Les Miserables

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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"Call me monsieur the inspector!" (Page 92) Javert is making him be formal towards him even though he saved another mans life in risk of his own. The last and most unexpected influence that Javert has on Jean is by letting Jean go free, even though it will tear him up inside and he could no longer be an officer of the law. Jean shows that he understood what Javert was going through by saying, "Even an officer with great power is an officer who can crack when giving something that he dosent't understand"(Page 148). By saying this Jean shows that he is thankful for what Javert has done for him. These are all ways that Javert has influenced Jean throughout his life.

Cosette's influence on Jean is directly related to the influence that my mom has on me. Cosette influences Jean in many different ways throughout the book. One way that she influences Jean is by showing him that she trusts him by going with him when he comes to the Thenardiers Inn, this showed Jean that he was doing a good thing and that Cosette would trust him. "Good morning monsier."(Page 108)That shows that she is happy to seem him and has no hesitation to greet him. The second way that Cosette influenced Jean was by simply loving him and giving him a different reason to live, since he was now living and helping Cosette. (Father! My father! You shall live. You are going to live. I will have you live to you hear!" (Page 330) This quote shows how even though she knows he is not her true father, she still refers to him as that because she loves him. The third way that Jean is influenced by Cosette is by making Marius swear not to tell Cosette, so that she wouldn't be torn apart by the bad news. After Jean tells Marius his secret he says, "if it had not been for wanting to see her, I should not have made this confession; I should merely have gone away"(Page 257). By saying this Jean is confessing every thing about his life so that Cosette can be happy with Marius. These are all ways that Cosette has had an influence on Jean Valjean.

 During the book Les Miserables, you notice that influence plays a significant role in the way people, in this case Jean Valjean acts. Throughout a persons life they can find individuals who have influenced them just as characters from the book influenced Jean.
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