Just recently, I had finished reading Victor Hugo's world-renowned novel "Les Misérables" or Les Mis for short. To anyone who wants to renew their view on life and humanity as a whole, I recommend you to read this novel - it definitely helped me regain my passion for reading and writing but it also gave me fresh ideas that I would like to tap into. However, before you read it or do anything with the book, you need to be prepared in the sense that you need to have an understanding of the human essence and you need to sit through more than 1,000 pages of the book - patience is a must. The book I read was somewhat abridged but it still contained the fullness of the story and the emotions that are brought about with it. But, if you want to get the whole gist of the fantastic journey of Jean Valjean, then read the 2,000-page novel if you have the time. This novel has truly deeply moved me and touched me. I actually have a last song syndrome on "I Dreamed a Dream" and I still keep on singing it.
This novel goes deep into the heart of man. It tugs at your emotions as if there is a divine force that just moves one's core. There are many moments in the book where you would feel pity and guilt. It is in these moments that life will be unfolded before your eyes. This is not a mere drama. This novel exemplifies the idea of my blog, "Living in Angst". This is the story of a poor, old soul getting back his youth through love. I promise you that by the end of the book, you would have wept buckets, if not then I do not know whether you're human or not. But to put it simply, the author wants to reveal what compassion and love can do to a hardened soul. Since this was written in a time of blood and sorrow, what people need is hope. Through this novel, the author was able to bring hope not only for his men but for millions of people, spanning generations.
Les Mis is an awe-inspiring, tear-jerking, heart-tugging story telling us the wickedness of the world we live in; that in it one cannot live as a human being because he is a wretch, a convict, a criminal, an outcast or because of his miserable state; that he has no choice but to live outside the boundaries of society because of the labels imprinted on him. But this story also tells us that THERE IS HOPE. Even if a man's heart turns to stone, even if he hates his whole existence, there is hope that he will change. Life is not as vile as many people think. I remember a line from the Lord of the Rings when Frodo asked Sam what they were holding on to and his answer was: "...that there is some good in this world." I believe that even if the core of the earth grumbles and roars, there is a place of solace in our world. It may not be some Eden, it may not even be a physical place but I believe there is such a place.
Actually, reading Les Mis is just a requirement given to us in our English class and many of us can breathe a sigh of relief because the test on Les Mis is done. But does it end there? In and of itself, life is a war and the world is a battlefield. Everyday, we face difficult adversities; they are like giants that loom on us. When push comes to shove, man goes to war. That is what happened in the book which is a historical event per se. But it is not only a struggle of violence that goes on in this world. Each one of us has an internal battle just as the characters of Les Mis do. There are unseen forces that we have to fight against. People in history fought for freedom, liberty, and for hope that there is something better for them. Jean Valjean fought for integrity, justice, and truth. How about you? What are you fighting for?
P.S. I would like to hear from the readers what they think. Also, a movie adaptation of Les Misérables is coming this December featuring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried. I would recommend watching the movie.