Jean Valjean

fictional character in Les Misérables

Jean Valjean (French: [ʒɑ̃ val.ʒɑ̃]) is the protagonist of Victor Hugo's 1862 novel Les Misérables. The story depicts the character's 19-year-long struggle to lead a normal life after serving a prison sentence for stealing bread to feed his sister's children during a time of economic depression and various attempts to escape from prison. Valjean is also known in the novel as Monsieur Madeleine, Ultime Fauchelevent, Monsieur Leblanc, and Urbain Fabre. Valjean and police Inspector Javert, who repeatedly encounters Valjean and attempts to return him to prison, have become archetypes in literary culture. In the popular imagination, the character of Jean Valjean came to represent Hugo himself.
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characters: Jean Valjean

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