The story begins with Jean Valjean as a humble worker endeavoring to provide for his invalid mother. They live in a squalid home, made more wretched by his inability to provide sufficient ...
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The mechanic Etienne Lantier is a competent workman out of a job, whose tempestuous disposition is more than atoned for by a good heart. With bundle in hand he looks for work from town to ... See full summary »
The story begins with Jean Valjean as a humble worker endeavoring to provide for his invalid mother. They live in a squalid home, made more wretched by his inability to provide sufficient food. He goes out in search of work, but is unsuccessful. Finally, in desperation, he steals a loaf of bread regardless of consequences. He hastens home with it, pursued by a crowd, and gives it to his mother. Valjean is arrested for the theft and sentenced to five years at hard labor. He with other convicts, is put in a stone quarry, and there makes his first acquaintance with Javert, a prison guard, who appears prominently throughout the story. The first notice Javert takes of Valjean is on account of his great strength in lifting a stone that no other prisoner can lift. In the prison dormitory word is whispered about that there is a chance for one man to escape, and among themselves the prisoners decide that they will draw lots to determine the one who shall make the break for liberty. The lot ...Written by
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