Jean Valjean's Decision To Save Champmathieu In Les Miserables By Victor Hugo

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Why save someone while ruining the lives of multiple others? It’s a simple question which is presented every time Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. It’s unfortunate, however, that Jean Valjean didn’t think his decisions all the way through, particularly the decision to save Champmathieu. Jean Valjean made the wrong decision when he went to the court to save Champmathieu because he ruined the lives of factory workers, is unable to help the common folk, and put his life on the line for someone who couldn’t give much back to society. In both the theatrical and literary version, Jean Valjean explains how much these factory workers depend on him to live and provide for their family. These poor factory workers need their jobs. Jean Valjean in fact, knows this, and understands that they need him to survive. This is shown in the book a couple times, but mainly, this is portrayed in the song, Who Am I?. “I am the master of hundreds of workers; they all look to me.” (Who Am I?) This verse from the song is generally the main thing he thought about when he considered just staying and letting Champmathieu take the blame. Jean also included another line of song, which expands the depth of this point. “If I abandon them, how will they live, if I am not free?” (Who Am I?) is the line that really exposes this idea that he should have stayed and helped. With all the strength Jean Valjean possesses, you would think he would be able to do a simple math equation. One life saved is not much
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