3.06.2011

Les Miserables

My love affair with Les Miserables started long before my love of musical theatre. During my sophmore year of High School, my teacher Mrs. Jesse assigned us the abridged version of the Victor Hugo classic. While most of my fellow students chose to read the cliff notes, something immediately drew me to this novel.

Not only is it an extremely touching story of a man who is tormented by his unfair imprisonment, but it's also a commentary on humanity in general. How we hold grudges, start wars, undermine eachother and most awfully never forgive ourselves. Like the books says:

"Have no fear of robbers or murderers. They are external dangers, petty dangers. We should fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices the real murderers."

During my senior year I saw the stage musical for the first time and was struck to the core. As Jean Valjean sings his last few notes in a perfect falsetto, he leaves his final piece of advice "to love another person is to see the face of God". I was moved to tears.

Shortly after that I rented the movie version with Liam Neeson, another great rendition of the novel.

What ignites such love in my soul for this novel is not the revolutionaries or the love stories. It's the simple and profound character of the lead man Jean Valjean. He is the epitome of humility. He has the strength of character during a time when most men are lacking so, and he never stops giving. After a grueling life of being hunted, mistreated, uprooted and scorned; his last days are spent caring for the feelings of other people.

The very long winded point i'm trying to make is this:

I want to be like Jean Valjean. I want the humility, the knowledge that God will look after me, the strength to forgive people who hurt me, the love for others, the generosity, the character that this man had. Here is a link to the Youtube version of his plea to God called "Bring Him Home"

If you haven't read the book- read it. If you haven't seen the musical- see it.

"Love is the foolishness of men. The wisdom of God" -Les Miserables.

2 comments :

  1. I've read the book too. Love it! Love everything about Les Mis~

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  2. I had the same experience. I think it was my senior year. I fell in love with that book to the point of obsession. When the musical came out a few years after that, I longed to see it, but yet was a little skeptical. You know how that is ... once you've read a book, movies and such always disappoint. However, the musical stands on it's own. I love it. I am going to see it this Sunday once again. Thank you, and it's good to see someone else who must have been like me in their youth.

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