Inspiration by Literature: Les Mis (Part 3/3)

This really should be called inspiration by movies. I am getting impatient; I really want to get my book in the mail. I’m so excited to read the book, even though it’s over a thousand pages long. I don’t know…I can’t remember the last time I got really excited about a book. And, the funny thing is, it’s not a new book either, so it’s not like I’m waiting for it to be released. The movie has seriously made a dent in my life, but in a good way. I’m taking all the themes I learned from a movie and I’ve contemplated them. Although, the main reason why I want to read the book is so that I can analyze the other themes in there. I’m so used to it because that’s what we did for AP English and Literature in 12th grade, and I had to do it last year in my Irish Literature writing class. My Irish Lit class was much more creative because our professor would only give us a good grade if we had a really creative essay. For example, my essay on James Joyce’s The Dubliners, I picked the short story of “The Sisters” and I related it to the legend of the Holy Grail. I wrote my essay on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest on the food and how it represented repressed sexuality. So, I’m very excited on what I can pull out of this book. I think I should start reading up on Victor Hugo’s life and the time that he wrote it because, believe it or not, it has a lot of emphasis on the book. As a writer myself, I would most definitely say that personal life is a major part of writing a book. I feel that it is common that a character in the book is a mirror of the author; maybe of who they are, and/or who they want to be. It’s like they say, the author does not write for an audience, but for himself.

Anyways, enough with mindless gibber-jabber. I am going to finish this post of trilogies (although there might be more coming when I’m reading the book…BEWARE!) by talking about the themes of light vs. darkness and hope.

I don’t know when I first realized the theme of light vs. darkness, but when I did I kept seeing it. And the more I think about it, the better the director sees in my eyes. Javert paints Valjean as the dark creature; he even sings about it in his song “Stars”; the beginning quote is “There, out in the darkness, a fugitive running, fallen from God”. And, I don’t know how I noticed this, too, but  I thought it was so interesting that Javert only prays outside, when it’s nighttime out, and never in a church. It’s as if the director is saying that he is the one who is really “dark”. If you noticed, Valjean keeps the candles that he stole throughout the entire movie; and they’re lit,too, as if they are symbolizing the flickering flame in him.

When Cosette enter’s Valjeans life, everything seems to brighten up, as if she is the light of the world; she does the same to Marius. One can conclude that love is the light in life, and it makes the world seem a lot brighter. In my eyes, she represents hope because she is that flame, that little light. And was is hope, but a flame in the darkness? Hope is what drives one out of the darkness. She drove Valjean out of the darkness, and he even risked his life to save the man that she came to love. He became a hero in her eyes, and Marius’s eyes. Valjean, who was once a thief, redeemed himself in the eyes of God, and after that he was taken away; it was if his purpose on life was done.

At this point, I don’t know what to make of Javert’s character, and of his ending. It seems to me that his darkness swallowed him and lead him to his ultimate death. Although, it could be that the reason for that is he had no love in his life, and the love that Valjean showed him, and proved to him, drove him to the ultimate darkness. Javert and Valjean are almost the same person. In their song “The Confrontation” you learn that Javert was born in a jail and he said that he “grew up with scum like [Valjean]”. He got out of that mess, but he turned again his past instead of trying to fix it; Valjean made a different path, which made him walk to the path of light. He tried to help those in need, like he once was, like his sister once was. He cared about those less fortunate of him, and he even took his sister’s daughter under his care.

The last thing I want to talk about is the group of revolutioners; Enjolras’s group of revolters. They had so much hope, and even that group sung a song that contrasted light and dark. The song Red and Black has lyrics of: “Red-the blood of angry men, black- the dark of ages past. Red-a world about to dawn, Black-the night that ends at last.” Not only does it have those two to contrast, but it inserts words like “bone” and “ghost” to represent light; who, no surprise here, are in context with the character of Cosette. Red, which is the color that Enjolras chooses to wear, represents the light, the dawn, the hope. Black, which is the color of their rivals-the French corrupted government- represents the dark, the night, the end. Even though they all die,except for Marius who was saved, they fought with hope, and they lit “the flame”…which, ironically is red!

We all need more “red” in our life. Passion, love, flame, dawn, light. Hope. Red will overpower the black, because that’s what fires do. What’s that famous quote from Harry Potter?…oh yes, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light”. It just requires determination, hope, love, motivation, positive thoughts, and believing in yourself. But everyone can do it, if you put your mind to it.


About themosthighhistoryguru

College student at Boston University studying psychology. Figuring life out day-by-day.

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