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A Year with Les Miz: Life Sentences

“Do not forget, never forget, that you have promised to use this money in becoming an honest man.”

Les Miz, p. 86

Valjean never promised, not really. Yet, when M. Muriel does not prosecute the theft of the silver and in fact thrusts the forgotten candlesticks at Valjean with the above admonition, Valjean realizes the real punishment for his actions.

Liberation is not deliverance. One gets free from the galleys, but not from the sentence.

Les Miz, p. 80

He now must apply the grace and mercy he has received to others. He must learn to weep again. He must remember what landed him in prison in the first place. His failure with Little Gervais reminds him. His sister’s starving children blinded him with desperation. Now he gets a second chance.

Light entered it on one side, and darkness on the other.

Lez Miz, p. 75

But, what can he do with it once he has failed again? What more is possible after calling and searching in vain for Little Gervais?

Is there not in every human soul…a first spark, a divine element, incorruptible in this world, immortal in the other, which good can develop, fan, ignite, and make to glow with splendor, and which evil can never wholly extinguish?

Les Miz, p. 75

Then there is a crackling within his hardened heart.

That which was certain, that which he did not doubt, was that he was no longer the same man, that everything about him was changed, that it was no longer in his power to make it as though the Bishop had not spoken to him and had not touched him.

Les Miz, p.90

On his knees, he sees this guiding illumination, although as yet he is unsure where it will take him.

In the meantime a gentle light rested over this life and this soul.

Les Miz, p. 92

What promises toward honesty have you forgotten to keep?

Keep up your reading goal! Read through Volume I, Book Third by February 5, 2015.

Categories: A Year with Les Miz

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