Les Miserables

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Les Miserables

Throughout peoples lives they will be influenced due to other people and events. There are many ways people can be influenced. In the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, three different people influence Jean Valjean. The first influence on Jean was by the bishop. Another influence on Jean was Cosette. A third influence on Jean was Javert. Each of these are people who play a large role in Jean's life.

The bishop was one of Jeans first and most important influences involving kindness and forgiveness. The first way that the bishop shows kindness to Jean is by inviting him into his home for dinner and a place to sleep, even though he is an ex-convict and no one else would help him. "Monsieur, sit down and warm yourself: we are going to take supper presently, and you bed will be made ready whil you sup." (Page 26) The next and most powerful act of kindness and forgiveness that the bishop shows to Jean is, when he tells the police that the silver which Jean had actually stole was a gift, and that he had forgotten to take his gift of candlesticks. When the bishop says, "Ah there you are! I am glad to see you, but I gave you the candlesticks too, which are also silver and will bring you two hundred francs"(Page 38). When the bishop say's this, Jean Valjean is filled with surprise and disbelief, and did not know what to do. From that day on Jean would remember the bishop and his kindness towards him, and use this memory to help others.

Javert has many different types of influences on Jean. One way that Javert influences Jean is by sending him to the galleys for the first time even though he was just stealing to feed his family. Jean was turned cold and cruel by this, he thought that the whole world was as cruel as Javert seemed to be. This cruelty only leads Jean into more trouble. "See, there is where he got out; he jumped down Cochefilet lane. The abominable fellow! He has stolen our silver!" (Page 37) This shows that even after Jean was released from the galleys he was hardened from the influences and still was a thief. The second way that Javert influences Jean is by testing Jeans new side of kindness and gratitude by sending him to the galleys a second time, for saving a wrongfully accused man.

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