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Feminism in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Les Miserables is a fantastic novel written by Victor Hugo, which considers a thorny question of feminism and patriarchy Les Miserables was first published 1862 and it can be named one of the greatest novels of the 19thcentury. In 19thcentury literature, female characters normally are just placed in novels and stories to complete the image of male protagonist. Female characters don't drive the plot, they only sacrifice for the men. Women were shown as a mother, a daughter, a wife or a love interest and they were looked at in a passive light. Victor Hugo shows Cosette as a beautiful woman with typical feminine ideals. We can see that Cosette is quite passive and she exists only to bring pleasure to Marius and Valjean. Readers can think that Cosette represents anti-feminist ideas and this might show Hugo in a negative light. However, when we see such characters as Fantine and Eponine, everyone can see that Hugo represents women as proactive characters with their own storyline. By showing women in different ways, Hugo shows his sympathy and admiration for women. He shows the fight for justice these women face every day. Cosette in Les Miserables is a typical female character who is looked down upon in feminist critique. She is shown as quite passive, but beautiful girl. Nevertheless, Hugo shows Cosette as a strong and enduring child. Victor Hugo doesn’t show Cosette’s bravery as a girl but rather as a person. Cosette is defined by her actions, not her gender. Her character may be seen as anti-feminist, but Hugo just uses Cosette to represent another type of women in society. One feminist ideal becomes very popular after Les Miserables was published. It is the slogan “the personal is political”. This slogan represents the idea that there is a direct link between personal experience and larger political structures. Instead of ignoring the female character, Hugo draws attention to the underrepresented women of Paris. Hugo tells us a lot of his ideas through the character of Fantine, a symbol for the many good but poor women driven to despair and death by a society. Fantine symbolizes women forced into sex work and Fantine is not a victim of her actions but she’s a victim of society. The author tells us that it is extremely important to keep on fighting until the end. The women of Les Miserables suffer and sacrifice for men. The only way, then, that Les Miserables might be anti-feminist is if Javert and his worldview had won. Les Miserables is a critique of social injustice, poverty and oppression and that sounds like feminism.
Les Miserables is a fantastic novel written by Victor Hugo, which considers a thorny question of feminism and patriarchy Les Miserables was first published 1862 and it can be named one of the greatest novels of the 19thcentury. In 19thcentury literature, female characters normally are just placed in novels and stories to complete the image of male protagonist.
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100002660
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CREATED ON
October 18, 2016
COMPLETED ON
October 19, 2016
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$16
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