic or political reasons. Marius embodies the disastrous effects of politics on family structure, torn as he is between Gillenormand’s monarchism and Pontmercy’s embrace of Napoléon. Social instability and poverty, meanwhile, make orphans of Cosette, Valjean, Fantine, and Gavroche. With the exception of Gavroche, whose home life is so wretched that he is probably better off on his own, these characters are unhappy and lonely because they are separated from their parents and have no one to turn to when they most need help.

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