Yayang M. Naibaho
Reg No. 020705038
FACULTY OF LETTERS
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH SUMATRA
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Praise, honor, and glory to the Lord who has given me a great opportunity to study in University of North Sumatra and helped me to accomplish this thesis.
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to my supervisors, Dra. Martha Pardede, MS, and Dra. Swesana Mardia Lubis, M.
Hum, for their constructive critics and suggestions in supervising this thesis. I would also thank all lecturers in the Faculty of literature of University of North
I would also like to express my deepest gratitude and love to my family: T. br Sitohang (grandmother), Asiah (mother), G. Naibaho (Uncle), D.
Naibaho (Aunt), Martina Samosir (cousin), and my lovely sister Lina Naibaho.
Thank you for every support, care, encouragement, advice, and love.
I would like to thank my friends in small group “Metanoia-Megumi”
(K’Selly, K’Fristianty, Timbul, B’Rudi, Luther, Maringan, K’Anna, K’Astri,
K’Mega, and K’Melda). It is a blessing for me to have you in my life!
Thank you also for my sisters in small group “Wonderful Grace”
(Ane, Asna, Emmy, Pink-Pink, Putri, and Swarni). Thanks for the warm friendship and wonderful time we spend together.
Thank you for lots of friends in KMK FS that I cannot mention all here, especially for K’Novi (Thanks for not give up in encouraging me to accomplish this thesis), Ika, Era, Juwita, Lely, Lita, Juleo, Ganda, Hotman, Febri,
Shera, Mona, Ivan, and Santa.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA Finally, I realize that this thesis is still far from perfect. I welcome all critics and suggestions to make this thesis better. May this thesis will be useful for every one who would like to read or analyze the subject matter that related to this thesis’ analysis.
Medan, June 2008
Yayang M. Naibaho
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA ABSTRAK
YAYANG M. NAIBAHO. An Analysis of Romanticism in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Sastra Inggris, Fakultas Sastra, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Medan. 2008.
Skripsi yang berjudul An Analysis of Romanticisim in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables ini adalah suatu studi analisa Romantisme dalam sebuah novel berjudul Les Miserables. Novel tersebut merupakan karya seorang sastrawan besar Prancis, Victor Hugo. Romantisme pada dasarnya merupakan reaksi penolakan terhadap norma-norma dan aturan-aturan dalam Klasikisme dan Neoklasikisme, serta rasionalisme dari periode Pencerahan. Romantisme memiliki banyak ide, ciri khas, konsep atau pemikiran, dan unsur-unsur yang beragam. Dalam skripsi ini, unsur-unsur romantisme yang dikaji dibatasi pada lima unsur saja, yaitu: kepercayaan akan sifat dasar manusia yang baik, penekanan pada perasaan, kesukaan akan melankolisme, ketertarikan pada orang biasa atau orang kebanyakan, dan perayaan cinta romantis. Dalam menganalisa unsur-unsur romantisme yang terdapat dalam Les Miserables, penulis memakai metode deskriptif, yaitu: penulis membaca novel, memilih dan menyeleksi data berupa kutipan dari novel, menginterpretasi dn menganalisis data, serta membuat kesimpulan. Pada bab 1 skripsi ini diperkenal- kan latar belakang permasalahan, permasalahan, batasan permasalahan, tujuan analisis, teori analisis, manfaat analisis, dan ulasan dari beberapa referensi yang dipergunakan. Bab 2 adalah penjelasan teoritis tentang Romantisme, baik defenisi, perkembangan, dan unsur-unsur dalam Romantisme. Pada bab 3 dijelaskan mengenai metode analisis yang dipakai dalam melakukan analisa/penelitian. Pada bab 4 dijabarkan analisis dari lima unsur Romantisme yang terdapat dalam novel Les Miserables. Bab 5 merupakan bagian penutup, dimana kesimpulan hasil analisa dan saran dibuat.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ...... …………………………………………… i
ABSTRAK …………………………………..………………………………... iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS …………………….……………………………… iv
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 The Background of the Study ………..……………………………. 2
1.2 The Statement of the Problem ………...…………………………… 3
1.3 The Objectives of the Study …..…………………………………… 5
1.4 The Scope of the Study ………………………….………………… 5
1.5 The Significance of the Study ………………………...…………… 5
1.6 Theoretical Approach ……………………………………………… 6
1.7 The Review of Related Literature ……………………………….… 6
CHAPTER 2: THEORETICAL REVIEW
2. 1. Definition of Romanticism …………………………………….….. 8
2. 2. The Development of Romanticism ……………………………..... 11
2. 3. Elements of Romanticism …………………………………..…… 18
CHAPTER 3: THE METHOD OF THE STUDY
3. 1. The Data Collecting Procedure ……………………………..…… 21
3. 2. The Data Selecting Procedure ………………………………….... 21
3. 3. The Data Analyzing Procedure ……………………………..…… 21
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA CHAPTER 4: THE ANALYSIS OF ROMANTICISM IN VICTOR HUGO’S
4. 1. Belief on The Human Good Nature ………………………..……. 22
4. 2. Emphasis on Emotion ……………………………………….…... 28
4. 3. Predilection for Melancholy ……………………………………... 29
4. 4. Interest in The Common Man ………………………………….... 34
4. 5. Celebration of Romantic Love ………………………………..…. 39
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION
5. 1. Conclusion ………………………………………………...... 43
5. 2. Suggestion ………………………………………………..……… 43
APPENDICES SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF VICTOR HUGO
PLOT SUMMARY OF THE NOVEL LES MISERABLES
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA CHAPTER 1
Literature will always be worth to be discussed and learned. As a work of art (Wellek and Warren 1962: 3), literature provides not only satisfaction on reading it, but also much wisdom. Literature is able to make us aware about the truth concerning with human life. Richard Taylor (1981:2) states it :
“A Work of literature does not necessarily give us accurate information about the way of life is actually lived (although it may do so as a secondary consideration), rather that it causes us to recognize the truth about human existence through the direct presentation of selected experiences.”
Though some people might argue whether the ‘truth’ presented in literature is really correct or not, but however, comparing with scientific analysis literature is much more effective in influencing the readers.
Literature plays important roles in human life. The complexity of human life tends to make people neglect the most important things in life itself. People trapped in bustle, daily routines, and all kind of activities. They are stirred by numerous ambitions, achievements, and goals, without even realize whether those things are worth enough to be considered. As an example, in modern life many people drowned in the spirit of materialism and hedonism. They focus their attention on gathering money and material wealth. People measure another based on someone’s appearance, property, and social status. Emily Dickinson’s critical view is appropriate to describe this condition, since most people can only honor the ‘somebody’ person, means every one who has good looking, having much
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA money, success, or social status, while ignore the others who have none of those qualities.
“I’m nobody who are you? ...... How dreary to be somebody How public like frog To tell your name lifelong day To an admiring bog” (Pardede 2005:11)
Pleasure becomes the highest priority, while science and technology development support it by inventing more instruments to create comfortable living. Many people do not realize that there are greater values and greater act of living comparing with the paradigm of materialism and hedonism.
Here, literature can be a means to reinvent the values of humanities and other most essential things in life. Literature can challenge people’s view on how they should perceive life properly. Literature can also encourage people reflecting their thoughts and subtly persuade them to have better values of life.
1. 1. The Background of the Problem
Romanticism is one of the unique literary movements in the history.
Lasting from the end of eighteenth century unto the mid of nineteenth century, it can be seen as a rejection of the precepts of order, calm, harmony, balance, idealization, and rationality that typified Classicism and Neo Classicism at the time (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica: 160). Even, many experts considered romanticism as a movement of counter enlightenment (Renaissance). It can be
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA proved, whereas the thinkers of the enlightenment emphasize the primacy of deductive reason, romanticism emphasized intuition, imagination, and feeling.
Coleridge. Since the time, spirit of romanticism had broadened to embrace the literature of almost all European countries. One of the great figures in romantic literature is Victor Hugo, a poet, novelist, dramatist, and an important writer from
French. In his country, French, Victor Hugo was considered as one of the greatest poets, but he is better known abroad as novelist, especially because of his novel
Hugo started to write Les Miserables /lā-mē-za-‘rābl/ in 1845, but the novel could be finished and published firstly in 1862. However, Les Miserables become one of the great classic novels, that continued to be widely read long after
Victor Hugo has passed away. Soon after the novel has been published, it was quickly translated into many languages. The novel’s name means ‘the wretched’ or ‘the out cash’, but English translations generally carry the French title. The story centers on a convict namely Jean Valjean /zhān-Val-‘zhān/. He is a son of poor farmer who cannot enjoy any formal education. He earns money for his family by doing hard works with very low wage. However, in a severe winter, he cannot get any job while his family begin to starve. Jean decide to steal a loaf of bread from nearby shop, but unfortunately he is caught, sent to jail, and sentenced unjustly with nineteen years in prison. Life in prison for years make his heart hardened and wicked, after he has got out. He eventually be soften and reform when he meet a kind priest who friendly welcome him in his house and treat Jean
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA with great respect. Ever since, Jean promises to lead an honest life, and the rest of his life show what great struggles he has to perform, in order to keep the commitment.
I am interested in analyzing the Les Miserables due to its wonderful content, whether observed from its message or its style of writing. Moreover, the
Romanticism’s elements which existed within the novel are quite attractive and capable to give much insight and wisdom to be learned.
1. 2. The Statement of the Problem.
I have read Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. I think Les Miserables is a great and wonderful novel. Its wonderful style of writing and message inspire me very much. Victor Hugo, as the writer of the novel, is considered as the leader of the Romantic Movement in France (Encyclopaedia Britannica: 681). And in the novel, I found several issues related to romanticism. For example, the novel shows several concepts of Romanticism, such as: belief on the human good nature, emphasis on imagination and emotion, predilection for melancholy, interest in the common man, and the celebration of romantic love.
This fact makes me eager to deeply observe and analyze the novel.
Concerning with this, I would like to find and analyze:
1. What elements of Romanticism can be found in Victor Hugo’s Les
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA 1. 3. The Objectives of the Study.
The analysis of this novel has definite objectives that must be achieved.
Les Miserables is belonged to the romantic novel. I would like to find and analyze what elements of Romanticism can be found in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.
1. 4. The Scope of the Study.
A good analysis needs a clear limitation or scope of its study. I focus my study to find and analyze the elements of Romanticism that found in Victor
Hugo’s Les Miserables. The elements of Romanticism to be found and analyzed are: : belief on the human good nature, emphasis on imagination and emotion, predilection for melancholy, interest in the common man, and the celebration of romantic love.
1. 5. The Significance of the Study
An analysis is done due to certain significance it has. The significance of the analysis can be both theoretical and practical. It means, the result of an analysis could be beneficial for developing knowledge and insight, and also can be applied for daily living (Jabrohim 2003: 25). Based on the statement above, this analysis has two major significance. First, I would like to learn more about romanticism, especially its characteristics and ideas. I believe that I will be enriched with more knowledge and insight. Second, this analysis is specifically focus on observing and analyzing romanticism’s elements in Victor Hugo’s Les
Miserable. People could know deeper about Romanticism movement, and understand the elements of Romanticism which is explained in this analysis.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA 1. 6. Theoretical Approach
According to Rene Wellek and Austin Warren in Theory of Literature, there are two kinds of literary approaches in analyzing literary work: intrinsic and extrinsic method. Intrinsic method is the analysis of the literary work focuses on the work itself or the text by analyzing the elements of literary work. Extrinsic method is the analysis of literary work by applying other disciplines of study such as psychology, history, sociology, philosophy, religious elements, etc. (Wellek
1977: 79) The analysis of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable is done by extrinsic method, since it tries to find out the characteristics and ideas of Romanticism that exist in the novel, this analysis uses biographical cultural approach. Expressive theory is also applied in performing the analysis. Expressive theory assumed literary works as an instrument for a writer to express his/her ideas, concepts, opinions, or other subjective point of views.
1. 7. The Review of Related Literature.
I use several major references in doing this analysis.
Romantics to Early Victorians by Boris Ford. (1990). This book was published by Cambridge University Press. It describe about the development of art, culture, and literature in the periods of romantics to early Victorians. From this book, I find explanation about the development of Romanticism.
Changing Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts 1650 – 1820 by
Murray Roston. (1990). The book was published by Princeton University Press in
New Jersey. It explains thoroughly various ideas and perspectives that existed
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA from late baroque period to the romantic era. This book gives also for me the description of various concepts and ideas of Romanticism.
Romantic Literature by Geoff Ward (1993). This book is published by
Bloomsbury Publishing in London. It describe about romantic literature (novel, prose, and poetry) and some well known romantic writers. From this book, I find certain characteristics of Romanticism which are reflected in several romantic literary works.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA CHAPTER 2
2. 1. Definition of Romanticism.
The exact meaning of the term “romanticism” is still a matter of substantial debate. Many definitions have been created, but it seems there is no any exact definition that able to cover and describe all aspects of romanticism.
The word romantic (ism) has a complex and interesting history. In the Middle
Ages ‘romance’ denoted the new vernacular languages derived from Latin – in contradiction to Latin itself, which was the language of learning. Enromancier, romancar, romanz meant to compose or translate books in the vernacular. The work produced was then called romanz, roman, romanzo and romance. A roman or romant came to be known as an imaginative work and a ‘courtly romance’. The terms also signified a ‘popular book’. There are early suggestions that it was something new, different, divergent. By the seventeenth century in Britain and
France, ‘romance’ has acquired the derogatory connotations of fanciful, bizarre, exaggerated, chimerical. In France a distinction was made between Romanesque
(also derogatory) and romantique (which meant ‘tender’, ‘gentle’, ‘sentimental’ and ‘sad’). It was used in the English form in these latter senses in the eighteenth century. In Germany the word romantisch was used in the seventeenth century in the French sense of Romanesque, and then, increasingly from the middle of the eighteenth century, in the English sense of ‘gentle’, ‘melancholy’.
The term ‘romanticism’ in relation with literature was not used firstly by Romantic writer themselves, but rather applied by literary critics and historians
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA in the late nineteenth century. The term ‘romantic’ in relation with literature was firstly used at the beginning of the 19th century by Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von
Schlegel (1772-1829), a professor and novelist in Germany, to talk about qualities of the novel vs. drama and the influence of Eastern literature and culture on
European works around 1800.
In 1948, an English writer F.L. Lucas found 11,396 different definitions for Romanticism. However, there is a broad agreement that
Romanticisms are reactions against forms and rules, against classicism and neoclassicism, against rationalism and fixed genres, and that they are new modes of imagination and vision, which especially value freedom of form, spontaneity, self-expression, and subjectivity.
Here is a brief review of definitions of Romanticism from various references:
Encyclopaedia of Britannica: Romanticism is attitude or intellectual orientation that characterizes many works of literature, painting, music, architecture, criticism, and historiography in Western Civilization over a period from late 18th to the mid 19th Century. Romanticism can be seen as a rejection of the precepts of order, calm, harmony, balance, idealization, and rationality that typified
Classicism in general and late 18th Century Neo Classicism in particular.
Encyclopaedia Americana: Romanticism is a movement that took place in most centuries of the Western world in the late 18th and 19th Century. Romanticism are reactions against forms and rules, against Classicism and Neo Classicism, against rationalism and fixed genres, and that they are new modes of imagination and
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA vision, which especially value freedom of form, spontaneity, self expression, and subjectivity. www.community.vcsu.edu : Romanticism is a predilection for the exotic, the remote, the mysterious, the weird, the occult, the monstrous, the diseased, and even the satanic. www.levity.com : Romanticism is a movement in the literature of virtually every country of Europe, the US, and Latin America that lasted from about 1750 to about 1870, characterized by reliance on the imagination and subjectivity of approach, freedom of thought and expression, and an idealization of nature.
Merriam-Webster Online : Romanticism is a literary, artistic, and philosophical movement originating in the 18th Century, characterized chiefly by a reaction against Neo Classicism and in emphasis on the imagination and emotion, and marked especially in English literature by sensibility and the use of autobiographical material, on exaltation of the primitive and the common man, an appreciation of external nature, an interest in the remote, a predilection for melancholy and the use in poetry of older verse forms.
WebMuseum, Paris. (www.ibiblio.org): Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in the late 18th century and stressed strong emotion, imagination, freedom from classical correctness in art forms, and rebellion against social conventions. www.wikipedia.com : Romanticism is an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in 18th century Western Europe, around 1790, during the Industrial Revolution. It was partly a revolt against aristocratic, social, and political norms of the Enlightenment period and a reaction against the scientific
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA rationalization of nature in art and literature. It stressed strong emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as trepidation, horror, and the awe experienced in confronting the sublimity of untamed nature.
2. 2. The Development of Romanticism.
Romanticism movement was preceded by several related developments from the mid-18th century on that can be termed Pre-Romanticism.
Among such trends was a new appreciation of the medieval romance, from which the Romantic movement derives its name. The romance was a tale or ballad of chivalric adventure whose emphasis on individual heroism and on the exotic and the mysterious was in clear contrast to the elegant formality and artificiality of prevailing Classical forms of literature. This new interest in relatively unsophisticated but overtly emotional literary expressions of the past was to be a dominant note in Romanticism.
Romanticism in English literature began in the 1790s with the publication of the Lyrical Ballads of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor
Coleridge. Wordsworth’s preface to the second edition (1800) of Lyrical Ballads, in which he described poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,” became the manifesto of the English Romantic movement in poetry. William
Blake was the third principal poet of the movement’s early phase in England. The first phase of the Romantic movement in Germany was marked by innovations in both content and literary style and by a preoccupation with the mystical, the subconscious, and the supernatural. A wealth of talents, including Friedrich
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA The second phase of Romanticism, comprising the period from about
1805 to the 1830s, was marked by a quickening of cultural nationalism and a new attention to national origins, as attested by the collection and imitation of native folklore, folk ballads and poetry, folk dance and music, and even previously ignored medieval and Renaissance works. The revived historical appreciation was translated into imaginative writing by Sir Walter Scott, who invented the historical novel. At about the same time English Romantic poetry had reached its zenith in the works of John Keats, Lord Byron, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
A notable by-product of the Romantic interest in the emotional were works dealing with the supernatural, the weird, and the horrible, as in Mary
Shelley’s Frankeinstein and works by C.R. Maturin, the Marquis de Sade, and
By the 1820s the Romanticism had broadened to embrace the literatures of almost all of Europe. In this later, second, phase, the movement was less universal in approach and concentrated more on exploring each nation’s historical and cultural inheritance and on examining the passions and struggles of exceptional individuals. A brief survey of Romantic or Romantic-influenced writer across the Continent would have to include Thomas De Qincey and the
Bronte sisters in England; Victor Hugo and Theophile Gautier in France,
Mikhail Lermontov in Russia; Jose de Espronceda and Angel de Saavedra in
Civil War America.
However, the very intensity and lack of regard for rules and form of the great Romantic writers contained the seeds of destruction for their lesser followers. Furthermore, in nineteenth century, there was a great period of advancement in science; while science brought with it philosophical doctrines of materialism, pragmatism, and positivism, which is contrary to Romanticism. The democratic advancement of the common man, although hailed by the
Romanticists, created great social problems. In England by mid-century, in France by the 1860’s, and in the United States after the Civil War, forces that counter to
Romanticism together with the excesses of the second order of Romanticists, resulted in a shift from a literature of idealism to one grounded in the actual. In this new realistic literature the material replaced the transcendent, the values of the group replaced those of the individual, the here and now replaced the remote in time or place, and the utilitarian replaced the spiritual. Romanticism went into a dormant state. But it was a sleep rather than a death, and in the twentieth century, wherever faith in the individual and in freedom from rules, restraints, systems, or even rationalism appear, the elements of Romanticism are present.
Here is a detail description of the development of the Romantic movement in several countries.
In England the way gradually had been prepared for Romanticism through much of that century. The philosophy of Shaftesbury, the attention paid to
Chaucer and Spenser by Thomas Warton and to the ballad by Thomas Percy, the sensibility of the novels of Laurence Sterne and Oliver Goldsmith, and finally the
Samuel Taylor Coleridge flowered in 1798 with the publication of Lyrical
Lyrical Ballads represented a sharp break with the neoclassical tradition. The poems had various forms, dealt with common people or the supernatural, expressed and defined the poet’s personal emotion, and were in a language closely related to common speech. In a preface to the second edition
(1800), Wordsworth was explicit about these differences and defined poetry as
“the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings … recollected in tranquility.”
This preface shares with Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria (1817) the role of being the literary manifesto of British Romanticism. Coleridge discussed and qualified Wordsworth’s statements, defined Wordsworth’s poems as super naturalizing the natural and his own as naturalizing the supernatural, defined poetry as the reconciliation of opposites, and discussed imagination as the primary source of transcendental truth.
Other major British Romantics were Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe
Shelley, John Keats, Thomas Carlyle, and Sir Walter Scott. Byron, in his vigorous and often autobiographical narrative poems, elevated the melancholy, antisocial, brooding superman into a major romantic character. Keats, perhaps the purist lyricist of the movement, celebrated beauty and the transience of human experience in odes and other poems of incomparable quality.
Sir Walter Scott, in his long series of historical novels beginning with
Waverley (1814), reached the greatest audience and had the most profound effect
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA of any British Romantic. He invented an immensely popular form of the novel, taught his generation and later ones how to use the past seriously in the portrayal of life, showed the great value of common people to the writer of fiction, and evolved an unarticulated but very real philosophy of history. Scott deeply influenced many Romantic writer such as Honore de Balzac and Victor Hugo in
After the historical novel, the most extensive fictional form for the
Romantics was the Gothic novel, as it was practiced by Ann Radcliffe in The
Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), William Beckford in Vathek (1795), and Matthew
Lewis in The Monk (1795). The Gothic novel continued to be popular throughout the English Romantic period, reaching its height in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering
Heights (1847) and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847). For the reader of popular fiction the Gothic novel successfully joined several aspects of Romanticism: the supernatural, emphasis on the intense feeling, interest in the past, concern with remote settings, and the melancholy, mysterious and fascinating figure.
In Germany, the philosophical home of Romanticism, a fully realized
Romanticism developed in 1798, with a self-conscious aesthetic and poetics that put sensibility and transcendent insight above rational experience. H.W.
Wackenroder, in his anecdotes about Renaissance painters (1797), substituted emotional response for neoclassical analysis. A.W. von Schlegel and his brother
Friedrich, in the literary review Athenaeum, published criticism stating new concepts of myth, symbol, irony, and imagination, and argued for a fusion in artistic creation of the rational and irrational aspects of the mind.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA Friedrich von Schlegel was the primary theoretician of German
Romanticism. He saw the artist and writer as expressing the dialectics of becoming, being torn between the ideal and the physical reality. For him the imagination, moved by the memory of the infinite and the perfect, acts to create in works of art a spiritual truth out of material actuality. He believed that the perfect literary work was free from the rules of genre and mingled prose, poetry, criticism, and philosophy. Goethe’s work, the collection of folk materials by people like the Grimm Brothers, Friedrich Holderliun’s orphic poetry, Heinrich
In the United States, the Romantic Movement dominated literature between 1820 and 1865. It usually looked to other lands for its models. James
Fenimore Cooper, who gave mythic expression to the American experience in the five Leatherstocking novels (1823-1841), applied the technique of the Scott historical novel to the very different events of the American frontier. Edgar Allan
Poe in his criticism was indebted to Coleridge and Schlegel. In his fiction, Poe pursued the Gothic trail to the sublime. He made the material data of his stories symbolic representation of intense and anguished states of mind, a method that he carried to its ultimate expression in his poems.
The enormously popular poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote historical narrative poems, like Evangeline (1847), celebrations of the native
Indian, like The Song of Hiawatha (1855), and highly personal sonnets. Although overly sentimental, Longfellow introduced and made acceptable to a large audience many aspects of Romanticism. Ralph Waldo Emerson, an essayist,
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA lecturer, and poet, was the announcer and explicator of transcendental thought, which he defined as “idealism on American soil,” and the advocate of organic form in literature and art. Henry David Thoreau in Walden (1854) gave an intensely personal account of his life lived by transcendental principles. Nathaniel
Hawthorne, in his short stories and his four novels – most importantly The Scarlet
Letter (1850) – created a fiction that began in allegory but grew to a complex form of Romantic symbolism.
Herman Melville wrote personal narratives of his experience in remote places and in his masterpiece Moby-Dick (1851) produced a work of great energy and theme, a bewildering mixture of genres, and highly evocative language. Moby-Dick is the great accomplishment of American Romanticism and virtually an epitome of the qualities of the entire Romantic Movement. If such a claim is to be challenged, it would be by Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1855), a powerful epic of the self in strongly cadenced free verse, which embodies the individualism, the love of freedom, and the striving for personal expression that are at the base of Romanticism.
France developed a full-fledged Romantic movement quite late, though Rousseau’s concept of the novel savage and the social contract as the cause of the most human suffering (which was basic to romanticism) has been well known in this country. The leader of the Romantic Movement in France was
Victor Hugo. In 1830 the first night of his play Hernani was a tumultuous declaration of freedom from the restraints of classical drama, resulting in clashes in the theater between the classicist and the Romantics that continued for a hundred nights. As poet, as playwright, and as novelist – notably of Notre Dame
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA de Paris (1831) and Les Miserables (1862) – Hugo was the moving spirit, and the famed preface to his play Cromwell (1827) was a basic document of the movement. He was ably abetted by the unconventional George Sand, whose early novels were strong declarations of personal and political freedom, and by the elder
Alexander Dumas, whose enormous energy poured forth plays of passion and novels of extravagant adventure. Alfred de Vigny, a novelist, poet, and dramatist best known for his historical novel Cing-Mars (1862), his play Chatterton (1835), and his translations of Shakespeare, later shared the leadership with Hugo. French
Romanticism usually looked abroad for its models, largely to Germany for philosophy and to England for literary forms and attitudes. It was deeply involved also in the turbulent political struggles from the July Revolution of 1830 to the
Revolution of 1848.
2. 3. The Elements of Romanticism.
As it has been described above, Romanticism is basically a revolt against the prescribed rules of Classicism in general, and Neoclassicism in particular, and rationality of the enlightenment. Romanticist saw all art as an illuminating flame fed from the inner self, a source of truth superior to logic and reason. For the Romanticist the imagination was a means by which the artist tapped a universal truth and found within himself a sufficient source of knowledge. This creating imagination got from nature much of its inspiration and its materials, but it was nature viewed as the living garment of God, a direct revelation of truth, and often, pantheistically, a sensate portion of the deity itself, especially when it was in a state unsullied by man’s artifice.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA This Romantic imagination found expression in works that created their own forms, that often mixed several genres, and that valued expression more than completeness or symmetry. The objects of the physical world became symbols of spiritual or intellectual truth. Things remote in time and place were much sought as subjects. Myths were raided for story, and new stories were converted to myths. History became a major matter of fiction. The rebel against society or fate assumed a central role. Poetic diction gave way to a selection of the language of common man. Philosophically, Romanticism had a discernible center in the individual, who was at the focus of all meaningful experience, of all life, and of all art. For the Romanticist, art takes its value from the accuracy and fullness with which it expresses uniquely personal feelings, for only those feelings, honestly reported, may one approach transcendent truth.
However, the aims, characteristics, and ideas of Romanticism were various and quite large. In the Encyclopedia of Americana, it is stated that
Romanticism emphasized the individual, subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental. Among the characteristic attitudes of Romanticism were the following: a deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature; a general exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect; a turning in upon the self and a heightened examination of human personality and its moods and mental potentialities; a preoccupation with the genius, the hero and the exceptional figure in general, and a focus on his passions and inner struggles; a new view of the artist as a supremely individual creator, whose creative spirit is more important than strict adherence to formal rules and traditional procedures; an emphasis upon
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA imagination as a gateway to transcendent experience and spiritual truth; an obsessive interest in folk culture, national and ethnic cultural origins, and the medieval era; and a predilection for the exotic, the remote, the mysterious, the weird, the occult, the monstrous, the diseased, and even the satanic. Another references has also includes this points that belonged to the elements of
Romanticism: return to nature, love of past, predilection for melancholy, emphasis on subject than form, a belief in the power of imagination, a stress on the importance of personal experience and a desire to understand what influences the human mind, an emphasis on the sublime, an interest in mythological, fantastical, gothic and supernatural themes, anti-intellectualism, humanitarism, a belief on freedom of man and the democracy, subjectivity in form and meaning, celebration of romantic love
In this thesis, I limited the analysis on merely five elements of
Romanticism that will be found and analyze in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.
They are: belief on the human good nature, emphasis on imagination and emotion, predilection for melancholy, interest in the common man, and the celebration of romantic love.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA CHAPTER 3
THE METHOD OF THE STUDY
Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is a romantic novel. I apply biographical cultural approach, as a part of the extrinsic method, in analyzing the novel. I use descriptive method to describe the analysis clearly. I also apply library research to support the process of analyzing the subject matter.
3. 1. The Data Collecting Procedure.
I use Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables as the main source of the data.
The required information in supporting the analysis is collected through the reading and searching related references to the analysis. They are taken from text books, articles and journal from the internet, and other materials that related to the analysis.
3. 2. The Data Selecting Procedure.
After gathering all required data, those data are selected. This selection is done based on how significant the data in relation with the subject matter and the objective of the analysis.
3. 3. The Data Analyzing Procedure.
All the selected data than being analyzed to achieve what has been planned in the objective of the analysis of this thesis. In the end, the conclusion is drowned from the result of the analysis.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA CHAPTER 4
THE ANALYSIS OF ROMANTICISM
IN VICTOR HUGO’S LES MISERABLES
4. 1. Belief on The Human Good Nature.
Many people have pessimistic view on human nature. Experiences in daily living persuade them to believe this opinion. People get in conflict with one another, criminal deeds such as killing, sexual abuse, violence, conflicts, war, and etc have been frequent news. It is difficult to find a genuine goodness among people. People who were considered as good guys by others can also use goodness as a means to fulfill their egoistic goals.
Despite all of these facts, the Romantics have a more positive perspective upon human nature. They believe that basically every human is good.
It is society which change human into bad creature and perform many evil and negative deeds. This idea is strongly reflected within novel Les Miserables. In this part, it will be explained the belief on the human good nature within the novel Les
Miserables, especially in the character of Jean Valjean, Fantine, and Eponine.
Jean Valjean , in the beginning of the story, is described as a convict who is just get out from jail in the galleys due to nineteen years sentence. He is considered as a dangerous man due to his status as an ex-convict and his wretched appearance. All people who meet him reject and refuse him. He is also threatened with a gun by a peasant when he tries to ask the peasant for giving him a plate of soup and a place to spend a night in his garden for pay.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA The peasant’s face assumed an expression of distrust: he looked over the new-comer from head to foot, and suddenly exclaimed, with a sort of shudder: “Are you the man!” He looked again at the stranger, stepped back, put the lamp on the table, and took down his gun. His wife, on hearing the words, “are you the man,” started up, and, clasping her two children, precipitately took refuge behind her husband; she looked at the stranger with affright, her neck bare, her eyes dilated, murmuring in a low tone: “T so maraude !” All this happened in less time than it takes to read it; after examining the man for a moment, as one would a viper, the man advanced to the door and said: “Get out!” “For pity’s sake, a glass of water,” said the man. “A gun shot,” said the peasant, and then he closed the door violently, and the man heard two heavy bolts drawn. A moment afterwards the window-shutters were shut, and noisily barred. (page 57)
People in the whole town which Jean entered after his release, have been talking about him in a sense of fear and distrust long before he arrived.
However, when Jean treated in good manner by a kind bishop (Monseigneur
Bienvenu), Jean Valjean has a wicked pay for the goodness. The bishop (though he knows about the bad background of Jean as a convict) welcomes him in his house, prepares him a good supper, and refuses Jean’s money to pay for what he has done. The bishop addresses Jean Valjean by word ‘Monsieur’ (in English:
Sir), which shows how he respects the ex-convict as an honorable man.
Monseigneur Bienvenu even regards Jean as his own brother. However, Jean pays the bishop’s hospitality for him by stealing the bishop’s silver property and runs with it early in the morning before the bishop’s house awake from sleep in the night.
The next day at sunrise, Monseignuer Bienvenu was walking in the garden. Madame Magloire ran towards him quite beside herself. “Monseigneur, monseigneur,” cried she, “does your greatness know where the silver basket is?” “Yes,” said the bishop. “God be praised!” said she, “I do not know what had become of it.” The bishop had just found the basket on a flower-bed. He gave it to Madame Magloire and said: “There it is.” “Yes,” said she, “but there is nothing in it. The silver?” “Ah!” said the bishop, “it is the silver then that troubles you. I
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA do not know where that is.” “Good heavens! It is stolen. That man who came last night stole it.” And in the the twinkling of an eye, with all the agility of which her age was capable, Madame Magloire ran to the oratory, went into the alcove, and came back to the bishop. The bishop was bending with some sadness over a cochlearia des Guillons, which the basket had broken in falling. He looked up at Madame Magloire’s cry: “Monseigneur, the man has gone! The silver is stolen!” (page 88)
In real life, man such Jean Valjean who commits this bad deed will be considered as hopeless to be ‘cured’. Sentence and jail is deserved for him. But
Victor Hugo as a Romantic, show how bad person such as Jean Valjean actually has a good heart. Hugo describes that Jean Valjean does not being wicked by his own heart, rather it is caused by the society. Jean Valjean is born in a poor peasant family. In his childhood he has not been taught to read and write. He looses his parent when he is very young. His mother has been died of malpractice in a milk fever, his father has been killed by a fall from a tree in a garden where he has been a pruner. Jean Valjean brought up by his sister who is a widow with seven children girls and boys. Jean should spend his youth in hard working day and night with very little wage. In a severe winter, Jean has no work and no money to feed his family. He decides to steal a loaf of bread from nearby shop, but he is caught and sentenced with five years. In prison, he tries to escape four times and those tries give him fourteen years extended sentence. He spends nineteen years in prison (at galleys) for stealing a loaf of bread (which he intends to give for his starving family). The misery of his childhood, the poverty and hard work he has to do to feed his family when he is young, and the way he is badly treated while spending nineteen years in galleys, result a hardened and wicked heart, and a huge
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA desire to take revenge for society which punish him unjustly. Victor Hugo clearly shows this argument in page 74:
Let us endeavor to tell. It is an imperative necessity that society should look into these things: they are its own work.
Hugo than explaine it more in page 76:
He (Jean) declared to himself that there was no equity between the injury that he had committed and the injury that had been committed on him; he concluded, in short, that his punishment was not, really, an injustice, but that beyond all doubt it was an iniquity. Anger may be foolish and absurd, and one may be irritated when in the wrong; but a man never feels outraged unless in some respect he is at bottom right. Jean Valjean felt outraged. And then, human society had done him nothing but injury; never had he seen anything of her, but this wrathful face which she calls justice, and which she shows to those whom she strikes down. No man had ever touched him but to bruise him. All his contact with men had been by blows. Never, since his infancy, since his mother, since his sister, never had he been greeted with a friendly word or a kind regard. Through suffering on suffering he came little by little to the conviction, that life was a war; and that in that war he was the vanquished. He had no weapon but his hate. He resolved to sharpen it in the galleys and to take it with him when he went out.
When Jean Valjean is given a chance to be a good guy, he uncovers his real appearance. Within the wretched physical look and miserable past, actually he has a beautiful heart. The novel describes how he bravefully struggles to be an honest man as the bishop, Monseigneur Bienvenu, orders him to be. He starts a factory which brings prosperity to the town M – sur M –, he releases a prostitute named Fantine from going to prison, he raises and keeps Cosette
(Fantine’s illegitimate daughter) with unconditional love and care, he saves
Marius’ life out of an insurrection, a young man who later estrange him from
Cosette (the girl he considers as his own daughter). And at the end of his life, he keeps being honest to every one, walks in integrity and goodness, and forgives all peoples who commit bad things for him.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA Fantine is a poor girl who is involved in an illicit relationship with a man and bears a baby named Cossette. She leaves the baby to be brought up by
Thenardier family. She goes to another city named M – sur M –, to find a job, but finally becomes a prostitute. Prostitute is an illicit and dirty profession. People tend to judge women who commit prostitution as a sinful creature, who choose a wrong and bad life style by their will, and scum of the society. However, within such people like this, the Romanticist could see the good aspect in the heart of people like Fantine, the prostitute. Victor Hugo, through this novel, seems trying to make his readers being aware, that the prostitute does not choose this way of life by their own will deliberately. They actually are trapped by fate and condition.
Hugo strictly states his opinion in page 157.
What is this history of Fantine? It is society buying a slave. From whom? From misery. From hunger, from cold, from loneliness, from abandonment, from privation. Melancholy barter. A soul for a bit of bread. Misery makes the offer, society accepts. The holy law of Jesus Christ governs our civilization, but it does not permeate it; it is said that slavery has disappeared from European civilization. This is a mistake. It still exists: but it weighs now only upon woman, and it is called prostitution. It weighs upon woman, that is to say, upon grace, upon feebleness, upon beauty, upon maternity. This is not one of the least of man’s shames.
Hugo pictures in detail how Fantine could become a prostitute.
Contrast with most people who consider a prostitute as the scum of society,
Romanticist like Hugo regards people like Fantine merely as a victim. Fantine is born as an illegitimate child. No one knows who are her real biological father and mother. In her young age, she has been thrown away by her parent to the streets.
She is raised by people who has mercy on her. Knowing not love in her life, makes Fantine thirst of care and love from another. She falls in love with a man and gives herself to the man as to a husband. But the man abandones Fantine with
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA a child she bears for him. Though she is poor, she is willing to see her child experience happiness and brighter future. It is the reason that she decides to find a work in her hometown M – sur M –. But she has to cover the embarrassing secret
(for bearing an illegitimate child). She then abandons her child in Thenardier’s house. She sends Thenardier seven franc every month as the fee of bringing up
Cosette. Fantine is able to get a work in M – sur M –. Unfortunately, she finally expelled from the work when people know her dark past. She tries to find another job and living in a quite miserable condition of poverty, but she cannot find any one that are willing to give a job for woman who is known has an illegitimate child. She finally trapped in prostitution due to the need of money for living and bringing up Cosette her child. She sacrifices her life for the sake of her little daughter. Hugo, through the words of Jean Valjean called Fantine as a martyr at least two times for this great sacrifice. First, when he talks to Fantine before she dies.
Then he said, answering the question she had first asked him, as if she had just asked it: “I was praying to the martyr who is on high.” And in his thought he added: “For the martyr who is here below.” Monsieur Madeleine had passed the night and morning in informing himself about Fantine. He knew all now, he had learned, even in all its poignant details, the history of Fantine. (page 168)
Secondly, Hugo praises Fantine again as a martyr in page 751, when Cosette talks to Jean Valjean, her adopted father, about her biological mother.
One day Cosette said to him: “Father, I saw my mother in a dream last night. She had two great wings. My mother must have attained to sanctity in her life.” “Through martyrdom,” answered Jean Valjean. Still, Jean Valjean was happy.
Through this novel, it is shown that within a scum of society, a prostitute such as Fantine, and an illegitimate child who bears another illegitimate
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA child, there is actually a good heart. It is love for her little daughter Cosette that consumes her and motivates her to earn money whatever the way she must do. It is the society who reject her merely due to her dark past and no education and skill that lead her to be a prostitute.
4. 2. Emphasis on Emotion.
In one aspect, Romanticism can be viewed as philosophical revolt against rationalism. Consequently, it is not strange that sensory feelings, intuition, imagination, and emotion were valued over intellect. Romantics generally called for greater attention to the emotions as universally supplement to purely logical reason. A well known statement of Wordsworth (one of the pioneer of
Romanticism) reveal this concept in relation with poetry, he said: poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. The romanticist believes that through emotions and feelings, honestly reported, one may approach transcendental truth.
Victor Hugo applied this concept in novel Les Miserables within almost the entire page of the novel. It is quite obvious that he tries to reveal the emotions of the characters in the novel frankly. He explores the minds and emotions of the characters honestly. There are two good examples for this. The first one is Hugo’s description of Jean Valjean confuse and worry (as he uses name Father Madeleine) when he intends to uncover his real identity as Jean
Valjean to the police inspector , so that Champmathieu (who has been assumed before as Jean Valjean) can be released from unjust punishment. It can be found in page 186.
For the rest of the day he was in this state, a tempest within, a perfect calm without; he took only what might be called precautionary
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA measures. All was still confused and jostling in his brain; the agitation there was such that he did not see distinctly the form of any idea; and he could have told nothing of himself, unless it were that he had just received a terrible blow. He examined the situation and found it an unheard – of one; so unheard – of that in the midst of his reverie, by some strange impulse of almost inexplicable anxiety, he rose from his chair, and bolted his door. He feared lest something might yet enter. He barricaded himself against all possibilities. A moment afterwards he blew out his light. It annoyed him. It seemed to him that somebody could see him. Who? Somebody? Alas! what he wanted to keep out of doors had entered; what he wanted to render blind was looking upon him. His conscience.
Hugo uses fourteen full pages in length to describe the feeling and thought of Valjean in deciding what he should do.
Another good example is Hugo’s description of Javert’s guilt and shame. Javert, who has brought miserables to Jean Valjean’s life, is being shock when Jean saves his life though Jean has great opportunity to kill him. Javert is torn between two hard choice, whether to thank Jean Valjean for saving his life and release him (but it will breaks the law he always strive to enforce), or catches him back to jail (but it will makes him as a thankless person).
Javert was suffering frightfully. For some hours Javert had ceased to be natural. He was troubled; this brain, so limpid in its blindness, had lost its transparency; there was a cloud in this crystal. Javert felt that duty was growing weaker in his conscience, and he could not hide it from himself. When he had so unexpectedly met Jean Valjean upon the beach of the Seme, there had been in him something of the wolf, which seizes his prey again, and of the dog which again finds his master. He saw before him two roads, both equally straight; but he saw two; and that terrified him – him, who had never in his life known but one straight line. And, bitter anguish, these two roads were contradictory. One of these two straight lines excluded the other. Which of the two was the true one? His condition was inexpressible. (page 1105)
Here, Hugo uses five full pages in length to explore Javert’s feeling.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA 4. 3. Predilection for Melancholy.
One of the characteristics of Romanticism is the predilection for melancholy. Romantic literature tends to be in sad or negative mood. This characteristic is quite obvious shown in in Les Miserables. It is pictured in the life of the central character of the story, Jean Valjean, within the life of Cosette, and also in the life of Javert the police inspector.
Jean Valjean, nearly along of his whole life journey happen in melancholy mood. Having passed a sorrowful childhood due to the death of his mother and father, he has to perform hard work with very low wage to feed his family. Spending for nineteen years in prison in galleys, suffers rejection, beating, scolding, whip, humiliation, insult, merely because of stealing a loaf of bread. He is rejected again by all people, except a saintly bishop named Monseigneur
Bienvenu, when he tries to find a refuge to spend the night after his release from prison. His life is spent in running away from police inspector (Javert) from one hiding place to another hiding place. He saves a little children, Cosette (an illegitimate daughter of Fantine). Satisfied by his love toward the little girl and the little girl’s love toward him, he eventually has to sacrifice himself for the happiness of Cosette. Cosette finds a young man, Marius, to be her husband and leaves alone Jean Valjean in sorrowness. After countless goodness he has done to
Cosette in raising her with love and care, Jean Valjean experiences bitterness.
Jean tries to be honest to Marius that he has been an ex-convict in galleys. This brave action results in Marius estrange him from Cosette. He tries to meet her several times, but dare not enough even to knock Marius and Cosette’s house.
There he walked with slow steps, his head bent forward, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, his eye immovably fixed upon one point,
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA always the same, which seemed studded with stars to him, and which was nothing more nor less than the corner of the Rue des Filles du Calvaire. As he approached the corner of that street, his face lighted up; a kind of joy illuminated his eye like an interior halo, he had a fascinated and softened expression, his lips moved vaguely, as if he were speaking to some one whom he did not see, he smiled faintly, and he advanced as slowly as he could. You would have said that even while wishing to reach some destination, he dreaded the moment when he should be near it. When there were but a few houses left between him and that street which appeared to attract him, his pace became so slow, that at times you might have supposed he had ceased to move. The vacillation of his head and the fixedness of his eye reminded you of the needle seeking the pole. However long he succeeded in deferring it, he must arrive at last; he reached the Rue des Filles du Calvaire; the he stopped, he trembled, he put his head with a kind of gloomy timidity beyond the corner of the last house, and he looked into that street, and there was in that tragical look something which resembled the bewilderment of the impossible, and the reflection of a forbidden paradise. Then a tear, which had gradually gathered in the corner of his eye, grown large enough to fall, glided over his cheek, and sometimes stopped at his mouth. The old man tasted its bitterness. He remained thus a few minutes, as if he had been stone; the he returned by the same route and at the same pace; and, in proportion as he receded, that look was extinguished. (page 1192)
Without Cosette, Valjean’s life losses its meaning and he slowly withers away. He gets depressed due to grief of missing Cosette. In his deathbed, he fears not death but dies without ever seeing Cosette again, though just for a moment. And finally, completing the melancholic life of Jean Valjean, he is buried in a cemetery of the poor, forgetted by many people.
There is, in the cemetery of Pere Lachaise, in the neihgbourhood of the Potters’ field, far from the elegant quartier of that city of sepulchres, far from all those fantastic tombs which display in presence of eternity the hideous fashions of death, in a deserted corner, beside an old wall, beneath a great yew on which the bindweed climbs, among the dog-grass and the mosses, a stone. This stone is entirely blank. The only thought in cutting it was of the essentials of the grave, and there was no other care than to make this stone long enough and narrow enough to cover a man. No name can be read there. (page 1222)
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA Romantic’s characteristic, the predilection for melancholy, is also shown in the life of Cosette. Cosette is the daughter of Fantine, a prostitute. He has never seen her biological father. She has been abandoned (when she is only a little baby) by Fantine in Thenardier family. Thenardier is an evil, cruel, wretched, money-obsessed innkeeper in Montfermeil. Cosette is abused and treated as a servant in Thenardier’s house. Though she is only eight years old, she has to do a lot of hard works during the whole day, while two other daughters of Thenardier
(Azelma and Eponine having play and amusing themselves all day long).
Cosette was ugly. Happy, she might, perhaps, have been pretty. We have already sketched this little pitiful face. Cosette was thin and pale; she was nearly eight years old, but one would hardly have thought her six. Her large eyes, sunk in a sort of shadow, were almost put out by continual weeping. The corners of her mouth had that curve of habitual anguish, which is seen in the condemned and in the hopelessly sick. Her hands were, as her mother had guessed, “covered with chilblains.” The light of the fire which was shining upon her, made her bones stand out and rendered her thinness fearfully visible. As she was always shivering, she had acquired the habit of drawing her knees together. Her whole dress was nothing but a rag, which would have excited pity in the summer, and which excited horror in the winter. She had on nothing but cotton, and that full of holes; not a rag of woolen. Her skin showed here and there, and black and blue spots could be distinguished, which indicated the places where the Thenardiess had touched here. Her naked legs were re and rough. The hollows under her collar bones would make one weep. The whole person of this child, her gait, her attitude, the sound of her voice, the intervals between one word and another, her looks, her silence, her least motion, expressed and uttered a single idea; fear. (page 338)
It is lucky for her to have Jean Valjean who saves her from Thenardier family and loves her as his own daughter. However, they cannot live in normal condition as other people do. They have to move from one place to another place, avoiding police inspector who is willing to catch Jean Valjean. Cosette finally experiences a happier life in Marius house, her husband. But she does not realize that Marius slowly estranges him from Jean Valjean, her adopted father. It is quite
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA late when she finally meets Jean Valjean, because Jean Valjean has been sick due to great sorrow. Cosette could not complete his happiness with Jean Valjean, because Jean Valjean passes away forever.
Predilection for melancholy can also be found in the life of Javert, a police inspector. Javert is born in a prison. His mother is a fortune teller whose husband is in the galleys. Javert is so obsessed with enforcing society’s laws and morals that he does not realize he is living by mistaken assumptions – a tragic and ironic flaw in a man who believes so strongly in enforcing what he believes is right. Although Javert is such a stern and inflexible character that it is hard to sympathize with him, actually he lives with shame of knowing that his own Gypsy upbringing is not so different from the background of the man he pursues, that is
Jean Valjean. He lives his life trying to erase this shame through his strict commitment to upholding the law.
Javert was born in a prison. His mother was a fortune-teller whose husband was in the galleys. He grew up to think himself without the pale of society, and despaired of ever entering it. He noticed that society closes its doors, without pity, on two classes of men, those who attack it and those who guard it; he could choose between two classes only; at the same time he felt that he had an indescribable basis of rectitude, order, and honesty, associated with an irrepressible hatred for that gypsy race to which he belonged. (page 143)
Javert makes it his life’s work to track down Jean Valjean. He nurses an especially strong desire to recapture Jean Valjean, whose escape and prosperity he sees an affront to justice. He is incapable of compassion or pity, and performs his works with such passion that he takes in a nearly animal quality when he is on the chase. However, Javert’s flaw is that he never stops to question whether the law itself, which he desires to enforce, is really just. In his mind, a man is guilty
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA when the law declares him so. When Jean Valjean finally gives Javert irrefutable proof (by saving Javert’s life though he has frequently make Valjean’s life being miserable) that a man is not necessarily evil just because the law says he is, Javert is incapable of reconciling this new knowledge with his beliefs. He finally commits suicide by jumping to a deep river, plagued by the thought that he may be living a dishonorable life. True to Javert’s nature, he makes this decision not with any emotional hysterics, but rather with a cool determination.
Javert remained for some minutes motionless, gazing into that opening of darkness; he contemplated the invisible with a fixedness which resembled attention. The water gurgled. Suddenly he took off his hat and laid it on the edge of the quay. A moment afterwards, a tall and black form, which from distance some belated passer might have taken for a phantom, appeared standing on the parapet, bent towards the Seine, then sprang up, and fell straight into the darkness; there was a dull splash; and the shadow alone was in the secret of the convulsions of that obscure form which had disappeared under the water. (page 1114)
4. 4. Interest in The Common Man.
People tend to admire great people who have significant superiority such as wealth, power, beauty or handsome appearance, well-known name, and etc. There have been a lot of stories, biographies, and historical records that tell about kings or queens, life of powerful heroes and conquerors, or great figures who have changed the history of mankind. This tendency is a normal attitude.
People are eager to learn about the life of such people. They are curious to know how those people develop their superiority and what lessons can be learned from their life, whether their good examples to be followed or their faults which should be avoided.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA However, contrast with the mainstream tendency, Romanticism takes the opposite attitude. The Romanticists tend to be interested in the life of common people. Common people were usually neglected before the Romanticism era. But the Romantic Movement finds many interesting aspects of life of the common people. They believe that all people born as human being (whether they are king, wealthy people, poor, peasant, and etc), he/she has the same dignity within themselves. This concept is also valid to common people. The Romanticists see common people such as peasant, hard worker, uneducated person, the poor, etc have the same dignity like the king, the wealthy, or other powerful man has. It is frequently the common people have a more wonderful life within their simple lifestyle. The Romanticist believes that many things can be learned from the life of the common people and they have great interest toward them.
In Les Miserables, Victor Hugo shows this tendency. Novel Les
Miserables has setting within Paris society and its underworld. There are forty one characters told in the novel. Most of them are common peoples whose life are pictured and observed carefully by Victor Hugo.
Jean Valjean, as the central character of the novel, he is indeed reflects
Hugo’s interest (as a Romanticist) in the life of common man. Jean Valjean is only an ex-convict, uneducated person, poor and accustomed to experience miserable life. He faces great troubles and suffers all bitterness that life can give.
But through Jean Valjean’s life journey, people can see hope, integrity, honesty, justice, goodness, sacrifice, unconditional love, and other positive qualities of life.
Valjean in his young age thrown into prison in galleys as a simple and decent man, but his time in jail (during nineteen years) has a seemingly irreversible effect
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA on him, and he emerges from the chain gang a hardened criminal who hates society for what it has done to him. By the time Valjean encounters Monseigneur
Bienvenu, he is so accustomed to being a social pariah that he almost seeks out such abuse, greeting even the kindly bishop with scorn and hatred. Monseigneur
Bienvenu, however, turns out to be the first person in decades to treat Valjean with love and respect. The meeting with M. Bienvenu forever changes Valjean’s character, as M. Bienvenu makes Valjean promise to be an honest man. Later, he performs heroic great struggles and appears to be a noble man. Hugo puts it in the mouth of Marius, to exalt and praise Jean Valjean, just a moment before Valjean passes away.
At these words, which Jean Valjean now said for the second time, all that was swelling in Marius heart found an outlet, he broke forth: “Cosette, do you hear? That is the way with him! He begs my pardon, and do you know what he has done for me, Cosette? He has saved my life. He has done more. He has given you to me. And, after having saved me, and after having given you to me, Cosette, what he do with himself? He sacrifices himself. There is the man. And, to me the ungrateful, to me the forgetful, to me the pitiless, to me the guilty, he says: Thanks! Cosette, my whole life passed at the feet of this man would be too little. That barricade, that sewer, that furnace, that cloaca, he went through everything for me, for you, Cosette! He bore me through death in every form which he put aside from me, and which he accepted for himself. All courage, all virtue, all heroism, all sanctity, he has it all, Cosette, that man is an angel!” (page 1215)
Another common people pictured in Les Miserables is Fantine.
Fantine is a poor, working class girl from the desolate seacoast town of M – sur M
–, an orphan who has almost no education and can neither read nor write. Fantine is inevitably betrayed by the people she does trust: Thomloyes (a wealthy student who thinks much less of his relationship with Fantine than she does) gets her pregnant and then disappears; the Thenardiers take Cosette and use the child to
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA extort more money; and Fantine’s coworkers have her fired for indecency. Then,
Fantine becomes a prostitute to survive and gives money to Thenardier for keeping Cosette, her little daughter. Fantine finally died of being sick. Though she is only a poor prostitute who endures miserable life from her childhood unto the last day she has in the world, Hugo shows a beauty of glory within the heart of
Fantine, who is willing to sacrifice her life for her little daughter. She cuts off her beautiful long hair, and sells her two front teeth for earning money for Cosette, though she looks horrible as the consequence. She commits prostitution, since there is no other job she can do for living and supporting Cosette. All things
Fantine do and sacrife for Cosette.
About the same time, Thenardier wrote to her that really he had waited with too much generosity, and that he must have a hundred francs immediately, or else little Cosette, just convalescing after her severe sickness, would be turned out of doors into the cold and upon the highway, and that she would become what she would, and would perish if she must. “A hundred francs,” thought Fantine. “But where is there a place where one can earn a hundred sous a day?” “Come!” said she, “I will sell what is left.” The unfortunate creature became a woman of the town. (page 157)
Another character is Marius Pontmercy. He is a student of a university in Paris. He grows up in a family which is split apart by politics. Marius’ loyalties are torn between his father, Georges Pontmercy, who is a colonel in the
Napoleonic army, and his staunchly monarchist grandfather, M. Gillenormand, who raises him. The political differences between his father and grandfather threatens to tear apart Marius’ identity, as he learns that his conservative grandfather intentionally prevents him from establishing a relationship with his father out of fear that Marius would succumb to his father’s liberal political views.
Angry and confuse, Marius adopts his father’s beliefs, but it soon becomes
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA apparent that what he really needs is an idealism of his own. Marius begins to develop truly only when he leaves Gillenormand’s house. However, he has to endure severe poverty and bitterness as the consequence. As a poor young man who accustomed to be ashamed due to his poverty, wearing old clothes, and eating cheapest food, he learns great lessons of life. Though he is only a poor student, but in the end he is able to manage his own life. He could get a good job and earns enough money for his living. Most of all, this poor young man proved to be appeared as a noble man, due to severe conditions he has endured.
For there are many great deeds done in the small struggles of life. There is a determined though unseen bravery, which defends itself foot to foot in the darkness against the fatal invasions of necessity and of baseness. Noble and mysterious triumphs which no eye sees, which no renown rewards, which no flourish of triumph salutes. Life, misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battle fields which have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes. Strong and rare natures are thus created; misery, almost always a step-mother, is sometimes a mother; privation gives birth to power of soul and mind; distress is the nurse of self-respect; misfortune is a good breast for great souls. (page 573)
Fauchevelent, another common people character, used to be a poor farmer. In his young, he has been selfish throughout his life. When he is still in M
– sur M –, Fauchelevent becomes indebted to Valjean (under the assumed name of Madeleine) when Valjean saves him from carriage accident. However, in his old age, Fauchelevent turns out to be a better person. Though he is poor, old, uneducated country peasant, and works merely as a gardener in a little convent in his old age, he saves Jean Valjean and little Cosette’s life. Fauchelevent returns
Valjean’s favor by hiding Jean Valjean and Cosette in a convent. He hides Jean
Valjean and little Cosette from the chase of Inspector Javert. He begs permission for Valjean and little Cosette to live and remain in the little convent. The convent
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA will be a place where they are quite save, since no one will ever to be brave enough seeking for them them there. Though actually this conduct will endanger
Fauchelevent and threatened him to send to prison, but he does it with such gladness.
Fauchelevent grasped in his old wrinkled and trembling hands the robust hands of Jean Valjean, and it was some seconds before he could speak at last he exclaimed: “Oh! that would be a blessing of God if I could do something for you, in turn for that! I save your life! Monsieur Mayor, the old man is at your disposal.” A wonderful joy had, as it were, transfigured the old gardener. A radiance seemed to shine forth from his face. “What do you want me to do?” he added. (page 396)
4. 5. Celebration of Romantic Love.
In the old culture of European society, romantic passion was regarded as a potentially fatal disease. People at the time generally regard romantic passion as a taboo to be discussed honestly. In contrary, Romanticism prized romantic love and romantic passion as moving and beautiful. Romantic love was the most popular emotion that celebrated by the Romanticists. Although the great Romantic work often center on terror or rage, the motive force behind these passions is most often a relationship between a pair of lovers. It was the romantics who first celebrated romantic love as the natural birthright of every human being, the most exalted of human sentiments, and the necessary foundation of a successful marriage. Whether or not one agrees this attitude as a wise one, it must be admitted that this attitude have been one of the most influential in the history of the world.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA Celebration of romantic love can be found in Les Miserables. Les
Miserables consists of five parts, and Victor Hugo prepares the longest part in the novel entitled Saint Denis and Idyl of the Rue Plumet (which has sixteen chapter) telling about romantic love between Marius and Cosette, and Eponine’s passion toward Marius. Marius firstly saw Cosette in an old street in Luxemburg, where
Cosette and her adopted father Jean Valjean usually take a walk every day. He admires Cosette from the distance because he has no courage to meet Cosette directly. She is always accompanied by Jean Valjean. Marius observes Cosette every day, unaware that he has fallen in love with Cosette who has been emerged as a pretty young girl. And Cosette has the same feeling toward Marius.
That day Cosette’s glance made Marius mad, Marius’ glance made Cosette tremble. Marius went away confident, and Cosette anxious. From that day onward, they adored each other. The first thing that Cosette felt was a vague yet deep sadness. It seemed to her that since yesterday her soul had become black. She no longer recognized herself. The whiteness of soul of young girls, which is compose of coldness and gaiety, is like snow. It melts before love, which is its sun. Marius and Cosette were in the dark in regard to each other. They did not speak, they did not bow, they were not acquainted; they saw each other; and, like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other. (page 757)
They are separated when Jean Valjean perceives what happen between
Marius and Cosette. His jealousy leads him to take away Cosette and move to another place, in order to avoid Marius establishes a special relationship with
Cosette. Valjean is worry if Cosette gets fall in love with Marius, he will be forgotten by Cosette, the girl he loves as his own daughter. However, it is lucky for Marius and Cosette that they can meet again. This time they can be open to each other. They finally realize how they have adored each other so long. Again, their relationship is faced with difficulty. Jean Valjean plans to move to England
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA and take Cosette with him, while Marius is denied by his grandfather M.
Gillenormand in begging his permission to marry Cosette. Knowing these facts,
Marius decides to seek death by involving in an insurrection leaded by his radical friends.
The he said to himself: “She is going away. Her father takes her to England, and my grandfather refuses to consent to the marriage. Nothing is changed in fatality.” Dreamers, like Marius, have these supreme depressions, and paths hence are chosen in despair. The fatigue of life is insupportable; death is sooner over. He had a pocket- book with him; the same that had contained the pages upon which he had written so many thoughts of love for Cosette. He tore out a leaf and wrote with a pencil these few lines: “Our marriage was impossible. I have asked my grandfather, he has refused; I am without fortune, and you also. I ran to your house, I did not find you, you know the promise that I gave you? I keep it, I die, I love you. When you read this, my soul will be near you, and will smile upon you.” (page 963)
Jean Valjean finally saves him from death and takes his wounded body to Gillenormand’s house. Marius than recovers from his wounds, and
Gillenormand is finally being softened and agree to accept Marius request to marry Cosette. The love story between Marius and Cosette ends in happiness.
Eponine is the eldest daughter of Thenardier. As a child she was spoiled by his mother. Later, Thenardier’s greed and bad life style lead his family falls into severe poverty. Eponine grows as a ragged and frequently starving adolescent. She is a wretched creature who helps her parents steal for survive. But
Eponine admires Marius from the first time they meet. She frankly exposes her feeling toward Marius:
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA Then she looked at Marius, put on a strange manner, and said to him: “Do you know, Monsieur Marius, that you are a very pretty boy?” And at the same time the same thought occurred to both of them, which made her smile and made him blush. She went to him and laid her hand on his shoulder: “You pay no attention to me, but I know you, Monsieur Marius. (page 624)
Marius, however, does not take any attention toward Eponine. His heart has been belonged to Cosette, the only girl he admires very much. Eponine keeps adore Marius from distance. She performs good deeds for him. And finally, for the sake of her love for Marius, Eponine sacrifices her life for him. Eponine joins the insurrection where Marius involved. At the time when a soldier is going to shoot Marius, she puts her hand on the soldier’s musket, merely to save Marius’ soul. The bullet from the soldier’s musket hits Eponine’s body. It causes severe wounds on Eponine, and finally kills her.
And still when I saw him aiming at you, I put up my hand upon the muzzle of the musket. How droll it is! But it was because I wanted to die before you. When I got this ball, I dragged myself here, nobody saw me, no body picked me up. I waited for you, I said: he will not come then? Oh! if you knew, I bit my blouse, I suffered so much! She let her head fall back upon Marius’ knees and her eyelids closed. He thought that poor soul had gone. Eponine lay motionless; but just when Marius supposed her for ever asleep, she slowly opened her eyes in which the gloomy deepness of death appeared, and said to him with an accent the sweetness of which already seemed to come from another world: “And then, do you know, Monsieur Marius, I believe I was a little in love with you.” She essayed to smile again and expired. (page 960)
It is pity for Eponine that she has to experience terrible death for her love. However, it is a rather good situation for Marius, since he can develop his relationship with Cosette without Eponine’s disturbance.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION
5. 1. Conclusion.
Romanticism is one of unique movement in literature. It took place in most countries of the western world in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century before widespread to the whole region of the world, primarily as reactions against form and rules, Classicism in general and Neoclassicism in particular, and against rationality of the enlightenment. Victor Hugo as a leader of the Romantic
Movement in France, applying the ideas of Romanticism in most of his works, including the well known novel he accomplished in 1862, Les Miserables. Les
Miserables contains romanticism’s elements, especially: belief on the human good nature, emphasis on imagination and emotion, predilection for melancholy, interest in the common man, and the celebration of romantic love. It is proved through descriptive method that applied in analyzing the novel. Then, it is obvious that Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable is a romantic novel.
5. 2. Suggestion.
Literature study is much less interested by many people nowadays.
However, they do not realize a lot of benefits in learning literature. I hope, this simple thesis will able to give more encouragement for every reader to learn literature more eagerly, especially the Romantic literature. There are a great deal of wonderful lessons, waiting to enlarge our knowledge, insight, and wisdom which capable to make us a better human being.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA BIBLIOGRAPHY
Clubbe, John and Ernest J. Lovell, Jr. 1983. English Romanticism. Hong Kong:
The Macmillan Press Ltd.
Encyclopedia Americana. 2004. Connecticut: Scholastic Library Publishing.
Ford, Boris. 1990.Romantics to Early Victorians. New York: Cambridge
Furst, Lilian R. 1979. The Contours of European Romanticism. London: The
Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables. (Translated from the French by Charles E.
Wilbour). New York: The Modern Literary.
Hill, John Spencer. 1977. The Romantic Imagination. London: Macmillan
Jabrohim. 2003. Metodologi Penelitian Sastra. Yogyakarta: Hanindinta Graha
Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature. 1995. Massachusset: Merriam-
Morse, David. 1981. Perspectives on Romanticism. London: The Macmillan Press
Pardede, Martha. 2005. Understanding Poetry. Medan.
Ratna, Nyoman Kutha. 2004. Teori, Metode, dan Teknik Penelitian Sastra.
Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar.
Rogers, Pat. 1987. The Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature. New
York: Oxford University Press.
Roston, Murray. 1990. Changing Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts
1650 – 1820. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA Samekto. 1976. Ikhtisar Sejarah Kesusasteraan Inggris. Jakarta: PT Gramedia.
Taylor, Richard. 1981. Understanding The Element of Literature. London: The
Macmillah Press Ltd.
The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.
The Works of Hugo. 1943. New York: Black’s Readers Service.
Ward, Geoff. 1993. Romantic Literature. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Wellek, Rene and Austin Warren. 1977. Theory of Literature. New York:
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA APPENDICES
Short Biography of Victor Hugo (Source: www.notablebiographies.com)
Victor Marie Vicomte Hugo was born in Besançon, France, on February
26, 1802, to Joseph Leopold Sigisbert Hugo and Sophie Trebuchet. He and his two older brothers, Abel and Eugène, lived with their mother in Paris, France, while their father, a general and the governor of the Italian province of Avellino, lived in Italy. Hugo's mother had a special friendship with General Victor
Fanneau Lahorie, who became an enemy of the French government. She let him hide in their house, and it was during this time he became a teacher for the Hugo boys. The boys frequently traveled to see their father and these trips caused breaks in their education. As a young boy, Hugo showed an interest in writing poetry.
When he was twelve years old, Victor and his brothers were sent to school at the
Pension Cordier. There they studied the sciences and spent their leisure time writing poetry and plays. When Victor was fifteen, he won the poetry contest held by the Académie Française and the next year placed first in the Académie des
Jeux Floraux's contest. Victor's reputation as a poet developed early in his life, and he received a royal salary in 1822.
In 1822 Hugo married his childhood sweetheart, Adèle Foucher, one and a half years after the death of his mother, who had opposed their marriage. The couple later had four children. Their apartment in Paris became the meeting place
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA for the ambitious writers of the Romantic Movement. In 1822 Hugo also published his first signed book, Odes et poésies diverses.
In 1824 a few of Hugo's friends began a group called Muse française. All were young writers who were beginning to break with neoclassicism (a style of writing that was based on the styles of ancient Greece and Rome in which logical, clear, and well-ordered writing was valued). After his visit to Alphonse de
Lamartine (1790–1869) and his discovery of German balladry (putting stories to music in an artistic way), in 1826 Hugo published Odes et ballades, in which his rejection of neoclassicism was clear.
The years 1826 and 1827 were successful ones for the Cénacle, the name given to a group of young romantics who were supporters of Hugo and his poetry.
They called him the "prince of poets." Hugo stopped writing flattering odes
(poems that express positive emotions and feelings about people or events) to
King Charles X (1757–1836) and instead began praising Napoleon I (1769–1821).
With the support and advice of friends, Hugo created the attitude of romanticism.
This belief was expressed in the preface to his unproduced play, Cromwell, published in October 1827. He felt that poetry should follow nature, mixing the beautiful and the good with the ugly and the displeasing. The Bible, Homer (c. ninth century B.C.E.), and William Shakespeare (1564–1616) were the inspirational sources of his new literature.
Convinced that romanticism must prove itself in the theater, Hugo followed Cromwell with a number of other plays. On February 25, 1830, the famous "battle of Hernani" took place, with Hugo's supporters out shouting the neoclassicists and antiromantics (people who opposed the romantic movement)
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA who had come to show their disapproval for the play. Hernani was performed forty-five times (an unusual success for those days). In 1831 Hugo published his novel Notre Dame de Paris, the work for which he is best known in the United
States. In this he wished to convey the true spirit of the late Middle Ages through his creation of the Cathedral of Notre Dame and his characters: Frollo the archdeacon, Quasimodo the hunchback, and Esmeralda the gypsy girl. Although some readers were shocked that Frollo (who had taken holy orders) should fall in love with Esmeralda, the tale was a huge success. Also in 1831 Hugo published one of his most beautiful collections of poetry, Les Feuilles d'automne. Once again, Hugo wrote about private topics. This volume expressed the sadness he felt about events in his past as the poet approached his important thirtieth birthday. It was not only the fact that he was aging that made Hugo depressed; his wife, tired of bearing children and frustrated by the poet's immense selfishness, turned for comfort to the poet's friend, the critic Sainte-Beuve. The sadness of this double betrayal is felt in Feuilles d'automne. Due to Hugo's loneliness from his wife's rejection, he fell in love with the young actress and prostitute (a person who receives money for performing sexual acts) Juliette Drouet. He took it upon himself to save her. He paid her debts and forced her to live in poverty, with her whole life focused entirely upon him. From this time on she lived solely for the poet and spent her time writing him letters, of which many thousands are in existence.
With the arrival of the July Monarchy, Hugo became wealthy and famous, and for fifteen years he was the official poet of France. During this period a large variety of new works appeared, including three plays: Le Roi s'amuse (1832),
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA Lucrézia Borgia (1833), and the triumph Ruy Blas (1838). In 1835 came Chants du crépuscule, which included many love lyrics (poems telling of emotion or love) to Juliette. In 1837 came Les Voix intérieures, a memorial of his father, who had been a Napoleonic general. Les Rayons et les ombres (1840) was another of his written works that was a statement of his personal emotions.
Hugo was seized with a new ambition: he wished to become a statesman.
When Louis Philippe was defeated in the Revolution of 1848, he allowed himself to be elected a deputy to the Assembly. When Louis Napoleon began to achieve fame, Hugo supported him. But his enthusiasm for the new president was short- lived. He made a stirring plea for freedom of the press. At last, in 1849, he broke with Napoleon III (1808–1873). Louis Napoleon seized power on the night of
December 2, 1850, and declared himself emperor. Hugo called for the people to fight back, and many were killed in this process. Hugo's involvement in the events put his life in danger. Juliette saved the poet, found him shelter, and organized his escape to Brussels, Belgium. From there he went to the British Channel islands of
Jersey and Guernsey. In November 1853 Hugo's anti-Napoleonic volume, Les
Châtiments, was published in Belgium. Though banned in France, the books were smuggled in and widely distributed. The final edition of Les Châtiments, with numerous additions, was published in 1870, when Hugo returned to Paris after the fall of Napoleon III.
During Hugo's long absence from France, he explored the dark side of his personality. There were many séances (meetings of people attempting to contact the dead) in his home. He believed that he was communicating with famous spirits. The "visit" that touched him most was that of his favorite daughter,
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA Léopoldine, who had tragically drowned in the Seine with her young husband in
1843. Indeed, Hugo's family was doomed with many tragedies. While his life in
England energized his poetry, his wife and children became depressed. They longed for their friends and the familiar surroundings of Paris. His daughter,
Adèle, withdrew into a fantasy world until at last she ran away from home. Hugo continued his experiments with the supernatural until stopped by the fragile mental state of his son, Charles. Hugo's wife left him to live in Brussels, where she died in 1868. Only Juliette remained loyal during the seventeen years the poet spent in England.
In 1856 Hugo published Les Contemplations, a work described as the progression of life from infancy to its end, complete with all of the emotional experiences that happen to a person during this process. Many of these poems predict Hugo's next major work La Légende des siècles (1859), conceived as part of an enormous uncompleted work whose mission was to "express humanity."
Hugo dreamed of an all-inclusive vast poem. It would show that man and his soul were basically good and that the human spirit would come out and away from its concern with material things.
In 1862 Hugo published Les Misérables, a major novel, the work of many years. His guiding interest was a social and humanitarian concern for the disadvantaged. The book was not just an adventure story but a love story and a mystery as well. It solidified Hugo's concern for people who were treated unfairly in society and once again amazed the reading public with the range of his literary powers.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA When Victor Hugo died in Paris on May 22, 1885, he was a time-honored man, crowned with worldwide glory, still enthusiastic and emotionally devoted to the last.
Plot Summary of Les Miserables (Source: calvarystudentpages.com)
The convict Jean Valjean is released from a French prison after serving nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread and for subsequent attempts to escape from prison. When Valjean arrives at the town of Digne, no one is willing to give him shelter because he is an ex-convict. Desperate, Valjean knocks on the door of
M. Myriel, the kindly bishop of Digne. Myriel treats Valjean with kindness, but
Valjean repays the bishop by stealing his silverware. When the police arrest
Valjean, Myriel covers for him, claiming that the silverware was a gift. The authorities release Valjean and Myriel makes him promise to become an honest man. Eager to fulfill his promise, Valjean masks his identity and enters the town of Montreuil-sur-mer. Under the assumed name of Madeleine, Valjean invents an ingenious manufacturing process that brings the town prosperity. He eventually becomes the town’s mayor.
Fantine, a young woman from Montreuil, lives in Paris. She falls in love with Tholomyès, a wealthy student who gets her pregnant and then abandons her.
Fantine returns to her home village with her daughter, Cosette. On the way to
Montreuil, however, Fantine realizes that she will never be able to find work if the
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA townspeople know that she has an illegitimate child. In the town of Montfermeil, she meets the Thénardiers, a family that runs the local inn. The Thénardiers agree to look after Cosette as long as Fantine sends them a monthly allowance.
In Montreuil, Fantine finds work in Madeleine’s factory. Fantine’s coworkers find out about Cosette, however, and Fantine is fired. The Thénardiers demand more money to support Cosette, and Fantine resorts to prostitution to make ends meet. One night, Javert, Montreuil’s police chief, arrests Fantine. She is to be sent to prison, but Madeleine intervenes. Fantine has fallen ill, and when she longs to see Cosette, Madeleine promises to send for her. First, however, he must contend with Javert, who has discovered Madeleine’s criminal past. Javert tells Madeleine that a man has been accused of being Jean Valjean, and Madeleine confesses his true identity. Javert shows up to arrest Valjean while Valjean is at
Fantine’s bedside, and Fantine dies from the shock.
After a few years, Valjean escapes from prison and heads to Montfermeil, where he is able to buy Cosette from the Thénardiers. The Thénardiers turn out to be a family of scoundrels who abuse Cosette while spoiling their own two daughters, Eponine and Azelma. Valjean and Cosette move to a run-down part of
Paris. Javert discovers their hideout, however, and they are forced to flee. They find refuge in a convent, where Cosette attends school and Valjean works as a gardener.
Marius Pontmercy is a young man who lives with his wealthy grandfather,
M. Gillenormand. Because of political differences within the family, Marius has never met his father, Georges Pontmercy. After his father dies, however, Marius learns more about him and comes to admire his father’s democratic politics.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA Angry with his grandfather, Marius moves out of Gillenormand’s house and lives as a poor young law student. While in law school, Marius associates with a group of radical students, the Friends of the ABC, who are led by the charismatic
Enjolras. One day, Marius sees Cosette at a public park. It is love at first sight, but the protective Valjean does his utmost to prevent Cosette and Marius from ever meeting. Their paths cross once again, however, when Valjean makes a charitable visit to Marius’s poor neighbors, the Jondrettes. The Jondrettes are in fact the
Thénardiers, who have lost their inn and moved to Paris under an assumed name.
After Valjean leaves, Thénardier announces a plan to rob Valjean when he returns. Alarmed, Marius alerts the local police inspector, who turns out to be
Javert. The ambush is foiled and the Thénardiers are arrested, but Valjean escapes before Javert can identify him.
Thénardier’s daughter Eponine, who is in love with Marius, helps Marius discover Cosette’s whereabouts. Marius is finally able to make contact with
Cosette, and the two declare their love for each other. Valjean, however, soon shatters their happiness. Worried that he will lose Cosette and unnerved by political unrest in the city, Valjean announces that he and Cosette are moving to
England. In desperation, Marius runs to his grandfather, M. Gillenormand, to ask for M. Gillenormand’s permission to marry Cosette. Their meeting ends in a bitter argument. When Marius returns to Cosette, she and Valjean have disappeared.
Heartbroken, Marius decides to join his radical student friends, who have started a political uprising. Armed with two pistols, Marius heads for the barricades.
The uprising seems doomed, but Marius and his fellow students nonetheless stand their ground and vow to fight for freedom and democracy. The
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA students discover Javert among their ranks, and, realizing that he is a spy, Enjolras ties him up. As the army launches its first attack against the students, Eponine throws herself in front of a rifle to save Marius’s life. As Eponine dies in Marius’s arms, she hands him a letter from Cosette. Marius quickly scribbles a reply and orders a boy, Gavroche, to deliver it to Cosette.
Valjean manages to intercept the note and sets out to save the life of the man his daughter loves. Valjean arrives at the barricade and volunteers to execute
Javert. When alone with Javert, however, Valjean instead secretly lets him go free. As the army storms the barricade, Valjean grabs the wounded Marius and flees through the sewers. When Valjean emerges hours later, Javert immediately arrests him. Valjean pleads with Javert to let him take the dying Marius to
Marius’s grandfather. Javert agrees. Javert feels tormented, torn between his duty to his profession and the debt he owes Valjean for saving his life. Ultimately,
Javert lets Valjean go and throws himself into the river, where he drowns.
Marius makes a full recovery and is reconciled with Gillenormand, who consents to Marius and Cosette’s marriage. Their wedding is a happy one, marred only when Valjean confesses his criminal past to Marius. Alarmed by this revelation and unaware that it was Valjean who saved his life at the barricades,
Marius tries to prevent Cosette from having contact with Valjean. Lonely and depressed, Valjean takes to his bed and awaits his death. Marius eventually finds out from Thénardier that Valjean saved Marius’s life. Ashamed that he mistrusted
Valjean, Marius tells Cosette everything that has happened. Marius and Cosette rush to Valjean’s side just in time for a final reconciliation. Jean Valjean then dies in peace.
UNIVERSITAS SUMATERA UTARA