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Les Miserables Essay, Research Paper

Throughout peoples lives they will be influenced due to other people and events. In the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Jean is influenced by three different people. The first influence on Jean was by the bishop. Another influence on Jean was Cosette. A third influence on Jean was Javert. These influences can all be related to influences in my life.

The bishop?s influence on Jean relates to my life and the way my grandfather has influenced me. 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. 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”(1/24). When the bishop say?s this, Jean 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 who where poor.

A person in my life who has influenced me in a way that relates to the way that the bishop influenced Jean is my grandfather. One way that my grandfather has influenced me is by buying me a car on my sixteenth birthday even though I hadn?t asked him for it. Another way that my grandfather has been an influence in my life is by helping me make important decisions throughout my life. The last and most important influence that my grandfather has had on me is by taking me into his house and raising me like I was his own son, when my dad and mom where still to young to raise a child. These are just a few examples of how my grandfather has influenced my life. The influences in my life with my grandfather are closely related to the way the bishop had influenced Jean?s 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 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. 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 doing good for Cosette. 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 secrete 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”(4/293). By saying this Jean is confessing every thing about his life so that Cosette can be happy wit Marius. These are all ways that Cosette has had an influence on Jean.

A person in my life who?s influences on me can be related to Cosettes influence on Jean is my mom. One way that my mom has influenced me through my life is by giving me someone to love when I?m mad at my dad or other people in my life. Another way that my mom has influenced me is by helping me through problems that no one else can help me with. The last example of an influence on my life by my mom is by trusting me to places alone or with friends, even though they it could be far away and she won?t know where exactly I will be. These are all examples of how my mom has influenced me throughout my life. My mom?s influences on me are similar to the influences that Cosette has had on Jean.

Javert?s influences on Jean can be related to the influences my dad has had on me. 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. 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. 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 as an officer can crack when giving something that he dosent?t understand”(3/148). 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.

An individual in my life who has influenced me in the same way that Javert has influenced Jean is my dad. When ever I do something wrong and my dad punishes me for it, I am always mad at him and argue about the punishment, even though I know he is doing it for my own good, so I will learn a lesson. Another example of how my dad has influenced my is by not always allowing me to do stuff with my friends because he wants to go somewhere together, I never like the idea, but he has taught me that it is important to spend time with your family as well as your friends. The last and most surprising influence that my dad has had on my life is, when I wrecked my car, he told me that he wasn?t mad just glad that I wasn?t hurt. These are all ways that my dad has influenced me throughout my life. The influences that my dad has had on me and the influences that Javert has had on Jean both turn out to be similar.

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

Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables.

Ed. Grace Benscoter, Trans. Mabel Podge Holmes.

Chicago: Laidlaw Brothers, 1945.

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