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A Year with Les Miz: Revolution

The Revolution came.

from Les Misérables, Volume 1, Book First, Chapter 1, page 17

The New Year inspires resolutions. My desire to read Les Misérables this year falls into this category. Perhaps zeal will abandon me, but creating documentation with this blog provides some incentive at least.

Not long into my reading, I came across the above statement, and it prompted a word study. Resolution, as in one made at the beginning of the year, refers to a determination, an intent, or a vow. Revolution implies “a sudden, vast change in a situation, a discipline, or the way of thinking and behaving.”

As France endures wartime revolution at the beginning of  Les Misérables, M. Muriel experiences a revolution of his own. His status alters radically from being a married man concerned only with societal mores to a bishop with a pauper’s morale.

In a time of universal deceit–telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

George Orwell, author of Animal Farm and 1984.

As I considered both of these words and M. Muriel’s transformation, I began to apply these ideas to my own goals for the year. What untried, underachieved areas require renewed commitment on my part? What turning points might I anticipate or encounter that will redefine me by this time next year?

It would be unrealistic to believe that one book could bring a complete change.

Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring.

But, books like Orwell’s and Carson’s at least start the rotation of thought. If anything, I expect my reading of Les Misérables will adjust my perspective on poverty and excess. It may only spark insight. Or an internal battle could ignite between warring ideologies. Perhaps my life-path will swerve in some about-face. Either way, on to the next page.

What other books have influenced a revolution either in the world or in your personal life?

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