Effects of Love in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

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The effects of love are different for each individual. Professor John Cacioppo discovered, “... love deprivation, unrequited love and loneliness have negative consequences on work performance and mental health...40 percent of people who are rejected in love experience depression” (A). Those who have happy childhood experiences filled with love, are more able to express their feelings of love to others. However, those whose childhood experiences lack the emotion of love, have difficulty showing any emotion to another. It is they who are sad, lonely, and depressed. In the novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, he illustrates the diverse reactions expressed because of love. Jean Valjean, Cosette, and Marius go through several experiences that enable them to feel the profound effects of love.

Several people in Jean Valjeans life allow him to rediscover the meaning of love. The good bishop is the one responsible for initiating this rediscovery. Jean Valjean's new life begins when the bishop utters the words, “Jean Valjean, my brother, you belong no longer to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I am buying for you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!” (30). This opens Jean Valjean to the good of the world and allows him to immerse himself in the love Cosette offers him, something he couldn't do without the help of the bishop. The bishop assists Jean Valjean in seeing that there are people who will help him despite his rocky background. This creates a reason for Jean Valjean to act on the experience to rebuild his life and become an honest man. This change of heart helps him feel the love that Cosette displays for him, which he has never known. He slowly begins to love and care f...

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...urely die” (386). Marius' mind is inept and his only existing desire is to be with Cosette again. He yearns for her love. When Cosette leaves him, he finds himself in an abyss of depression. Because of his childhood experiences, Marius is shaped into a man who cannot control his emotions or express them reasonably.

A life changing journey is taken as Jean Valjean, Cosette and Marius feel the emotion of love and learn to cope with its effects. Each character soon realizes that the effects of love are very powerful. Happiness, self-confidence, and depression are all found during the enduring journey. Studies have proven that, “...without love we die...” (B). Jean Valjean, Cosette, and Marius realize that they can not survive without experiencing the profound effects of love.

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